With a population of 1.8 million people spread across six distinct and unique counties - Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone - Northern Ireland is one of the most beautiful and welcoming areas of the United Kingdom. It is here that you will find our five HSC Trusts’ hospitals and services.
Northern Ireland is not only a region of outstanding natural beauty, filled with dramatic mountain landscapes, verdant forest parks and sparkling lakes, but it’s also a place populated with bustling cities and historic towns and villages. In short, you’ll find the perfect mix of outdoor, indoor and social pursuits where there’s always plenty to see and do.
There’s an excellent education system, a world-class healthcare service and all types of affordable property, all helping to ensure a high standard, yet low cost of living. Northern Ireland may be renowned for its work ethic, but it places equal emphasis on the friendliness of the people and the quality of life.
Living in Northern Ireland means there’s always an adventure to be had. You can cross the country by car in about two hours – north to south, or east to west- and in between you’ll find a rich variety of eye-popping scenery, captivating leisure and outdoor activities, and a host of distinctive cultural attractions. In no time at all, you’ll be exploring our dramatic coastlines, castles, mountains and lakes.
For the more intrepid, there’s action-packed watersports, superb ocean and freshwater fishing, and a huge range of walking trails - from casual strolls to challenging peak climbs. And for those who like to take things at a slower pace, there’s no shortage of breathtaking drives, historical landmarks and some of the best golfing in the world.
If you love great social life, Northern Ireland offers many fine restaurants, cinemas, leisure centres, and renowned theatres, galleries, arts and entertainment centres - there’s something for every lifestyle! And if all that isn’t enough, 2012 saw the opening of the Titanic Exhibition Centre in the Belfast shipyards, and the new visitors centre at the legendary Giant’s Causeway.
Derry-Londonderry was the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013 and Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, has been voted the top UK tourist destination by readers of The Guardian and Observer (March 2016).
But that’s only the beginning. Here are some of the other visitor attractions you will find in the different counties:
Not only the home of the eclectic city of Belfast, but also the starting point of the gorgeous Causeway Coastal Route that takes you to other amazing places such as the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge.
Gaze at the heavens at the Armagh Astronomy Centre and Planetarium, spend some time reflecting at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and enjoy the best of life at Gosford Forest Park.
Walk along the City Walls of Derry-Londonderry and be part of its living history. County Londonderry is also where you’ll find the stunning Roe Valley Country Park and the enticing Castlerock Beach.
Home to the mighty Mountains of Mourne, Tollymore Forest Park, family friendly beaches, the forest walks of Crawfordsburn Country Park and much, much more.
Although known as the land of lakes, you can also step into a marvellous subterranean world at the Marble Arch Caves or shop in Enniskillen - the choice is yours.
Take a journey back in time at the Ulster American Folk Park or create your own adventure in one of the many forest parks.
Northern Ireland is known for it's high education standards, with over 60% of young people leaving secondary education and going on to university or college. School education for children up to the age of 18 years in pre-schools, primary schools and post-primary schools in Northern Ireland is nonfee paying. Two world-class universities, Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast (both having close links with the Trusts), together with an extensive network of Further Education Colleges, provide outstanding vocational and academic training for young people. In addition, the Open University offers excellent part-time routes into Higher Education, with a variety of courses with no entry limits. This gives the option to study at your own pace, no matter what your academic background may be.
Northern Ireland is one of the most affordable places to live, compared with most other areas in the United Kingdom.The British Council have said that Northern Ireland has the lowest cost of living in the UK. Property prices in Northern Ireland are the lowest in the UK. Renting a room in Belfast, the country’s capital costs just £250 per month on average, and renting a two-bedroom apartment in the city will cost £450-£650, depending on location and size. As well as the affordable rent and property prices, the cost of transport, food shopping, entertainment and leisure are all lower too!
Northern Ireland enjoys excellent public transport, with extensive rail and road networks (meaning less time commuting to and from work!), five commercial ports and three airports. Most places can be reached by road and rail, and global connections to Great Britian, Europe and beyond, are excellent. Public transportation to the five Trust locations is widely available. Distances from airports to the HSC Trust areas are as follows:
Belfast HSC Trust
• George Best Belfast City Airport: approximately 8 miles
• Belfast International Airport: approximately 20 miles
• City of Derry Airport: approximately 70 miles
Northern HSC Trust
• George Best Belfast City Airport: approximately 30 miles
• Belfast International Airport: approximately 15 miles
• City of Derry Airport: approximately 43 miles
Southern HSC Trust
• Belfast International Airport: approximately 28 miles
• George Best Belfast City Airport: approximately 33 miles
• City of Derry Airport: approximately 67 miles
Western HSC Trust
• City of Derry Airport: approximately 8 miles
• Belfast International Airport: approximately 55 miles
• George Best Belfast City Airport: approximately 92 miles
South Eastern HSC Trust
• George Best Belfast City Airport: approximately 11 miles
• Belfast International Airport: approximately 30 miles
• City of Derry Airport: approximately 80 miles