Cotter’s Park: Farmer’s luxury pondside glamping units years…

Cotter’s Park: Farmer’s luxury pondside glamping units years…

A labour of love: Sauna, hot tubs and all the mod cons at brand new tourism destination in Randalstown

Cotters Park on the outskirts of Randalstown has been a work-in-progress for over four years, with James, his wife Ruth and father Nelson spending countless hours in the planning stage. The site opened less than two months ago and has been an immediate success.

“It’s always been a nice place on the farm,” explains James, who has appeared on TV’s Rare Breed. “On a Sunday afternoon, if we were finished work, we’d maybe chill around the pond (which was created by Nelson), maybe take a wee boat on the pond. It has wildlife about it. Then we thought we’d try and sell it to other people.

“My wife and I have a holiday house in Portrush so we knew bits and pieces. But as with everything else, it’s not overly complicated. You want to have something for the guests to enjoy, and for them to have a good experience. Like everything else in life, it’s a bit of common sense.”

James and Ruth Alexander with their family Mya, Alicia, Isla, Jaxson and Eliza

Set in a tranquil, fully-enclosed location, Cotters Park has stunning views over Lough Beg and the surrounding countryside.

“I haven’t slept in months properly, deciding what to have and what to go where, buying hot tubs, sofas and couches, so many decisions to make, mattresses, pillows, knives, forks… everything you pick you’re trying to make it unique and different but not overly expensive,” laughs the father-of-five.

“I didn’t want to open too soon because I didn’t want a date that wasn’t attainable. We kept at it until we saw a point where we were nearly there. If you didn’t pick a date, you wouldn’t have that final rush on to get it finished.

“It’s all based around the pond — without it, this wouldn’t be here. The view towards the lough is nice, the long view, but we can’t all see the long view whereas we can all see the short view, which is the pond.”

The seven bespoke units are set with views of the pond and benefit from individual privacy for visitors to enjoy their stay in peace. Each has its own hot tub complete with seating and mood lighting, making this a sociable space to use all year round.

“There’s loads of places, especially across the water, where you go and stay in a wooden hut in the middle of a field, but this is very much luxury,” says James.

“We’ve king-sized beds, nice sofas, wi-fi in every cabin. That way we’re getting the person who wants to bring their children out to nature but we’re also getting the young couples who want to come away for the night and be together.”

Cotters Park, situated just 30 minutes from Belfast

Birds and butterflies are encouraged to settle with 30 purpose-built boxes scattered throughout the site. Visitors in the spring will be welcomed by an array of colour thanks to the planting of thousands of bulbs to include bluebells, snowdrops and daffodils.

“For me it’s all about the nature. We’ve bird boxes up, bat boxes, owl boxes up,” explains James.

“We’ve sown a lot of wildflower seeds to try and keep the birds. One sole field next door will be sown with meadow grass to try and keep the nature about the place, so that people can come from the towns and cities and see it up close and personal.”

Another bonus is The Lookout, a communal area located on an island in the middle of the pond.

“I wanted to have a communal area where people could have a get-together,” says James.

“As the project grew, it got bigger and bigger as people said about maybe having a small wedding on it, yoga retreat or hen party.

“You can see the sunset from the island and there’s a communal area with big Connect Four, Jenga, a bar set-up, bar fridges and optics all sitting ready for you to arrive. We’re getting a good few hen parties and group bookings of that nature.”

Cotters Park is the perfect destination for couples, families and groups of friends

Cotters Park welcomed its first guests just a few weeks ago and already it has gained many five-star reviews as travellers sing its praises as the “perfect getaway” and describe it as “a hidden gem”.

“We’re happy with what we’ve got at the minute,” adds James. “We’re sold out in every weekend in January and February.”

A sauna is located on the water’s edge for visitors to Cotters Park

For full details, visit www.cotterspark.com or contact 028 7965 0289

from www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk Source link

[2024-01-29 17:00:00

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