Categories: Seasonal Inspiration

We’ve had quite a lot of practice at coming up with what to do on a rainy day in Northern Ireland and in our humble opinion, some experiences may even be enhanced by the rain... or liquid sunshine as we prefer to think of it...

Surfing in the rain? 

Well, let’s face it. You’re already on a surfboard. How much wetter can you get? 

Besides, there’s nothing quite so pretty as raindrops bouncing off the surface of the sea. There are fantastic surfing beaches all along the Causeway Coastal Route. Portstewart Strand is a year-round hit with surfers and Portrush and Portballintrae are popular spots too. There’s something for all levels and, if you’re interested in lessons they are generally available.  

Go with the flow 

Flumes, a lazy river, aqualand, water slides and a diving pool are all part of the fun at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex in Lisburn. Or check out Northern Ireland's first 50 metre swimming pool at Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex. Here you’ve got a choice for three swimming pools, plus waves and more flumes. Both are guaranteed to burn off a lot of kiddie energy. And perhaps some adult energy too. 

Raingear at the ready 

There’s something special about walking in the rain when you’re all geared up for it with wellies, raincoats and the rest. It’s even more special when you discover the hundreds of breath-taking scenic walks that Northern Ireland has to offer. Our dedicated Walking & Hiking page contains lots of information, including dog friendly locations and our blog on family walks for inspiration.

Hop on a high-speed sea safari 

For an adrenaline fuelled afternoon, head for Strangford Sea Safari where you will zoom across Strangford Lough on a high speed Rib - this is sightseeing with a difference! Keep an eye out for seals and if you’re in luck, you might even see a dolphin or a basking shark along the way. 

Get cooking with some local flavor 

At Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen, in her 17th century thatched cottage on the shores of Strangford Lough, traditional Irish recipes rule. It’s aprons on and dusting down the counters with flour as you try your hand at making soda bread, wheaten bread and local favourite, potato bread. Yum!

Take a waterfall walk 

There’s a magical waterfall walk through Glenariff Forest Park in the Glens of Antrim. Just follow the boardwalk paths through the river gorge to see rainbows in the spray. Or visit Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark, where the water from the Marble Arch underground cave system re-emerges to cascade down a 300 million-year old natural limestone ‘staircase’. Now, where would they be without the rain? 

Let’s go shopping 

If you fancy a spot of retail therapy, you’re in the right place. Belfast is home to great shopping centres and unique independent stores. And Derry~Londonderry’s delightfully Dickensian Craft Village is a mix of artisan outlets, restaurants and coffee shops. While in Moygashel, the Linen Green has stunning homewares and interiors shops – plus fantastic fashion stores.  

Cosy up with a book or two 

The Linen Hall Library, Belfast’s oldest library, is the perfect spot to while away a rainy hour or two. Take a look at the unique collection of C.S. Lewis books and discover what inspired the East Belfast-born creator of Narnia. Or visit the 18th century Armagh Robinson Library to see the former archbishop’s collection of artefacts and rare books. 

A day at the museum 

Whatever you’re into, there’s a museum here to match your interests. From the Ulster American Folk Park, which celebrates the story of emigration across the Atlantic to America hundreds of years ago, to Derry-Londonderry’s Tower Museum, which houses exhibitions explaining some of the dramatic true tales about the city, through to the History of Belleek Pottery museum. For families, to history buffs and everyone in between, there's lots of great venues with interesting stories to share (and a roof to take shelter beneath!)

Catch and Sea 

Set sail on the ‘Catch and Sea’ tour to experience the extraordinary Causeway coastline from a whole new angle. Once on board you'll have time to take in the breathtaking sights, breathe in the fresh sea air... Oh, and you’ll also catch your own breakfast, which will be cooked for you back on dry land. Delicious! Experiences such as this add a whole new dimension to your trip, and engage all the senses - regardless of your expertise levels! Check out our Giant Spirit Experience Collection for more ideas.

That’s ten rain-busting ways to get through the day! You never thought there’d be so many ways to have fun, but there you have it - that’s Northern Ireland all over. 

Portstewart Strand and Barmouth
The National Trust
Portstewart strand

Between Portstewart and the mouth of the River Bann lies the golden sands and domineering sand dunes of Portrush Strand Beach. This area of natural beauty and of scientific interest is owned and managed by the National Trust.

East Strand Beach
Beach
East Strand Beach

Golden sandy beach with views of The Skerries and Causeway headlands.

Lagan Valley LeisurePlex
Swimming Pool
Image shows swimming pool with lots of brightly coloured slides

Based in the heart of Lisburn City, the LeisurePlex boasts the largest leisure pool in Northern Ireland.

Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex
Swimming Pool
Image of the leisure waters at Bangor Aurora including play Pirate ship and water slides

North Down has excellent leisure and sports facilities.

Strangford Sea Safari
Boat Tours
Strangford Sea Safari

12 seater high speed Rib trips in Strangford Lough area. Managed by the Clearsky Adventure Centre, we offer tours with a difference along this stunning coastline. Visit the seals, Islands, Shipwreck, Sea Gen and pumping whirlpools of ...

Glenariff Nature Reserve Waterfalls Walk
Walking & Hiking
Glenariff Nature Reserve Waterfalls Walk

Forest walk with spectacular waterfalls

Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark
Forest Parks
Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark

The Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the rugged mountainous uplands and the gentle rolling lowlands of Counties Fermanagh and Cavan, stretching from the northern shores of Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh to the southern shores of Lough Oughter in County Cavan.

The Craft Village
Local Produce & Products
The Craft Village

Welcome to the distinctive delights of the hidden jewel in Derry~Londonderry’s crown, the classic Craft Village. Dickensian in appearance and delightful in layout, Derry~Londonderry’s Craft Village is a cultural oasis in the heart of a vibrant city.

Victoria Square Belfast
Shopping Centres & Retail Parks
Victoria Square Belfast

Northern Ireland’s biggest and brightest shopping centre. Inside Victoria Square, there are two floor levels, with ninety eight shops, Odeon Cinema and a dozen eateries. With Northern Ireland’s first House of Fraser store and Hollister.

Linen Hall Library
Visitor Centres & Museums
Linen Hall Library

Founded in 1788, Linen Hall Library is a truly unique institution. As the oldest library in Belfast and the last subscribing library in Ireland, it has an impressive Irish and Local Studies Collection and houses a significant genealogy section.

Armagh Robinson Library
Visitor Centres & Museums
Armagh Robinson Library

Established in 1771, Armagh Public Library is one of the oldest libraries in Ireland, holding rare and valuable books, ancient Irish artefacts, and print, gem and coin collections. Visitors and researchers, individuals and groups, are all welcome.

Ulster American Folk Park
Visitor Centres & Museums
Ulster American Folk Park

Journey back in time at the Ulster American Folk Park, from the Old World of Ulster to the New World of America.

Tower Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
Tower Museum

The Tower Museum houses two permanent exhibitions The Story of Derry and An Armada Shipwreck - La Trinidad Valencera as well as other temporary exhibitions. The top of the Museum provides an open air viewing facility in the heart of the city centre.

Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre
Visitor Centres & Museums
exterior image of the Belleek Pottery Visitor Centre, view from main road

When you step into the world of Belleek Pottery you enter one of Northern Ireland’s oldest and most fascinating attractions. Unique pieces are made using traditional methods passed down from generation to generation.