There’s still a whole month of summer left to enjoy – plenty of time to have a few laughs with the kids and create some memories before they go back to school. Northern Ireland may be a relatively ‘wee’ place but one thing is for sure there is definitely no shortage of outdoor adventure to be had. With so much to experience on your doorstep why not have a holiday or mini break at home this summer?
Whether you want to get back to nature with a camping trip, or prefer to return to a little bit of luxury after a day in the great outdoors there’s something for everyone…
Camping at Castlewellan There is enough adventure in Castlewellan Forest Park to fill a weekend away. The walks and brand new mountain bike trails around the lake will give kids of all ages the freedom to explore. Once you’ve explored the lakes shore then LIFE can get you out on the water. This multi-activity centre not only offers canoeing and kayaking hire so you can explore Castlewellan lake but kids (aged 8 and above) can also summit the climbing tower and hit the bull’s-eye with archery. Just next door the Mount Pleasant Trekking and Horse Riding Centre offer guided one hour treks through the park. No experience is necessary to saddle up and explore the forest. If they’re still not tired out send the kids to make their way through the Peace Maze - one of the world's largest permanent hedge mazes. With so much happening in the forest park you won’t want to leave - luckily with camping facilities onsite you won’t have too!
Adventure packages on the North Coast
If a Hotel break is more your style then head to the North Coast where you can get the best of both – adventure during the day and relaxation at night.
Marine Hotel Family Stay Package The newly reopened Marine Hotel in Ballycastle is offering a fantastic 2 night mid week package for two adults and up to 3 children sharing. Enjoy a delicious dinner in Marconi’s Bar & Bistro, then refuel at breakfast before heading to Sheans Horse Farm to experience the freedom, fun and buzz of horse riding on the 400 acre McKinley family farm in the beautiful North Antrim Hills.
Continue the fun at Ballycastle harbour, just a 5 minute walk away and the starting point for Aquaholics’ Rathlin Island and Carrick a Rede Sea Safari. The only way to see the North Coast in all its glory this two hour high speed boat ride will let you experience the spectacular coastline from a whole new perspective.
Roe Park Adventure Breaks Experience the fun of the outdoors during the day before heading back to 4 star luxury in the evening at Roe Roe Park Resort in Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry. Each package includes an adventure activity, two-nights accommodation, breakfast, one four-course dinner in a choice of two restaurants and full access to the indoor heated leisure pool, steam room, Jacuzzi and sauna. Glide along on your very own Segway at Benone Beach, learn how to ride the waves on a surf lesson or take part in a half or full day of activities including climbing, archery and canoeing – all are guaranteed to add some excitement to your holiday away with the kids.
Family Fun in Fermanagh
Blessingbourne Estate The perfect place to introduce you and your family to the exhilarating world of mountain biking. Situated in the stunning Blessingbourne Estate, Fivemiletown, Co.Tyrone, their family friendly mountain biking trail meanders through beautiful woodlands. Or for the more adventurous family members have a go at honing your skills on the pump track. Check out this video to see the trails in action.
With apartments onsite grouped around a 300 year old courtyard beside the stately main Manor House this accommodation is sure to keep everyone happy. The kids can enjoy the freedom of the 550 acres of beautiful grounds while mum and dad sit back and relax on the edge of the Fermanagh Lakelands. Pets are welcome too so you don’t have to leave any family members behind!
Trannish Island Bothy If you want something a bit more adventurous then take to the waters of Lough Erne for a canoeing camping adventure. Trannish Island Bothy is a great base for a mini adventure break around Upper Lough Erne. The island features an old stone cottage that has recently been totally revamped. With a cosy wood burning stove, toilets, showers and camping platforms to sleep on, this is definitely a bit more luxurious than your average camp site. Trannish Island has BBQ facilities for dad, spectacular scenery, Flora and Fauna for mum and the children can go on a fossil hunt, collect wood for a fire or explore the island underfoot.
Whatever you choose, enjoy your family short break in Northern Ireland!
Sarah Nelson Marketing Executive
Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in the Summer of 2011. Despite having studied in St Andrews, Scotland for the past four years she still can't hit a golf ball however enjoys walks in the Mournes and adventures on the water.