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Top 11 Walking Picnic Spots in Northern Ireland

Posted on June 27, 2014 @ 12:42 PM in Walking

When the weather is good there’s no better way to spend time together than packing up your picnic hamper and heading outdoors for a stroll. With miles of coastlines and acres of countryside, we want to share with you our top 11 walks with perfect picnic spots across Northern Ireland.

Picnic In Northern Ireland

Portstewart Strand, Portstewart, Co. Derry~Londonderry 

Portstewart Strand Beach is the perfect spot to spend lazy summer days and take long walks into the sand dunes, which are a haven for wild flowers and butterflies. Explore the dune system and waymarked nature trail or visit the Barmouth bird hide for fantastic bird watching.

Mourne Coastal Path, Newcastle, Co. Down

For those staying in Newcastle for the weekend or those escaping just for a day we suggest you take a short walk along the Mourne Coastal Path which stretches for a mile and a half south of the historic site of Bloody Bridge. Newly installed picnic benches and brand new public art at Bloody Bridge Car Park make this a fantastic location for an alfresco lunch. For those looking to walk a bit further from this location you can follow the Bloody Bridge trail along the intriguingly named Brandy Pad, an ancient smugglers’ route from the shore to the heart of the mountains.

Florence Court, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh 

Offering miles of glorious walks through parkland, gardens and the surrounding forest there are plenty of reasons to enjoy a picnic at Florence Court. Take a stroll into the forest to visit the blacksmith’s forge and carpenters workshop before relaxing with a picnic in the peaceful gardens whilst enjoying the mountain scenery.

Botanic Gardens, Belfast, Co. Antrim 

Take some time to stop and smell the roses in the extensive Rose Garden within Belfast's Botanic Gardens where it’s easy to forget that you are in still in Belfast city centre. Home to one of the earliest examples of cast iron glass houses enjoy sitting on the grass eating your picnic in front of The Palm House. For lots more park walks in the city centre download the Belfast Online Walking Guide for some more great ideas.

Crawfordsburn Country Park, Crawfordsburn, Co. Down 

Crawfordsburn Country Park and Coastal Walk offers the best of both with woodland walk and a walk beside the sea. Amble through a hay meadow, which is full of wild flowers in the summer months before enjoying the sandy beaches where you can get out the picnic basket for a treat or two! For those interested in learning something about the history of the area you can spend some time exploring Grey Point Fort a restored coastal battery.

Rowallane Gardens, Saintfield, Co. Down 

Rowallane just a relatively short drive from Belfast, is a beautiful setting for a walk and picnic. Where you can enjoy the many impressive flowers which are on full display in the summer months. Bring your picnic blanket and enjoy one of the many hidden corners of the garden. There are also picnic benches around the grounds so whether you bring your own or pick up a light lunch from the onsite cafe you’ll be sure to find a spot to enjoy.

Picnic Spots Northern Ireland

Lough Navar Forest, Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh

Take time out at Lough Navar Forest Walk next to the Lough or among the trees in the forest. There are many points of interest within the forest including lakes, viewpoints and places of historical interest where you can stop along the way.

Cave Hill, Belfast, Co. Antrim

Enjoy a walk with a view from the summit of Cave Hill you can sit and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views and munch on a well deserved sandwich or two. On a clear day you can see the city of Belfast and beyond to the Mournes, Strangford Lough and even Scotland.

Castle Ward Estate, Strangford, Co. Down

With 820 acres of landscaped grounds Castle Ward estate is a great escape away from the hustle and bustle. Take a walk through the woodland, explore the old castle ruins or take a leisurely stroll along the Shore Trail. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to putting down your picnic rug or take advantage of the many picnic and BBQ areas. For those couples looking get away for the night they also have Camping Pods perfect for a spot of Glamping.

Gortmore to Hells Hole, Binevenagh, Co. Derry~Londonderry

A lovely walk is a lovely walk along the cliff top of Binevenagh which overlooks the spectacular Benone Beach, Lough Foyle and the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal. The walk begins and ends at fortmore viewing point where picnic facilities can be found along with some interesting stone characters.  

Castle Archdale, Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh

With a variety of walks along the Lough shore of Castle Archdale enjoy a picnic by the famous Lough Erne, on the tables overlooking the marina, in the wildflower meadow or amongst the butterflies in the butterfly garden.

So what are you waiting for? Make some sandwiches, pack the picnic blanket in the car and get ready to enjoy the fantastic walks during the summer months! Click on the links above for further information on the walks including downloadable maps and route descriptions.

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

1 comment has been posted in reply to this article

Posted by Pat on June 11, 2015 @ 10:31 AM

Ballintoy, portballintrea,portrush have lovely spots too

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