In the wonderful west of Ireland, what we lack in hot weather we make up for with cosy nooks, high spirits and mighty craic. From snow-capped mountain peaks to roaring fireside seats, Westport has it all. A trip here in the low season is where you’ll find a blend of amazing urban amenities with dramatic winter nature just around the corner.
How to spend a cosy weekend in Westport
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but Westport is so delightful...
First things first, the foundation of any good cosy getaway is your accommodation. When it comes to a country welcome all of our hotels are family owned and run which always adds extra charm and warmth. The best bit is you will find great rates in winter with some hotels offering rates at just €40 per night B&B.
If it’s fireside chats you’re after, look no further than the renowned Knockranny House Hotel. Located just on the edge of town, Knockranny has its fire game down. Recline in the fireside armchairs as you are served afternoon tea in front of a warming blaze, sheltered from the elements outside.
The perfect spa experience can be found at the Westport Plaza Hotel, where Spa Sula provides guests with everything they need for that perfect RnR weekend. Treatments are delivered using the famous Voya products, made from locally sourced seaweed on the west coast of Ireland.
If you want to be in the heart of it all, stay in The Mariner, smack bang in the middle of town. The perfect base for a wander around the town, The Mariner also has its own dedicated seafood restaurant aptly called The Curious Fish, where you can try locally caught fare, fresh every day.
The classic Castlecourt has been a firm favourite here for many generations. The hotel has many nooks and crannies to sip a hot whiskey and you have got to try their local in-house dry-aged beef in Mays Bistro, it's divine!
The Westport Woods hotel located on the way to Westport Harbour has warm beautiful spacious rooms overlooking a 300-year woodland. If you’re in the mood for a dip jump into their 18-meter pool or relax in the bubbling warm waters of their jacuzzi, you’ll forget it’s winter in no time.
Those wanting to be a little closer to the action of the Wild Atlantic Way should head for The Coast Hotel, situated right on the waterfront at The Quay with views of Clew Bay. Sea swimmers can head to The Point, the local swimming spot, for a thrilling and chilling dip followed by a sauna in Barrel Sauna West. The hotel also has its own thermal suite so you’ve lots of options to warm up!
Finally, those with furry friends can bunk down in The Wyatt, right in the middle of town, perfect for those of you who can’t leave your furry friends behind!
Day 1: Cosy up downtown
The best way to spend a morning in Westport is to set yourself up for the day with a delicious breakfast before rambling around the shops and picking up some souvenirs. Head to This Must Be The Place for one of the best coffees in town, before getting a hearty feed at either Servd, Ring for Coffee or The Creel, just a selection of great places to eat around Westport. Take a turn around town and pop into Carraig Donn for an Aran jumper, Portwest for some outwear or Foxford Woollen Mills for their signature blankets. If you like to start your weekend off with a bit of activity to warm up, take a yoga class at the Yoga Root, Westport’s little oasis of calm by the harbour.
Take in the sights at your leisure by strolling along the greenway from town to The Quay. This path follows the line of the old railway, and the old railway bridges frame some epic views of Croagh Patrick in the distance. If you’re travelling with kids, there’s a fun skate park situated mid-way down, that also has an outdoor gym if you want to get your pump on.
Westport is blessed to have a stately home within the town itself, and the grounds actually connect the house to the Quay. Continue your walk from the greenway through Westport House, and take a guided tour of the house itself, which was recently refurbished and restored to its former glory. The tour is fascinating, with tales of Pirate Queens to global slave emancipations all adorning its walls.
On your way from the Quay to Westport House, take in some local culture at the Quay Side Gallery and the Customs House, and peruse the local fashions at Pier 57 and the Liberties boutiques.
Wine and dine yourself around town on the first evening of your cosy Westport weekend. There are so many amazing spots to choose from considering the small size of the town - it’s a heavy hitter when it comes to food and drink and has a vibrant culinary scene!
Cosy pubs are ten a penny in Westport, but the great thing is, they’re all brilliant! Matt Molloy’s has a fire in the backroom, and you’ll be treated to a trad session 7 nights a week as you sip on your pint. The Grainstore has a huge, blazing stove in the middle of the pub, so go early to secure your spot beside it! The Sheebeen, a cosy cottage pub past the Quay, has a homely hearth to the left of the bar, and back in town, McBrides has a crackling fire that lights up its wooden interior.
It’s time for dinner, decisions decisions! If it’s a special occasion, choose between Arno’s Bistro, Sage and An Port Mor. If there’s a gang of you, get in touch with Savoir Fare in advance and book out the entire place for a private supper. Great pub grub can be found in Cobblers Bar, Hobans, The Sheebeen and The Tavern in Murrisk. Families should head to Woodfire for pizza and burgers or The Towers for tasty dishes to keep even the fussyiest eaters happy.
Day 2: Cosy adventures
Misty mornings are the perfect time to tackle The Reek which is what locals call Croagh Patrick. You’ll certainly earn your lunch with the three to four-hour round trip up and down the holy mountain, but if the weather doesn’t allow it, or you’re only in it for the views, climb the set of stairs at the beginning of the ascent until you get to the statue, then turn back and gaze over the beauty of Clew Bay below. If you’re more of an ocean lover, ditch the mountain and head for the beach - Westport has them both! Saunas are popping up everywhere around Westport, so go for a stroll along the beach at Old Head or Bertra Beach before sweating out in the Wild Atlantic Sauna, and then cooling off in the wild Atlantic itself.
You’ll be hungry after the climb, the swim or the sauna, so it’s time to replenish the energy stocks with lunch at one of Westport’s buzzing weekend eateries. The Creel on the Quay is the ideal spot for a bit of brunch, or you can break up the journey on the way home to Westport and stop in The Tavern, one of the best gastropubs in the area.
Still, have some daylight left? Sun chasers can go in search of the mythical and mystical west of Ireland winter sunset. Head to one of Westport’s famous sunset spots and you’ll be sure to run into some locals who have had the same idea!
The final evening of your cosy winter weekend is best spent in the inviting environs of one of Westport’s trendiest restaurants, Coveys Gastrobar in the Westport Plaza Hotel. Italian dishes are the order of the day, and the vibe is laid back and casual, perfect for a weekend evening. With your belly filled, head over to the W Cinema, before finishing off the evening enjoying a trad session in Cobblers, which takes place every Sunday. Slap your knees and sip your Guinness, and start planning your next date out west!