Northern Ireland offers loads of great spots for a loved-up getaway, that won’t break the bank. Here are a few ideas.

Northern Ireland has plenty of places for a romantic getaway - here are some of the best.

If you’ve met someone through one of the many dating sites in the UK, and you’re looking for a relaxing city break together, why not try Belfast? As those who are finding compatible singles in Belfast with eHarmony will tell you, Northern Ireland’s capital is the ideal place to explore with a significant other.
When it comes to hotels, Ten Square, recently named Hotel of the Month by the British Airways in-flight magazine, is right in the heart of the city’s shopping, entertainment and tourist attractions. Alternatively, the Malmaison Hotel has a hint of decadence in its décor, giving guests the feel of being inside a movie set. If you’re looking to up your budget, this hotel is definitely the place to go.
Belfast also has plenty in the way of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy on your break. From market stalls to high-end shops, every visitor to Belfast will find something they can enjoy.

If you’re looking for a smaller city in which to make your romantic retreat, Londonderry has a rich cultural history with a wide variety of museums, galleries and theatres. Take the Inner City Guided Walking Tour to discover the city’s beautiful buildings or explore the waterside on a Cruise Boat tour.
For somewhere relaxing to stay, The Roe Park Radisson Resort is situated a short drive away from the city with a wealth of leisure activities to take part in. Golfing, a fitness suite and spa, and luxurious rooms are just some of what the resort has to offer. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Sperrins from your room and taste the fine cuisine during a romantic meal in the hotel restaurant.

Fermanagh Lakelands
The waterways and stunning backdrops of the Fermanagh Lakelands make it the perfect place for a romantic break. With historical landmarks and state-of-the-art activity centres, the Lakelands are a fantastic place to explore with your loved one.

The 5* Lough Erne Resort is situated in the heart of the Fermanagh Lakelands and offers a sophisticated holiday experience for happy couples. Many luxurious rooms and suites are available, along with two golf courses, an authentic Thai spa and a variety of fantastic dining experiences with menus composed by award-winning chef, Noel McMeel.
Alternatively, why not hire a holiday cottage with your significant other? The Fermanagh Lakelands are the perfect place to do this where you’ll be surrounded by some of the most inspiring scenery in Northern Ireland.

Causeway, Coast and Glens
The landscape of deep silent glens and lush forest parks makes the coastline of Northern Ireland a great place to explore. Climb the stones of the famous Giant’s Causeway, an area steeped in myth and mystery. The spectacular cliff top views from Mussenden Temple are also not to be missed.

For a place to stay, the lovely Harmony Hill Country House dates back to the 1760s when it was the home of the owner of a corn mill. Set in a beautiful four-acre garden, you can see the crashing Atlantic waves of the Anterim coast from the rooms of this relaxing guest house.
Whether you’ve met through friends or through the eHarmony UK dating website, taking a holiday with your significant other is a great idea. Northern Ireland has plenty to choose from when it comes to romantic breaks, and you won’t have to spend a fortune on airfares. Enjoy! 

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Discover Northern Ireland
Official tourism website for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Lonely Planet
Travel guide for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Wikitravel
Travel advice for Northern Ireland

It seems that in the UK at the moment small-business is actually big business indeed! There is an array of tax breaks on offer to encourage investment in fledgling companies and the red tape that has, in the past, tied up many small businesses is being cut away bit by bit.

With pop-up shops popping up everywhere, independent coffee shops giving the corporate chains a roasting and the smartphone m-commerce sector looking mobile it seems there has never been a better time for new businesses to get established and grow.

Here are five small-business trends that have made a name for themselves and continue to offer opportunities for UK entrepreneurs.

1. Cupcakes

Cupcakes have grown up. Once the preserve of kids’ birthday parties, the cupcake is now in demand for any adult social occasions and those in the know, with a little bit of clever marketing, are making very healthy returns. The icing on the cupcake business is that it takes very little to get started but offers fantastic margins.

These sweet margins can be found on single impulse purchases and larger batch sales for events. With just some basic ingredients, an oven and a label printer.

2. Social gaming

With the ever-growing popularity of Facebook those who can find their niche stand to make some serious money. Zynga created Farmville and was recently valued at a cool $1 billion, while UK firm Playfish caught the eye of gaming gods EA, who paid $400 million for it, after the success of just two Facebook games.

The market remains highly competitive with a number of Korean start-ups entering but big wins are still there. Innovative gambling and betting apps and games have their share of success stories and the market is far from saturated yet.

3. Smartphone repairs

Around half the UK population owns a smartphone, and with the high cost of each unit, people are happy to get them repaired if needs be. There are a number of business models for smartphone repair businesses in the UK – from online only to retail premises – but keeping up with an ever-changing market is vital.

4. Independent coffee shops

The UK coffee shop market looks set to grow by 25% in the next few years. UK coffee sales were already at £2.1 billion last year which represented a huge 10% growth on 2010. An almost gut-reaction from the UK public against the preponderance of chain coffee sellers has seen the rise of independents.

In London alone last year 35 independent coffee shops opened against 56 chains, a sure sign that small business start-ups are beginning to catch up.

5. Crafts

The UK’s rediscovered love of all things handmade is a great business opportunity for the crafty entrepreneur. Jewellery making, ceramics, glass-blowing, textiles – as long as it is handmade it will find a market.

Getting it to a wider audience requires little more than the ability to up your production capacities and calling on Southeastlabels’ barcode printing services. Crafts are undoubtedly the perfect business to start off part-time, from home with very low overheads so you can test the waters and learn your lessons before you take the plunge and make your splash.

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Be inspired by start-up success
StartUp Britain is a national campaign by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs that celebrates and inspires small-businesses in the UK.

London entrepreneurs
Read views and news from London entrepreneurs.

Advice and tips for UK start-ups
Get your questions answered and sound advice on everything from opportunities to finance.

Why people volunteer is a question that has been perplexing psychologists for years. As with most things human-related the answer is rather complex; it combines a need to ‘do something useful’ with the achievement of personal goals and the urge to see new places and meet new people.

A further motivation is increasingly being given, especially by younger volunteers. This relates to the use of a placement as a career boost – gaining experience that will put them ahead of the game in the competition for paid employment.

Testing the water

Turning up at an interview and claiming to be ‘passionate’ about a particular role is difficult if you’ve never experienced the role. Volunteering allows you to try out different careers, without having to commit to them full-time.

Employers are more likely to take someone on who has some previous experience, and who can confidently say that a particular career path is one they wish to follow. Voluntary work is especially useful if you wish to follow a career that is particularly competitive, such as medicine, conservation, advertising or fashion. Look into projects abroad reviews for more information and feedback from those who have tried the programs.

New skills

Picking up new skills while in paid employment can be difficult. Most companies primarily pay people to work, not learn. In a voluntary placement you are able to, and expected to, learn from others. Most voluntary roles are shaped by the volunteer – those with motivation can come away with a whole set of new skills. For example, a medical student on elective in Ghana will be able to enjoy a great deal of responsibility by working at an understaffed clinic.


Working for free shows commitment. It also shows that you love the work, irrespective of financial compensation. In stressful and relatively low paid jobs, such as nursing or teaching, the employee must truly enjoy their work in order to succeed and stay motivated. Previous voluntary experience shows an employer that you are such as person. 


Volunteering is a great way to build useful contacts. Working within an organisation gives you access to key members of staff, and the opportunity to impress them. As a volunteer you can also learn how to improve your networking skills through observing others.

By diligent working, you can sometimes secure a paid position. You will be the first to hear about new vacancies and may already know how to do the job exactly as it needs to be done. By volunteering you may also find that you are recommended for positions at other companies.
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Projects Abroad offers a range of diverse volunteering opportunities

Volunteer Canada
Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada

Government of Canada
Guide to voluntary work for young people
London has much in the way of tourist attractions, many of which are free or relatively inexpensive to enter. Here is a list detailing the best cultural sites to visit in London if you’re on a budget.

London provides a world of opportunity for those travelling on a budget. There’s plenty to do for those attending an English language school London offers, and luckily, it’s also possible to plan a varied schedule without breaking the bank. Here are the top tourist spots to check out at cost-effective prices...


Tate Britain
All of London’s art galleries are free to enter and the Tate Britain is high on the list of most visitors to the city. Housing a collection of Britain’s art from 1500 to the present day, this central gallery is not to be missed.

Tate Modern
For fans of modern art, the Tate Modern holds a varied collection of art dating from 1900 to the present day. This impressive building also hosts special exhibitions and events throughout the year.

National Portrait Gallery

Opened in 1856 and in its current location since 1896, the National Portrait Gallery features portraits of the most famous people in British history. View more than 175,000 portraits from the 16th Century to the present day in this amazing collection.



British Museum
Many museums across London are completely free to enter and the British Museum is one of the best. Set in an amazing building, the British Museum houses a vast collection of world art and artefacts with many varied exhibitions throughout the year.

Museum of London
Learn about the history of London from Roman times to the present day at this interesting venue. Seven permanent exhibition galleries tell the story of the city in the world’s largest city museum.

The Geffrye Museum

The Geffrye Museum in East London gives visitors an amazing insight into how Londoners have lived over the years. Featuring detailed sets of English domestic interiors, the museum documents a collection of rooms from the year 1600 up to today.



Southbank Centre
The Southbank Centre is the largest single-run arts centre in the world, and regularly hosts free events for all visitors. Enjoy live jazz music on Friday evenings and lunchtime music in the Central Bar of the Royal Festival Hall on weekends, all for absolutely nothing!
The National Theatre
At The National Theatre, visitors can enjoy free concerts in the ‘Djanogly Concert Pitch’ throughout the week, from smooth jazz to upbeat ethnic beats and much more. During the summer months, you can even enjoy the concerts outside.

The Royal Opera House
For fans of opera, the Royal Opera House hosts regular free lunchtime recitals featuring the rising stars of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme, along with members of the orchestra, chorus and the Southbank Sinfonia.


TKTS booth
If you fancy sampling one of the major London theatre productions, tickets for big shows such as We Will Rock You, The Lion King and Les Miserablés can be purchased cheaply at Leicester Square’s TKTS booth. Half-price tickets are often available on the day of the performance for West End shows, so don’t forget to stop by if you’ve got your heart set on Mamma Mia!

The Royal Court Theatre
If you fancy sampling something a bit more alternative, The Royal Court offers new productions by innovative writers from around the UK. If you can get your skates on, four standing tickets go on sale one hour before each Jerwood Theatre Downstairs performance – for just 10p each!

London Theatre Passport
If you haven’t yet selected which show you want to see, a London Theatre Passport can give you discounted entry to a West End performance from a select list of productions – a must-have for any theatre enthusiast visiting London.

If you plan carefully, you can have a great time visiting London without spending a fortune. With events, galleries, museums and theatre productions, there’s plenty to do for those attending English courses in London no matter what the budget.

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Activities in London
Learn more about what’s happening in the UK’s capital

British Theatre
Find out about the new productions in the world of theatre

London on a budget
Ideas for how to enjoy London on a budget