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We've got your Westmeath itinerary sorted.
Ireland is home to some truly beautiful forest walks and parklands, and while they're certainly worth visiting at any time of year, they become especially vibrant with the arrival of autumn.
Unsurprisingly, Ireland's Hidden Heartlands boast some particularly beautiful walking routes, gardens and forests, and no short break is complete without taking in the most picturesque spots in this region.
Belvedere House, for instance, in Co. Westmeath, offers visitors the chance to embrace all things autumnal on their next visit. Check out the colours of autumn as you explore the lakeside and the woodlands, then immerse yourself in Belvedere House's sumptuous interiors with a guided tour. Finish your day off with a warming cup of tea or hot chocolate in the Lakeside Café.
Ready to make the absolute most of your next trip to Co. Westmeath? We've got the perfect itinerary to enjoy Belvedere House, plus some excellent nearby walks and attractions to make the most of this beautiful season on your next Westmeath getaway, whatever the weather.
Explore the lakeshore
Kick off your visit to Belvedere House with a walk through the woodlands and lakeshore that surrounds Belvedere. There are about six miles of trails to explore here and with a variety of native trees, you're bound to be amazed by the changing leaves both overhead and on the woodland floor. Make sure you punctuate your walk with frequent stops by the lakeside. Take in the crisp, fresh breeze and keep your eyes (and your ears) peeled for sight or sound of mallards, woodcocks, sandpipers and redshanks. After all, you're more likely to see these birds in the country during the colder months – an added bonus for travelling around this time of year.
Ramble through the walled gardens
After your bracing walk of the lakeshore and woodlands, enter a world of calm, natural beauty with a visit to Belvedere's Walled Gardens, which date back to the 19th Century. Expect a vast collection of exotic plants, elegant water features and a Victorian glass house.
Take in Belvedere House
Dating back to 1740, this opulent fully restored Georgian Villa forms a striking backdrop to your nature walk. The house's interior is not currently open to the public, but visitors are more than welcome to appreciate the exterior elements during their visit. Feast your eyes on its stunning Georgian architecture and Diocletian windows and take a photo in front of this impressive house. Indeed, with breathtaking exteriors and a fascinating history, Belvedere House is an unmissable stop on your next short break to Westmeath.
Refresh and refuel at the Lakeside Café
After taking in the changing colours of this season and centuries of history, head to the Lakeside Café and warm up with tea, coffee or hot chocolate in this pretty dining room. It goes without saying that the Lakeside Cafe has incredible views of Lough Ennell, which you can enjoy while dining al fresco. There's a solid selection of soups served with Irish soda bread, alongside a hearty menu of toasties to choose from.
Explore Mullingar Town
The buzzy town of Mullingar is located a mere 10-minute drive from Belvedere House. After your brisk walks around Belvedere House, journey into the town and hit up some of its best spots.
Head to the Wholesome Kitchen Restaurant, where you can choose between a wide range of traditional Irish meals as well as stir-fries, smoothies and desserts.
For a lively place to enjoy a pint or to cosy up by the fire, swing by Con's, a beloved pub in Mullingar. Expect vibrant cocktails, a great selection of beers and live music in the evenings.
Cycle the Royal Canal Greenway
Make the most of Ireland's Hidden Heartlands' nature on your autumn break by taking in Westmeath's countryside along the Royal Canal Greenway. Rent a bike and start off in Mullingar town before passing the harbour and enjoy the sensation of the refreshing autumn wind as you cycle. Then, head west for a few kilometres and you'll come to Coolnahy Harbour – a pretty, peaceful spot to relax and soak up the autumnal atmosphere.
Climb the Hill of Uisneach
The Hill of Uisneach stands a majestic 596ft above sea level and has some tremendous panoramic views of the Westmeath countryside – we can't think of a better way to truly see the spoils of this beautiful season. In addition to the stunning natural scenery along this hike, the hill is a place of mythological significance – it's thought to be the resting place of Ériu, the Earth goddess, as well as a portal to Mide, a mythical fifth province of Ireland. As you stand atop this hill, notice how the light wind and rain enhance this moody experience.
Another breathtaking Westmeath castle to add to your autumn itinerary is Tullynally Castle in Castlepollard. On a tour of this Gothic revival castle, you'll see Tullynally's decadent great hall, as well as the library, dining room and drawing room. After your tour, there are 26 acres of parkland to explore – and the wild woodland trails are particularly striking in autumn.
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