Categories: Family Friendly

Northern Ireland offers a whole host of hands-on and hands-off activities for families to choose from and we promise they won’t break the bank. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started...  

Canoeing and Cycling in Belfast 

Get the show on the road, or should that be off the road, at Shaw’s Bridge in Belfast where Mobile Team Adventure offers family-friendly canoeing sessions on Saturdays. There is no need to pre-book, no experience is necessary and all equipment is provided so it’s guaranteed to be a hassle-free adventure.  

Just a short pedal from there, cycling families can wind their way through paths and over gentle inclines at Barnett Demesne Mountain Bike Trails or whizz along the flat towpath beside the River Lagan - the perfect place for the novice cyclist.  

Having worked up an appetite, grab a slice of pizza from Piccolo Mondo at the nearby Minnowburn car park, climb the steps to the Giant’s Ring and enjoy it with a view.  

Jungle Adventures and Zip Lines in County Londonderry 

A forty-minute drive west of Belfast will take you past the shores of Lough Neagh to  Magherafelt, home of Jungle NI. 
Take on wibbly-wobbly bridges, swinging cargo nets and a tree house at the Mowgli treetop adventure course. The playground features a set of daring high ropes designed for taller children but for smaller ones there’s the chance to go and meet the animals on the jungle farm.  

Nearby, at the foot of Binevenagh Mountain, Carrowmena Activity Centre in Limavady is a hot spot for adrenaline junkies. With canoeing, climbing walls, abseiling and zip line just some of the activities on offer this is a great place to get the kids out and active and is great value for the array of activities on offer.  

Chase the breeze on the Causeway Coastal Route  

No visit to Northern Ireland would be the same without a visit to the Causeway Coastal Route and there are great pursuits for chasers of fun.  

Rent a body board and hit the beach in Portstewart or Portrush. Long Line or Troggs Surf School do them at very low cost and if you haven’t packed the wetsuits, they have them too.  

All that sea air is going to make you hungry and no trip to the seaside would be complete without some fish and chips and an ice cream. Check out Morelli’s on Portstewart promenade, makers of award-winning ice cream since 1911.  

Float along the Foyle in Derry-Londonderry  

For a unique perspective of Derry-Londonderry, try a boom board, kayak or stand-up paddle board tour with Far and Wild. The night time kayaking tour on the River Foyle is a real beauty, offering spectacular views of the city.  

Escape to County Fermanagh  

That has probably ‘wet’ your appetite for water tours so keep it going on the beautiful lakes of County Fermanagh at Castle Archdale Marina. Enjoy the thrill of the bouncing flip and water slide trampoline or hire a kayak and explore the lovely Lough Erne and its islands.

Afterwards visit Tickety Moo dairy farm for some mouth-watering ice cream where for a small fee you can watch the Jersey cows being ‘milked’ by robots at 4.30pm each day. Where else would you get it?  

Step back in time in County Tyrone  

In County Tyrone, you can follow the emigrants trail at the Ulster American Folk Park. Start from the thatched cottages of Ulster before boarding a full-scale emigrant ship to the American frontier. 
On the way, you’ll meet an array of characters with traditional crafts to show, tales to tell and food to share. You’ll even go back to school for a few moments for a lesson in the olden days.  

Meet the stars in County Armagh  

There’s plenty more learning to be done at the Armagh Planetarium where you can find out all about the stars and how they shine. 
The nearby Giant’s Lair and Adventure Playground in the beautiful Slieve Gullion Forest Park is also out of this world. This magical living storybook comes to life through a trail of intertwined fairy houses and art. At the end of it all you can have the craic in the huge play park with specially designed toddler’s area and excellent adventure play equipment.  

Fun in the forests and beaches of County Down 

From here you should head to the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, where Tollymore Forest Park has a range of outdoor activities that are sure to keep the kids engaged. Hop over the famous stepping stones, cross ancient bridges or have a blast at the Big Deer play area featuring a giant timber fallow deer, castle turret, folly tower and hollow tree.  

Just ten minutes further on, you’ll come to the lovely seaside town of Newcastle where you can walk the promenade or skim stones on the beach before enjoying dinner in one of the many great value bars or restaurants. Docking in at the Anchor Bar where kids eat free is not a bad bet at all.  

Make a bee-line for Bangor  

If you have any change left over, and we’re pretty sure you will, make a bee-line for Bangor, County Down, where you can get the kids on board the Giant Swans or take a train ride on the Pickie Puffer at Pickie Park.  

That’s budget-friendly Northern Ireland in your pocket, with plenty more to pick from once you start looking around.