Whether you’re visiting the areas around Enniskillen and Lough Erne for one, two or three days, we’ve got some great ideas for what to do, see and enjoy!
Set along the hubbub of Darling Street in Enniskillen, The Jolly Sandwich makes the perfect place to kickstart your trip around Lough Erne. Inside this warm, welcoming and super-cosy little café, you'll be bamboozled with breakfast choices from eggs and avocado to tasty pastries. From here it's just a short walk to Enniskillen Castle, with its exceptionally scenic location on the banks of the River Erne. Step inside the chunky stone walls of this impressive bastion (thought to date to the 1420s) and you'll discover two excellent museums, the Fermanagh County Museum with a wealth of fascinating artefacts, and the Inniskillings Museum, which tells the story of the town's two regiments in impressively compelling detail.
Afterwards, stroll down to the banks of the Erne and rest a while – the rippling waters, inquisitive birdlife and grassy riverbanks give a real feeling of tranquillity. For lunch, head back into town to classic Greek-favourite, Dollakis. It's not hard to see why this cheery spot has been a go-to for hungry locals for over a decade. Boasting a menu lined with spit-roast gyros, bifteki (minced lamb and beef steak), falafel, souvlaki and moussaka, you'll find all the Greek favourites done to perfection.
Getting out on the water is an integral part of any visit to the Fermanagh lakelands, so after lunch, wander over to to Water Activity Zone, opposite Café Mauds, where you'll find Erne Boat Hire. These self-drive "wee red boats" are simply great fun – jump in, start things up (you'll be shown the ropes) and watch as the beauty and history of these waters unfurls before you. You can rent the boats for a whole day but there are two- and four-hour rentals also, which gives you enough time to whizz around the lough and be back in town in time for tea!
Back on dry land, seek out Blakes of the Hollow for a post-adventure pint. The beautifully preserved Victorian bar here has atmosphere by the bucket-load with a lovely tiled floor, roaring fires and marble bar top.
Finish up with dinner at Café Merlot just downstairs from the pub, where contemporary classics are served beneath beautiful stone arches.
Adventure calls and Castle Archdale awaits. At this vast country park, situated on the shores of Lower Lough Erne close to historic White Island, you can take to the woods for a gorgeous forest walk, or head to the marina for some on-the-water fun. As well as water trampolining and a whole host of watersports, there are kayaks available for paddles around the sheltered waters, or bikes to explore the beauty of the surrounding woodland.
Keep the adventure theme going and drive onto Boa Island for a super-speedy boat-trip over to Lusty Beg Island. Here, on this beautiful private island resort, you'll can relax with an al fresco lunch surrounded by some of the most idyllic lake views imaginable.
It would be a real shame to come to Lough Erne and not see how the other half lived, so after lunch, set your sights on Castle Coole, one of the area's three National Trust properties. Set on sylvan green parkland, this 18th century mansion boasts ornate interiors courtesy of architect James Wyatt and is wrapped in the fascinating family history of the Lowry-Corrys.
Back in Enniskillen, go Naples-style for dinner with the delicious pizzas at Little Wing…
It's easy to spend hours driving around both Upper and Lower Lough Erne and never get bored. From Enniskillen, the Lough Shore Road weaves through wooded groves, past glittering waters and beneath the majestic grey-green hulk of the Magho Cliffs towards the charming village of Belleek, famed for its pottery. Established in 1857, Belleek Pottery enjoys a beautiful location overlooking the River Erne and runs an excellent pottery tour, which lasts about 30 minutes and is well worth taking. It's a short walk from here up to the village, where you'll find what feels like the most charming little coffee shop in the world – The Thatch. A chunky stone fireplace, picture-lined walls and softly aged wood set the scene for a host of delicious cakes and sandwiches.
Follow the B52 road out of the village and you'll find yourself on a back road through rural rolling hills up to the Lough Navar Forest Drive. Along the way, expect sweeping views out over Lough Melvin and a sweep of rust-coloured bogland. It's a breathtaking trip and that's even before you get to the wonderland of Lough Navar Forest. Follow the 10km-drive here and you'll be taken on an incredible undulating single-lane rollercoaster ride through mossy forest, past miniature lakes and up to the outstanding Magho Cliffs viewpoint, with a panorama that stretches out across island-dotted Lower Lough Erne. It's a showstopper.
Back on the road towards Enniskillen, continue on beyond town to the village of Lisnaskea where you'll find the super-cute café called The Kissin Crust. Beloved for its sumptuous cakes and light fluffy scones, it's also a perfect spot for a lunch of hearty salads and sandwiches.
The fairytale charm of Crom Castle awaits next, and while you cannot actually visit the castle itself (it's privately owned and lived in), the surrounding estate will lull you into a state of total tranquillity thanks to the beautiful Old Castle, lake views and a network of outstanding walking trails. Give yourself a few hours to wander through this utterly romantic demesne, before taking some time to just sit by the water, relax, and soak up the tender beauty of this amazing part of the island of Ireland.