Destination Northern Ireland

Ali with her Bunk Campers motorhomeIt's February half term. Destination Northern Ireland. Our suitcases are packed full of wellies, woolly hats, hot water bottles and even my trusty compact Cadac barbecue. We are heading on an adventure to camp and eat.

2016 is officially Northern Ireland's Year of Food, a time to promote the best of this unassumingly beautiful country's producers, growers, chefs, cafes, bakers and brewers. In the interests of Eat Local and my appetite, this seems like a great excuse to visit.

Left to my own devices, I'd be launching myself from one great plate of food to another, but this is a family trip, with husband and two children in tow so I've put together a mixed itinerary to keep everyone happy.

The plan is to fly to Belfast (40 minutes from Bristol) spend the afternoon in the city to take in the highlights including the highly recommended Titanic Belfast exhibition and to eat in one of cities many vibrant restaurants. When it comes to food I've heard that Belfast is undergoing a culinary reawakening. It's a fresh, vibrant food scene that is being led by chefs using local produce to create a modern Irish food scene. I'm keen to seek it out.

Family time is high on Ali's agendaAfter a day and night of city life, we'll pick up motorhome from Bunk Campers, a popular motorhome and campervan hire company, a mere 15-minute taxi drive from the city and start our camping adventure around the country from there.

Naturally I've planned my route according to food. Seafood is key in Northern Ireland. I've heard great things about the Salmon from the Glen Antrim coast, mussels, prawns and scallops shell from Strangford Lough just south of Belfast. Eels from the expansive Lough Neagh are world renowned, though only just becoming popular on plates in the country they come from.

Ali will explore some of Northern Ireland's great attractionsI'm planning to visit the only hand-made butter producers in Ireland who supply Heston Blumenthal and Fortnam and Masons and I've heard of a great little beachside cafe on the Causeway Coast. I'll be looking for great places to eat traditional dishes too, I want to try great soda bread and potato farls as part of the ultimate Ulster Fry - the Irish breakfast.

Of course I can't visit Northern Ireland without drinking. The legendary tipples are Whiskey and Guinness although I've heard the artisan beer scene is burgeoning, that will keep my husband Gavin occupied.

Ali will taste some of Ireland's best foodThe camping is going to be good too. We've got forest pitches, mountain sites and coastal camping in the schedule.

Bring it on...

Ali Ray Ali Ray is as passionate about camping as she is about eating and cooking with locally produced food. You can read more from Ali in Camping & Caravanning and online. Read other posts by this author