In the days and years BK (Before Kids), you get to spend much of your free time with that person you have fallen in love with, someone you want to spend all your time with relaxing, going for walks, having dinner all those lovely things that young (and old) couples get to do together. Then you have kids, and your time together is limited, regardless of wither you want to go down the co-sleeping route with your child. The stresses and strains of family life, your kids demands on your time, the housework, homework, everything can have a major impact on the quality time spent with your partner.

We’ve always believed that in order to keep our relationship alive we need to make an effort to set a side time for each other. So when we’re up with my parents we occasionally go for a night out and catch a movie or a meal.

The 15th July is our wedding anniversary. This year we celebrate 10 years by getting a night away somewhere nice and my parents were more than happy to volunteer to mind all three of our kids for the night. So on we booked a room away in Crawfordsburn on the 14th July to stay in The Old Inn

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co. Down

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co. Down

We headed off before lunch and went around to explore Bangor, Co. Down and get some lunch. After which we headed to the hotel to check in and settle in our room.

The Old Inn stands on one of Ireland’s most ancient highways leading from Holywood Priory to the Parent Abbey at Bangor, founded by St. Comgall as a University in 570 AD. The thatched portion of The Old Inn is the most ancient and was formed circa 1600 AD, about the close of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Records show this building to be standing in its present form since 1614. The East Wing is modern, based on Irish Georgian times. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the mail coach making connections with the sailing packet from Donaghadee to Great Britian, changed horses at The Old Inn at Crawfordsburn and so it came to be patronised by many notable persons who commuted between Britain and Ireland. Famous writers were much in evidence: Swift, Tennyson, Thackery, Dickens and Trollop knew of its charms.

The Old Inn was also used as a sanctuary for those who were involved in the more “physical pursuits”. For example, in the 17th century, a portion of William III’s army under the Duke of Schomberg, marched through Crawfordsburn on the way from Groomsport to join the main body of the forces at Belfast. Smugglers down to the close of the 18th century used The Old Inn. Secret hiding places for contraband were discovered well into the 20th century. Even more intriguing, the famous highwayman, Dick Turpin, during a period of hiding in Ireland is also said to have been a visitor here. Many famous names of the 1798 rising, including that of Henry Joy McCracken and Robert Emmet, are coupled with The Inn.

For students and followers of the famous author and scholar, C S Lewis, “Jack”, The Inn is very special. It was here that Lewis and his literary friends met on social occasions. In July 1958, Jack and his wife Joy stayed at The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, for what they called a “perfect fortnight” and a “belated honeymoon”.

Our room was one of the Suites, (it was our 10th Anniversary after all); the Castleward Room.

Our bedroom in the Old Inn Crawfordsburn

Our bedroom in the Old Inn Crawfordsburn

My photo’s don’t do the room justice so heres two from the hotel’s website:

Old Inn's pictures of our bedroom

Old Inn’s pictures of our bedroom


After settling in our room we decided to explore a bit and went down for Afternoon Tea in the bar down stairs. We would have liked to have our Tea and Scone in the garden however just as we were going out the heavens opened again and everyone was diving for cover and out of the rain. So instead we had it in a room overlooking the garden.

We had an absolutely gorgeous meal in the restaurant that evening which left us well and truly filled.

After a great night’s sleep and a light breakfast, neither of us had room for a full Ulster Fry after the night before, we gathered our bags and headed back into Bangor for some shopping at the Bloomfield Shopping Centre and then into Belfast for some lunch and to get school uniforms for the kids. Rested and refreshed we’d had a lovely time together back on our own, with out a buggy, or kids trailing out of us complaining about being hungry or tired. Alas now it was time to get back to reality and go and collect them.

And so that was our Great Escape for this year, the best we can plan for now is the odd night out. What’s your Great Escape? And can you recommend anywhere for next year?

Photos own and from The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn, Co. Down