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For those looking to spend some time in Ballymena on a budget, there’s lots to recommend the city’s choice of two star hotels. The hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfast accommodation are in some of Ballymena’s prime locations and at a price that’s sure to please. And a discounted price needn’t mean discounted quality – budget hotels in Ballymena usually meet a very high standard of accommodation. A no-frills getaway to Ballymena is a great way to enjoy the city with lots of opportunities to save your pennies to spend elsewhere.
Ballymena’s appearance has fooled many a casual observer into thinking it’s a modern town, but its history stretches back nearly 2,000 years. The early Christian settlers in Ireland arrived in Ballymena in the 5th Century and the town – known as the City of Seven Towers – has been visited by the likes of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce.
There is lots of Georgian architecture to enjoy in Ballymena with churches of all denominations, including the historic Moravian church built by German settlers and Arthur Cottage, the home of the US president Chester Alan Arthur and his family. The restoration of the cottage has created a marvellous sense of how the Arthur family survived in the late 18th Century. Visitors are welcome to watch – and sample – the baking demonstrations over an open turf fire by staff dressed in period costume.
Slemish Mountain dominates the countryside around Ballymena, seeming to rise out of the earth. It’s actually a long-extinct volcano, and the slopes steepen towards the top. Slemish attracts large numbers of pilgrims who are fascinated by the link to St Patrick, who is said to have been enslaved and brought here as a child, where he worked as a cowherd on the lower slopes of the mountain. It gets especially busy around St Patrick’s Day on 17 March.
For more natural wonders near Ballymena, Glenariff Forest Park is hard to beat. The 3,000 acre forest is part of Glenariff Glen and has a plethora of riverside walks and forest trails to occupy visitors. In particular, there is a beautiful walkway past three waterfalls, reminiscent of Switzerland, which visitors have been enjoying for more than 80 years.
Ballymena’s reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s best shopping towns is well deserved. You can find high street shops and independent boutiques, high-quality contemporary gold and silver jewellery, bespoke painted gifts and specially made teddy bears.
The myriad farms around Ballymena supply locally produced fresh vegetables, fish and meat to the city’s restaurants and they use this superb resource to great effect. Unwind with a glass of stout in a mulberry garden, or settle your appetite with open-air dining beside the river Braid.
Ballymena has some lovely two star hotels in great locations for you to take advantage of everything the city has to offer. Expedia has some great deals on offer for Ballymena hotels so why not take a look and see what you can find.