Family Days Out In Northern Ireland

Family Health

Let’s be honest about it, we all know Northern Ireland is really just a giant adventure park. There is no better place to be outdoors than this wee corner of the world and kids will love it here. Just in case it rains, and it has been known to happen, there are quite a few indoor adventures for them too.  

A giant’s lair in County Armagh 

Why not start it all off with a visit to the Giant’s Lair and Adventure Playground at Slieve Gullion Forest Park in County Armagh. This place is like a magical living storybook, so boys, girls, elves and fairies will all enjoy the story trails and huge play park with a specially designed toddler’s area and excellent adventure play equipment. You might even get stuck in yourselves. 

Narnia is for real in Kilbroney 

Imagine your children’s surprise when the door of a wardrobe pops out of nowhere in Kilbroney Forest Park in Co Down then leads them into the magical world of Narnia. Inspired by local man C.S. Lewis’s epic tale, this lovely trail is short enough for tiny feet and weaves its magical way through a forest path, past citadels, tree people and even a beaver’s house. 

Nature at your fingertips in Newtownards 

Get your kids into nature at the Secret Swamp at Castle Espie. This place near Newtownards is all about active and imaginative play. Parents will get some peace with hush-hush hide outs and the kids will love the magical toadstool glade and the swamp stomp stepping-stones. There’s a whole heap of other stuff to do but let’s not ruin all of the surprises. 

Bags of fun to be found in Bangor 

Pickie Fun Park in Bangor is the perfect place for an exciting day of family fun activities but be prepared to get a little wet. Kids and adults can disco with the ducks, pedal the pedalo swans, get onboard the pickie puffer steam train before taking a leisurely stroll around marine gardens. You might even have time to stop off at the Pickie Café for a nice wee cup of tea. 

Gruffalo trails near Belast 

In Belfast, you can give the kids a break from the ship building and great food, with a visit to Gruffalo Trail, at Colin Glen. This lovely trail based on the best-selling children’s book fits nicely into the landscape of the park and is a great place to let little imaginations run free, on the way to meeting The Gruffalo… if he really exists.  

Biking at Barnett 

Those with slightly older children might want to have a go at mountain biking at Barnett Demesne Belfast. What’s cool about this place is that it caters for beginners as well as those with a little more experience so it is ideal for young families and those trying the activity for the first time. 

Don’t look down in Belfast! 

On a rainy day check out We Are Vertigo, an excellent indoor trampoline park, ski and adventure centre. Have a go at skiing or snowboarding with professional instructors or experience extreme fun with indoor skydiving, Sky Trail high ropes, low ropes, and a climbing wall.  

Room to rumble in Carnfunnock 

Heading north to Co Antrim, Carnfunnock Country Park has acres and acres of green spaces for all ages to run around and play. There is a tonne of other organised activities too - bouncy castles, bungee jumps, mini-golf...the list goes on. 

Trekking and trotting 

For something more gentle try Shean's Riding School in Armoy. This school sits just off the Causeway Coastal Route and is close to the Glens of Antrim. Many of the pony treks on offer here go through this stunning area and it is a most rewarding day for both you and your children. If they have been bitten by the bug you can also try Hill Farm Riding Centre, Castlerock or Faughanvale Stables in Greysteel which offers trekking across a 70 acre horse farm through streams and rivers. 

Along the Derry-Londonderry playtrail 

Those who are spending some time in Derry-Londonderry City should check out the city’s Playtrail. This exciting play and educational spot has a junior play park, adventure play area and sensory garden. There is also an enchanting woodland fairy walk with lots of surprise play opportunities.  

All to play for in Moneymore 

Staying in the county but a few miles south of the city, Jungle NI at Moneymore is choc-a-bloc with exciting activities like paintballing, zorbing and segwaying. They even have a High Wire Tarzan Tree Top Adventure Course and if you’re really keen, they’ll even let you stay over in one of their glamping pods. Just be sure to check the age restrictions on some of the activities before you go -we wouldn’t want any tears. 

Stay and play at Todd’s Leap 

Todd’s Leap in Ballygawley, County Tyrone has over twenty action packed activities and adventures spread across a purpose-built off-road track. Get around the site using ziplines, giant swings and climbing walls. 

Pedal-pushing action near Fivemiletown 

If you prefer getting round on two wheels then the Blessingbourne Mountain Bike Trails, near Fivemiletown are packed full of great technical trail features such as berms, table tops and rock drops while at the same time catering for all ages and abilities. 

Let them run wild in Drum Manor Park 

Of course, not everything the children do needs to be organised. Sometimes all they need is space. There’s plenty of that at Drum Manor Park in Tyrone. This is the perfect scenic spot to let the kids run wild and burn up that energy. They can feed ducks in the ponds, explore the old manor ruins, the butterfly and Japanese garden and woodlands, or spend a few hours in the large play area with slides, swings, climbing frames and tunnels. 

Freedom in the forum at Enniskillen 

The setting of Enniskillen’s Lakeland Forum in Fermanagh is where playtime and a superb location on the banks of Lough Erne meet. The kids can play for hours on tunnels, slides and swings. They can be princesses of the magic castle, Tarzans of the jungle walk, or spidermen and spiderwomen of the cableway and net climbers.  

If you’d prefer to take them away from it all then the lakelands of Fermanagh offer great places to explore while the Sperrin Mountains will give them another view of this mighty land. 

Content sourced from Discover Northern Ireland (discovernorthernireland.com).

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