Clarion Hotel Carrickfergus
75 Belfast Rd.
Belfast, XB BT38 8PH
Phone: (44) 289 3364556
Fax: (44) 289 3351620
Visit the Greenisland Golf Club's nine-hole course near the Knockagh Hill. The course offers a spectacular view of Belfast Lough. This 5536-meter course is both challenging and scenic, with par 71. Individual visitors are welcome any day, but call to check the timings. Groups however, must book by writing to the secretary. There are changing and shower facilities here and meals are available on request. Order before going out to play.
Carrickfergus Golf Club is located beside Belfast Lough. The club is about three quarters of a century old but most of it has been recently refurbished with the result that the décor, although tasteful and traditional in style, is new, fresh, bright and attractive. Excellent meals can be had in the restaurant and there's a grill bar menu, with a special every day. The challenging 18-hole course is 5759 yards, par 68, and can prove difficult but enjoyable - i.e. the first tee shot is over a dam! There are no restrictions and the facilities include clubs hire, trolley hire, changing and showering, a golf shop and professional lessons.
The Valley Leisure Centre is one of Northern Ireland's largest sporting complex. There's a swimming pool as well as a pool for babies and infants learning to swim. There's a fully furnished gym, and a sauna, steam room and hot pool complex where you can relax after your strenuous workout. There is an on-site cafe, rental venues and a play zone.
Situated in a splendid woodland setting close to Belfast Castle, Belfast Zoo offers great views over the city. One of the most up-to-date zoos in Europe, it has expanded its grounds in recent years to allow maximum enclosure space for its inhabitants, and now stretches practically to the summit of Cave Hill if you follow the recommended route. Belfast Zoo has proved a pioneer in the realm of ethical zoo keeping and houses elephants, giraffes, kangaroos and gibbons alongwith varieties of birds.
Opened in July 1992, this private driving range lies adjacent to Bentra Municipal Golf Course. There is a modern reception area, with a coffee bar where you can refresh yourself with tea, coffee, or a cold drink, and there are 18 indoor bays, 18 outdoor grass bays and 30 meters of synthetic outdoor bays. Targets vary from 50 yards to 250 yards and at 70 yards there is a water splash. There is also a sand bunker. For evening play the range is floodlit and it is open all year round.
This attractive and inexpensive Bentra Golf Course is located beside the A2 with the clubhouse overlooking Larne Lough and Islandmagee. The clubhouse, which has been built to an American design, has a restaurant and public bar. The nine-hole course (par 37) is well matured and suitable for both experienced and novice players. The fairways are wide and there are some particularly long holes Green fees can be obtained all year except Christmas Day. And if all the exercise and fresh air gives you an appetite you can have anything from a burger to a four-course meal when you arrive back in the restaurant.
Cliftonville Golf Club is a nine-hole course in the north of the city, which encompasses two rivers. Caddies are available for hire but you do have to bring your own clubs. Work at your swing on the practice fairway or have a relaxing game of snooker inside. A bar is on the premises serving drinks and light meals. Changing rooms are also available.
Pickie Family Fun Park is another recent addition to the Bangor Marina and general Bangor seafront experience. There is something for everyone a foot-deep paddling pool, the Pickie Puffer, a miniature railway that takes you on a tour of the park and most exciting of all, the chance to live out Marc Bolan's dream and actually, "ride a white swan" in the shallow lagoon. Other features include a soft surface children's play area and an open air arena for various events, from junior karting to line dancing. At the center of all this is the Windjammer cafe, serving a range of food, drinks and ice cream.
Knock Golf Club was designed in 1920 by the renowned golf architects Colts, Allison and MacKenzie, (Mackenzie went on to design the US Masters course as well as other famous courses around the world). Located four miles east of the city centre, Knock Golf Club is an 18-hole parkland course. It's always a challenge, no matter what level you play, with lots of tricky slopes and plenty of water to avoid. To escape congestion on the greens, the best times for visitors are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings or Friday afternoons. Trolley and club hire are both available as well as full bar and restaurant facilities, the bar offers meals and a popular Sunday lunch. There are snooker tables and a practice fairway.
Serving North and West Belfast, Shankill Leisure Centre is notable for its wave maker which sweeps through the pool carrying swimmers away from their course; kids love it and adults also get carried away from time to time. With its luxurious sauna, steam and sun-bed studio, it is like a mini Mediterranean resort. Other facilities at Shankill include a well-equipped fitness suite, with training available, squash courts, snooker tables and a large sports hall for indoor football, basketball and netball. Timings for various facilities throughout the centre vary, please check the website for more details.
Within walking distance of the city center, Maysfield Leisure Center offers a comprehensive program of activities, classes and courses. Its facilities include a fitness suite, a sauna and sun bed suite, sports hall, squash, weights room and swimming pool. It has hosted major events such as international badminton, basketball, professional boxing, large exhibitions and concerts, including famous names like Bob Dylan and Boyzone.
If you're a water baby, you should try and take a scuba class at North Irish Diver Ltd. This is a P.A.D.I. (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) approved dive center in Islandmagee. P.A.D.I. is the most popular and largest diving program in the world. You can become a qualified P.A.D.I. open water diver and can join a recognized club or dive independently. You can dive anywhere in the world at a P.A.D.I. dive center or you could continue training for advanced courses.