We wanted somewhere near to Belfast for a short Easter break - close enough to home if the weather was awful and the accommodation wasn't great. We needn't have worried. Maidens View is a modern cottage with fabulous views over the sea on two sides and a short trot from Portmuck Bay. It is perched, slightly dramatically, on a headland with the Isle of Muck and its breeding colonies of birds lying alongside. The little bay is quiet and secluded, perfect for the kids or a picnic lunch. The far side offers a scenic walk over a dramatic headland. The weather was changeable when we were there - bright sun interspersed with showers and blowy at night, which was very atmospheric. The cottage was spotless and very comfortable with all mod cons and, recently, the addition of wifi (which was a bit hit and miss). Mobile phone connections were pretty reliable, however. Two roomy bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and electric blankets (bliss) on all the beds. There is also a pretty comfortable sofa bed in the living room. Sadly, the Gobbins was still shut, but we enjoyed our walks at Brown's Bay, Drain's Bay and Carnfunnock. The Old Teahouse at Whitehead was a favourite for lunch and takeaway puds for later. The legendary Rinkha was open and doing a roaring trade in its trademark icecream. We didn't have the TV on once, but I brought a good supply of DVDs. The owner, Irene Crawford, lives next door in the farmhouse and she couldn't have been more helpful - even gave the kids Easter eggs on arrival. I wish now I had booked a fourth night and I know we will be back ... hopefully when it is warm enough for a bbq in that fab garden overlooking the bay!
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