The original Italinate house dates from the 1850s, but the completion of a £10-million renovation in early 2015 has pushed this manor house resort into the premier league. In the 160 acres of estate grounds you may go riding, practice archery, and shoot clay pigeons. Full privileges at an 18-hole golf course, a mere five minutes from the hotel, are an added treat. The River Maine (good for brown trout) flows within view of many of the large rooms, which have wood beams on the ceilings above substantial dark-wood beds. The notable bar and dining options include traditional Irish, and Italian. A spa contains 12 treatment rooms, five climate rooms, heated loungers, an outdoor hot tub and outdoor Jacuzzi pool. Galgorm is a springboard for exploring the coast and glens as well as Belfast. Off A42, it is 3 km (2 miles) west of Ballymena, 32 km (20 miles) inland of Larne, 40 km (25 miles) north of Belfast.