Categories: Family Fun

With play parks, picnic spots and endless places to hide and seek Northern Ireland is the perfect place for that camping trip you’ve always promised the kids. There is so much to do and see in the great outdoors of these six green and open counties that they’ll be fast asleep in their tent or caravan just in time for that glass of wine under the starry starry night. 

Be kings of the castle in Castlewellan

There is enough adventure and fun in Castlewellan Forest Park to completely fill up every hour of a family weekend away. The walks around the lake will give kids of all ages the freedom to explore while those who want to do so on two wheels can hire mountain bikes, including trailers for the wee ones, from the Life Adventure Centre. The same great crew also offers canoe and kayak hire so you can explore tree-lined lakes. Just to make sure all that energy has been expended, why not send the kids to make their way through the impressive hedge Peace Maze before they go and explore the Animal Wood Natural Play area. You’ll be glad to hear that most of this can be done without going anywhere near your car as there are both caravanning and camping options available onsite. 

Kick up a storm in Kilbroney Forest Park 

Any children with notions of becoming the next Serena Williams will love the tennis courts at Kilbroney Forest Park. Chances are they’ll love that glass of orange juice even more as they wait for their burger on the open barbecue. If you don’t feel like cooking there's an on site café that will look after you on your days off. Be sure you get them off the court for a ramble up the short but steep climb to Cloughmore Stone with spectacular views over Carlingford Lough. Older kids who feel confident on mountain bikes can take on the purpose built trail while the smaller members of your crew can discover the Narnia Walking Trail and listen to the stories, myths and legends of the area that inspired C.S. Lewis to write his famous books. 

Of course there is caravanning and camping available onsite and for those who want a little more luxury, look out for East Coast Adventure Glamping just ten minutes up the road. 

Take them all to Tollymore

Staying in County Down, Tollymore Forest Park covers almost 630 spectacular hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. The walking trails along the shimmering Shimna River pass rocky outcrops, bridges, grottos, caves and the oldest arboretum tree in Ireland. Admire the views and enjoy a picnic at the deer tables as the kids climb over, under and through the rope-bridges, tunnels and spider webs connected to the so-called Big Deer. You don’t need to move an inch as everything you want is on site. That said the park is near the lovely seaside town of Newcastle so a trip for an ice-cream on the beach is probably advisable. 

Kids and Thronies go crazy for Castle Ward 

Less than a mile from Strangford village, Castle Ward in Downpatrick has lots to discover. With over thirteen miles of multi-use trails along the lough shore and woodlands, you’ll never be done exploring. Castle Ward is home to Clearsky Adventure Centre which has everything you need to enjoy that exploration by bike or by canoe on Strangford Lough. You’ll still have time for a game of hide and seek in the Victorian sunken gardens and you can stroll around the stunning Temple Water before bringing your farmers in waiting to pay a visit to the farmyard where junior pedal tractors and animal costumes await. Onsite glamping pods are an excellent option for resting those weary bones and there’s also self-catering accommodation in Potter’s Holiday Cottage. 

All the fun of the forest in Carnfunnock 

Featuring 191 hectares of mixed woodland, colourful gardens, spectacular coastline, and with panoramic views of the County Antrim coast there is lots to see and do at Carnfunnock Country Park. The kids will love the maritime themed outdoor adventure playground or getting lost in the Northern Ireland maze. Expect a few yelps in the family fun zone where kids can run riot on the bouncy castle and bungee run before taking a trip on a miniature railway to the 18 hole mini golf course. After all of that you’ll just want to get them to the 19th and pour yourself a nightcap outside your cosy tent. 

Camp in the woods at Castle Archdale 

With a fascinating history dating back to WW2 the bustling campsite at Castle Archdale Country Park, County Fermanagh offers a wide range of activities either on the lough or in among the thick acres of woods. At the marina you can hire bikes or boats or paddle your own canoe and enjoy the Lough Erne alone. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the butterfly garden, wildflower meadow and deer enclosure. And if you fancy a picnic on one of the nearby islands, well we can arrange that for you too.  

The only question now is which one do you choose.