Categories: Family Friendly

Northern Ireland has a ton of family activities and adventures to enjoy and we promise they won’t burn a hole in your wallet or purse. Here are a few budget friendly ideas for starters.

Paddle, pedal, putt and pet in Belfast

Spend Saturday morning or afternoon at Shaw's Bridge in south Belfast where Mobile Team Adventure offer open canoeing sessions for families. It costs around £20 per person and no pre-booking or experience is necessary – just rock up and their top-notch team will give you all the equipment and confidence you need for hassle-free fun for everyone. Of course, the towpath under your feet and all the fun stuff at nearby Lagan Valley Regional Park means a great family day out needn’t cost you a penny! You could swap paddles for pedals at Barnett Demesne Mountain Bike Trails. Their green, blue and red trails are free to use and ideal for beginners, families or your more experienced or adrenaline-seeking jump riders. For indoor fun, all ages can get their skates on with family packages from around £25 at Dundonald International Ice Bowl. Or for £26 for a family of 4, try Lost City Adventure Golf with rainforest-themed adventure courses… yes, indoors! Just outside the city, at Streamvale Open Farm and Laganvale Farm they can meet cuddly rabbits and lambs and enjoy all the fun of the farm. Budget for a few quid north and south of £30 for a family of 4 here. 

Zipline and zap lanes in County Londonderry

A 40-minute drive west of Belfast is the town of Magherafelt, home of Jungle NI. Here, they can master wibbly-wobbly bridges and swing on cargo nets on the Mowgli treetop adventure course for around £15 per child but check out their weekly special offers for the time you’re visiting as they may have deals on your kid’s fave activity. Nearby Carrowmena Activity Centre in Limavady is a hot spot for adrenaline junkies with great value activities like zip lines, climbing walls, abseiling and canoeing on offer. A half-day package for a family of 4 is around £30 per person for their climbing wall, zip line and archery combo while group rates are also available at Limitless Adventure Centre out Limavady way - depending on your activity - where buggies and go-karts rule!  Older kids might enjoy hearing about the history of the Walled City with a guided walking tour with Martin McCrossan City Tours.  Tickets cost £6 for a 1 hour tour of the walls with friendly, enthusiastic guides.

Catch air and waves on the Causeway Coastal Route

A visit to the Causeway Coastal Route is a must-do for fun seekers and sightseers alike. Don’t miss Giant’s Causeway for a wondrous experience of nature and volcanoes - with mythical stories of Cú Chulainn thrown in for good measure! There are two walking trails to the stones so you and your gang will need to be reasonably fit. A Visitor Experience ticket (£32.50 for a family of 5) is a great-value option at busy times and includes parking, guided tours as well as access to the Visitor Centre exhibition, shop, café and facilities. Or you could take a boat trip to Rathlin Island for special family memories. Watch razorbills, guillemots and kittiwakes in their natural habitat, or the famed puffin colony from April. Not forgetting the ’upside-down’ lighthouse, West Light, or the gorgeous guided walks and cycles around this stunning island. Round trips with Rathlin Island Ferry Ltd are super value at around £12 for adults, £6 for kids (age 5-15) while under-5s go free. Unmissable at those prices. At Long Line Surf School in Limavady their first venture into the cool world of surfing, bodyboarding or stand-up paddleboarding (SUP, dudes!) couldn’t be more spectacular than at Benone Strand. Kids’ surfing lessons cost around £30 for a 2-hour session which includes board and wetsuits in case you haven’t packed yours. All that sea air will make you hungry and that can only mean fish & chips and ice cream. Check out Morelli’s on Portstewart promenade, makers of award-winning ice cream since 1911.

Water, water everywhere in Fermanagh’s lakelands

For a different mode of transport on the water why not try the Hydrobikes or e-boards around Enniskillen Castle with Erne Adventures. For something a bit more leisurely, take a kayak trip to explore lovely Lough Erne and its islands with Blue Green Yonder in Enniskillen or hire a boat in the gorgeous Crom Estate and let your worries just float away. Or explore free of charge the gorges, waterfalls and woodlands of Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark’s landscape outside. This UNESCO status geopark is also home to prehistoric tombs, early Christian monasteries and Iron Age forts so there’s something for all explorers or budding Indian Joneses.  Enjoy a glorious walk around the grounds at Florence Court, eight miles outside of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh.  Pay a visit to the pretty walled garden and see if you can spot the famous Florence Court Yew, reputedly the 'parent' of all Irish yew trees. Family tickets available or National Trust members go free.

Step back in time in County Tyrone

Follow the emigrants trail at the historic Ulster American Folk Park. Start at the thatched Ulster cottages of Ulster, board the life-sized emigrant ship, help out a blacksmith, teach in the old schoolhouse or dress in period costume for a photo. Or simply relive your own childhood with a family picnic at Gortin Glen where its five-mile scenic drive or five waymarked walking trails nestled in the spectacular Sperrins are the best garnish for any sarnie. There aren’t many things that will gladden the heart more than the views or the memories you’ll have here…but a cup of tea and a treat is heading on the right track.

Magic and sparkle in County Armagh

Enjoy family walks, mountain bike trails and playparks at Gosford Forest Park - a complete adventure paradise for all the family.  Perfect for a gentle stroll and spotting some local wildlife, like the majestic red deer.  Or for something a bit more exhilarating check out the challenging trails and treks. At the Giant’s Lair and Adventure Playground in the beautiful Slieve Gullion Forest Park, a magical living storybook comes to life through a trail of intertwined fairy houses and art features. At story’s end, all ages – typically up to 11 or 12 but whatever age and ability works for you - can all have the craic in the huge adventure play park or specially designed toddler area. You can even book an expert elf who can tailor his message for kids - and grown-ups - about the local flora, fauna and legends. They also run tours all year round for different age groups like The Fairy Kingdom (age 4-7), Finn’s Magical Forest (age 6-9) and Secrets of the Forest (age 9-11) as well as a Multi-Sensory Trail for all ages and abilities. There are plenty more wonders to be discovered too at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium where they can learn how the stars sparkle and shine. They run regular shows for kids of all ages from toddlers up. A family of 5 ticket would be in the £28 region. Stellar price, that!

Forest fun and seaside sport around County Down

The team at Life Adventure Centre in Castlewellan Forest Park have a variety of both land and water based family activities for you to try.  Why not give a family Stand Up Paddle Boarding experience, family canoe or biking, a go?  Take in the beautiful surroundings on the sheltered waters of Castlewellan Lake - stay in the Castle Bay or venture along the Lake Trail, the choice is yours.  But fun is guaranteed!

At Bike Mourne, based in 3 separate locations, Castlewellan, Rostrevor and Newcastle their speciality is all things bikes.  With e-bikes, kids bikes and special seats for children, they cater for and offer a full range of family activities.  Set in dramatic mountains and forests and with stunning landscapes, this is perfect for that family day out exploring the tracks and trails!

There are so many woodland wonders to keep the kids engaged like Kilbroney Park, Crawfordsburn Country Park and Tollymore Forest Park in the Mournes foothills where they can hop over the famous stepping stones, cross ancient bridges or have a blast at the Big Deer play area. If you’re into trekking or hillwalking, don’t forget you can head into the majestic Mournes, climb the highest peak in the country - Slieve Donard – or for families with kids aged 8-15 there’s wet bouldering at Bloody Bridge where an expert guide with East Coast Adventure literally leads you up a river without a paddle…or a canoe! Just ten minutes further on, you’ll hit the 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. With any spare change left over, chances are you’ll make a bee-line for Bangor’s Pickie Fun Park or Airtastic where outdoor craic and indoor inflatable fun reign supreme.

We've developed the below map in partnership with Parenting NI to give you even more ideas for a budget family day out.  Please note that at some sites, a nominal car park charge may apply.

Free family days out

So, whether you put your hand in your pocket or not, Northern Ireland has everything to give your family a special day out. Be our guest!

Life Adventure Centre
Activity Centre
Paddling boarding on Castlewellan Lake

Whether your preference is laid back or action packed, join us at our award winning centre in the beautiful Castlewellan Forest Park amid the stunning Mourne Mountains for a host of fantastic adventure activities.

Bike Mourne
Cycle Hire & Holidays
Bike Mourne

Experience Mourne by Bike on Road, Track & Trail with our Guided & Self-Guided Bike & Electric Bike Tours and Bike & Electric Bike Hire

Mobile Team Adventure
Activity Centre
Mobile Team Adventure

Mobile Team Adventure (MTA) is an exciting and innovative company specialising in Outdoor Pursuits and Team Building based in Northern Ireland.

Lagan Valley Regional Park
Public Park
Lagan Valley Regional Park

Lagan Valley Regional Park is recognised as Northern Ireland's only Regional Park. It covers an area of 4,200 acres and extends 11 miles along both sides of the River Lagan between Stranmillis, Belfast to Union Locks, Lisburn.

The Lost City Adventure Golf
Mini Golf and Pitch and Putt
The Lost City Adventure Golf

Start your epic adventure at The Lost City Adventure Golf, Northern Ireland’s first indoor adventure golf course.

Streamvale Open Farm
Open Farm
Image shows cartons of ice-cream with a cow in a field nudging one of the cartons

Streamvale farm is nestled in the rolling hills on the edge of Belfast. The family farm has lots to offer including baby animal cuddling, lots of fantastic play areas and many live shows and demonstrations for all the family to enjoy.

Laganvale Farm
Open Farm
Small boy feeding goat

Laganvale Farm caters for all weather offering a super indoor soft play centre which can also be combined with our outdoor attractions down on the farm! Animals, pedal tractors and go-karts, sandpit fun and outdoor play for a great day out.

The Jungle NI
Activity Centre
The Jungle NI

Nestled in an enchanting woodland in the very heart of Northern Ireland, just 45 minutes from Belfast, The Jungle is the perfect location to engage with life, and put to test your sense of daring and adventure.

Carrowmena Activity Centre
Activity Centre
Carrowmena Activity Centre

Whether you’re young or old you will make every lasting memories with your Carrowmena Experience in the great outdoors enjoying quality time with your loved ones from jumping off the Zip Line to toasting marshmallows around the Campfire… we have it all covered.

Martin McCrossan City Tours
Walking Tour
Martin McCrossan City Tours

City Walking Tour - Join your guide as they take you around key locations in and around the only intact walled city in Ireland.  Fully guided tour, which lasts approximately 1 hour. Derry Girls Tour - Follow in the footsteps of your favourite Derry Girls and wee English fella and walk the streets of Derry with a local guide.

Giant's Causeway
The National Trust
The basalt stones at the giants causeway stretch into the sea

Follow in the footsteps of giants at Northern Ireland's iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basalt columns of the Causeway landscape were left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. All visitors are encouraged to book Visitor Experience tickets online in advance of arrival onsite.

Rathlin Island
Nature and Wildlife
Rathlin Island

Amidst the rugged landscape of this isolated island, you can let your mind wander and discover a tranquility and beauty that is so unexpected.

Rathlin Ferry
Boats & Ferries
rathlin ferry

Ballycastle-Rathlin Island Sailings daily, weather permitting. 45 mins. Groups and wheelchair users by request. Booking advised.

Long Line Surf School
Surfing
Long Line Surf School

Long Line Surf School is situated on Benone Beach and Portstewart Strand which offers a wide selection of packages from Beginner to Advanced surf lessons including school Board-Riders clubs. Long Line Surf Cabin can be found on the boardwalk ...

Morelli's Portstewart
Café
Morelli's Portstewart

This bright and cheerful seafront cafe offers a clear view to the sea. As well as hot dishes, Morelli's is a long established ice cream parlour with an amazing array of exotic ices. Now fully licensed.

Hydrobikes at Enniskillen Castle
Activity Centre
Hydrobikes at Enniskillen Castle

Jump onboard our Hydrobikes with Lights for a low-impact leisurely ride around Castle Island, with your colourful bike lighting up the water and creating an eye-catching display.

Blue Green Yonder
Activity Centre
Christmas light display on Santa's Island, Castle Island in Enniskillen

Blue Green Yonder provides the adventurous spirit access to the outdoors of Fermanagh providing a range of activities from our Enniskillen base, including Canoe, Kayak and Stand-Up Paddle Board hire. We lead guided paddle tours around the Island Town of Enniskillen as well as along the rivers & lakes of Fermanagh.

Crom Estate Boat Hire
Canoeing & Kayaking
Crom Estate Boat Hire

Petrol engine boat hire, rowing boat hire, Canadian canoe hire.

Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global Geopark
Forest Parks
Old Castle Archdale Forest

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.

Florence Court
The National Trust
Florence Court

Florence Court is a truly welcoming home. The house, formerly the home of the Cole family, Earls of Enniskillen, is surrounded by a large area of parkland, garden and woodland, with breathtaking views to Benaughlin and the Cuilcagh Mountains.

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. Learn what life was like in rural Ulster, step on board the full-scale emigrant ship and enjoy craft demonstrations performed by guides in traditional costumes.

Gortin Glen Forest Park
Forest Parks
Gortin Glen Forest Park

There are over 10km of walking trails, a 6km scenic drive, wildfowl enclosure and deer enclosure and a new children's playpark to enjoy and explore.

Gosford Forest Park
Forest Parks
Family enjoy a cycle through woodlands at Gosford Park

Gosford Forest Park comprises some 240 hectares of diverse woodland and open parkland. Enjoy facilities for all including playparks, mountain bike, horse and walking trails and a pump track.

Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Adventure Playpark and Fionn's Giant Adventure
Forest Parks
Children playing around a giant book in Slieve Gullion Forest Park

Slieve Gullion is Ireland's Mountain of Mystery. The Forest Park offers walking trails, a scenic drive, an Adventure Playpark, Fionn's Giant Adventure children's story trail and Courtyard with coffee shop.

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
Observatory / Planetarium
Girl smiles at life size model of astronaut suit

Armagh Observatory and Planetarium is “the place for space”. Watch an amazing Full Dome Theatre show and explore the Universe. Immerse yourself in the latest scientific research in our exhibition area, and take a relaxing walk through our Astropark.

Kilbroney Park
Forest Parks
Kilbroney Park

Kilbroney Park Forest features riverside walks and an arboretum. There is a two-mile forest drive which showcases panoramic views over Carlingford Lough. There is also a Play Park with children's play area and tennis courts, an Information area and a café all on site.

Crawfordsburn Country Park
Public Park
a photograph of waves hitting the rocks at the shore

With tranquil walks through peaceful meadows and wooded glens and a stunning waterfall, Crawfordsburn Country Park provides a relaxing natural retreat.

Tollymore Forest Park
Forest Parks
Tollymore Forest Park

Oak wood from Tollymore Forest Park was used for the interiors of the White Star liners which included the Titanic. A walk along the Shimna River is marked by many curiosities, natural and artificial - rocky outcrops, bridges, grottos and caves.

East Coast Adventure Centre
Activity Centre
East Coast Adventure Centre

East Coast Adventure Centre - Newry & Mourne Mountain area. Water sports, Cycling, Hiking, School Activities - Family Fun - Glamping - a perfect location outside Rostrevor Village and 5 mins from Warrenpoint

Pickie Fun Park
Adventure Park / Playground
Photo of people enjoying rides on the Giant Swans pedal boats on the blue waters of the man made pond at Pickie Funpark

Enjoy a fun day out at Pickie Fun Park. Try out the 18-hole mini-golf course, giant pedal swans, Pickie Puffer train, children's play area, children's electric car track and more.

Airtastic Entertainment Centre Bangor
Indoor Play Area
Boy Bouncing in the Airtastic Inflata Park

Bounce down to Airtastic Bangor for some inflata and ninja fun or if you’re still little come and play in the new Airtastic Soft Play centre with over 300 sq.m. of engaging exploring playtime.