Big deer, Tollymore Forest Park, County Down

Sometimes it can be hard to entice the kids away from their tablets and out into the great outdoors.

But with giants, insects, animals the famous Gruffalo making an appearance, we bet they will love getting out in the fresh air for some family fun along these unique walk trails in Northern Ireland.

Gruffalo Trail, Colin Glen Forest Park, Belfast

Gruffalo trail, Colin Glen Forest Park

Opened in November 2015 with each character magically recreated by sculptor Andrew McIntyre, the Gruffalo Trail set out against the backdrop of a stunning forest park, this family attraction is perfect for kids and kids at heart.

Walkers at Colin Glen Forest Park can follow the Gruffalo’s footsteps along the 0.6 mile trail to meet the silly old fox, owl and snake on the way to an amazing 8 foot tall Gruffalo. 

The Giant’s Lair, Slieve Gullion Forest Park, County Armagh

Giant's lair fairy doors

A magical living storybook is brought to life along this mile long trail that is the Giant’s Lair, intertwined with fairy houses and art features, creating a childhood land with dragons, giants and fairies.

Follow in the footsteps of Flynn the mischievous fairy, drop in for a cup of dandelion tea, grab a seat at the Giant’s Table and stroll along to the Ladybird House – you are sure to fall in love with this enchanting trail in the beautiful setting of Slieve Gullion Forest Park

The Big Deer, Tollymore Forest Park, County Down

The Big Deer, Tollymore forest Park, Tollymore, Co. Down

Featuring a giant timber Fallow Dear, castle turret, folly tower and hollow tree all connected through a series of rope-bridges, tunnels, spider webs, basket swings and slide, the ‘Big Deer’ at Tollymore Forest Park is sure to keep the kids entertained.

Parents can sit back, admire the views and enjoy a picnic at the Deer tables before enjoying the four walk trails throughout the forest park. 

Animal Wood, Castlewellan Forest Park, Castlewellan, County Down 

Animal Wood, Castlewellan Forest Park, Castlewellan, Co. Down

Located beside the Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park, ‘Animal Wood’ provides lots of opportunities for playing on wild woodland animals including a badger and its den, a red squirrel and a giant spider. In addition it boasts a wooden play structure with a tower in the image of The Moorish Tower where children can enjoy the climbing wall, fireman’s pole and rope-bridge over to a hollow tree stump slide and Red Kite nest.

The forest park is also known to a 7.5 mile walk trail network featuring breath-taking views to the Mourne Mountains as well as some of the oldest and rarest existing trees in the British Isles. 

Gortin Play Sculpture , Gortin Forest Park, County Tyrone

Gortin Play Sculpture, Gortin Forest Park, Co. Tyrone

Inspired by its natural surroundings, the newly opened wooden sculpture allows the kids to engage with the forest environment through exploration and play. Standing four metres tall, the centrepiece, a family of Red Deer, reflects the Gortin Forest Park’s much loved inhabitants.

Featuring a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk, bridge and auditorium, the play sculpture is located across the stream from the main car park. A range of waymarked trails between 1-3 miles long start from the finger post in the main car park. Pack a picnic and get ready to explore!