Have a Glamping Activity Holiday in Northern Ireland

Posted on July 24, 2014 @ 11:39 AM in Adventure

With so many fantastic glamping sites just across the border, Northern Ireland is a must visit this summer for your chance to get away from it all without breaking the bank.  Whether you want to roadtrip towards an action packed weekend with your mates or enjoy a family short break in the outdoors with some added comfort Northern Ireland is the place to be. From the stunning coastline of the North Coast, to the famous lakelands of Fermanagh, beautiful beaches, sunsets and stargazing await you on your glamping adventure!      

‘Glamping’ or glamorous camping combines all the fun of camping with some of the amenities of a home so you can enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors with the added bonus of staying dry. Give yourself more time to relax and enjoy the fantastic outdoor activities Northern Ireland has to offer. 

With lots of outdoor activity providers located beside the glamping sites adventure will be right on your doorstep so you can have a hassle free break and make it as action packed or as chilled out as you want.  Here are some of our top suggestions of glamping spots in Northern Ireland.

Glamping in Strangford

Camping Pods, Castle Ward, Strangford

These four eco friendly continental camping pods can be found tucked away in the stunning 820 acre demesne of Castle Ward. Offering standard and family camping these pods are ideal for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. Just outside your doorstop you will have over 12km of off road cycling and walking trails to explore. Take advantage of onsite activity provider Clearsky’s package which includes glamping with bike hire and archery or canoe hire so you can explore the trails and tour round some of the film locations for Game of Thrones. 

Glamping in Co. Fermanagh

Trannish Island Bothy, Upper Lough Erne

Trannish Island is a great base for those on an adventure break following the Lough Erne Canoe Trail. With a cosy wood burning stove, camping platforms to sleep on, toilets and solar powered showers, the Bothy avoids the hassle of carrying and setting up tents. Only accessible by canoe you are definitely in for a wild experience and with the opportunity to book the Bothy for exclusive use you can even have the entire island to yourself – eat your heart out Richard Branson!

Situated just a paddle away is Ireland’s largest multi-activity centre; Share Discovery Village, where you can hire a range of canoes or kayaks to access the island or take part in one of their many exciting outdoor activities available throughout the year.

Glamping in Co. Derry~Londonderry


Glamping Pods, JungleNI, Magherafelt

Ever wondered what it would be like to camp out in a Jungle?! Kick back, relax and enjoy the benefits of your very own Glamping pod and outdoor patio area equipped with a camp fire and picnic benches within the grounds of JungleNI. Each pod has access to its own BBQ area as well as having electric heating and is double glazed ensuring you are kept cosy no matter what the weather! These purpose built huts sleep up to 8 people. If you really want to ‘Glamp’ it up after a day of outdoor activities roll downhill in the Zorbs or take on the Jungle's treetop High Ropes course before unwinding in the outdoor hot tub!

Camping Cocoon’s, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady

Enjoy staying in one of Carrowmena’s eco friendly ‘Camping Cocoons’ ideal for those looking to get away from it all. Located in the Binevanagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty you can relax in the tranquility of the outdoors. Each Cocoon sleeps up to 6 people with discounts available for those taking part in the centres outdoor activities  including canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and orienteering.

Camping Pods, Benone Tourist Complex, Benone

These custom made lodges are fully insulated and can sleep up to 6 people. Also included is a kettle, heater, lighting and each lodge has its own picnic table. Just a short walk from the campsite is Benone Beach which hosts a number of action packed outdoor activities. How about taking a surf lesson or hiring a surf board from Long Line Surf School? You can also give Stand up Paddleboaring (SUP) a go with Long Line Water Trails. For those looking to stay on dry land why not explore the beach on a Segway with Segway Express?

Glamping in the North Coast

Enjoy the stunning coastal scenery of the North Coast like never before by taking part in one of the many outdoor activities in the area.  Catch a wave with Troggs Surf School in Portrush, go kayaking along the coast with Simply Sea Kayak, take a leap from the cliffs coasteering with Xplore Outdoors or try scuba diving with Aquaholics.  For those keen to see this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from a different angle book onto a sea safari with Aquaholics departing from Portstewart harbour or hop aboard Portrush Sea Tour’s  boat for trips departing daily from Portrush harbour.

Camping Cabins & Geo Domes, Blair's Caravan Park, Portrush 

Just a short drive away from all of the above activities, sit out under the stars outside your very own camping cabin or alternatively enjoy all the comforts of Ireland’s first Geo Dome

Hit the Road

Create your own adventure with Bunk Campers whose campervan rental service is ideal for couples, families and groups of friends looking for an action packed, enjoyable short break experience. Most vans come with fully functional heating, cooking facilities, iPod connectivity, and converted bed space. 

With the freedom of four wheels to take you anywhere for an adventure check out our top tips for activities in the North Coast and Mournes.

So what are you waiting for?! Happy Glamping!

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Executive

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

Glamping Adventures in Northern Ireland

Posted on July 9, 2014 @ 5:35 PM in Adventure

Whether you’re looking for an action packed weekend with your mates or a short break away with the kids then Glamping in Northern Ireland is a must this summer!

‘Glamping’ or glamorous camping combines all the fun of camping with some of the amenities of a home so you can enjoy the tranquility of the outdoors with the added bonus of staying dry. Give yourself more time to relax and enjoy the fantastic outdoor activities Northern Ireland has to offer. 

With lots of outdoor activity providers located beside the glamping sites you won’t have a chance to get bored. So whether you are looking to have some fun with your mates or spend some quality time with the kids then a glamping adventure break in Northern Ireland is the perfect choice.

Here are some of our top suggestions of glamping spots in Northern Ireland:

The Jungle NI

Derry~Londonderry

Glamping Pods, JungleNI, Magherafelt

Ever wondered what it would be like to camp out in a Jungle?! Kick back, relax and enjoy the benefits of your very own Glamping pod and outdoor patio area equipped with a camp fire and picnic benches within the grounds of JungleNI. Each pod has access to its own BBQ area as well as having electric heating and is double glazed ensuring you are kept cosy no matter what the weather! These purpose built huts sleep up to 8 people. If you really want to ‘Glamp’ it up after a day of outdoor activities rolling downhill in the Zorbs or taking on the Jungle's High Ropes course unwind in the outdoor hot tub!

Camping Pods, Benone Tourist Complex

These custom made lodges are fully insulated and can sleep up to 6 people, with two sets of bunk beds, a single bed and an extra mattress. Also included is a kettle, heater, lighting and each lodge has its own picnic table. Just a short walk from the campsite is Benone Beach which hosts a number of action packed outdoor activities! How about taking a surf lesson or hiring a surf board from Long Line Surf School? You can also give Stand up Paddleboaring (SUP) a go with Long Line Water Trails. For those looking to stay on dry land how about exploring the beach on a Segway with Segway Express?

Glamping Northern Ireland

Camping Cocoon’s, Carrowmena

Enjoy staying in one of Carrowmena’s eco friendly ‘Camping Cocoons’ ideal for those looking to get away from it all. Located in the Binevanagh Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty you can relax in the tranquillity of the outdoors afforded by this glamping spots location. Each Cocoon sleeps up to 6 people with discounts available for those taking part in the centres outdoor activities which include canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and orienteering.

Fermanagh

Trannish Island Bothy, Upper Lough Erne

Trannish Island is a great base for those on an adventure break following the Lough Erne Canoe Trail. With a cosy wood burning stove, camping platforms to sleep on, toilets and solar powered showers, the Bothy avoids the hassle of carrying and setting up tents. Only accessible by canoe you are definitely in for a wild experience and with the opportunity to book the Bothy for exclusive use you can even have the entire island to yourself – eat your heart out Richard Branson!

Situated just a paddle away is Ireland’s largest multi-activity centre; Share Discovery Village, where you can hire a range of canoes or kayaks to access the island or take part in one of their many exciting outdoor activities available throughout the year.

Trannish Island Bothy

Strangford

Camping Pods, Castle Ward

These four eco friendly continental camping pods can be found tucked away in the stunning 820 acre demesne of Castle Ward. Offering standard and family camping these pods are ideal for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle. Just outside your doorstop you will have over 12km of off road cycling and walking trails to explore. This package includes: Bike hire so you can explore the trails and tour round some of the film locations for Game of Thrones. Alternatively you can book the pods separately and choose from a range of activities including canoeing, kayaking, archery and Sea Safari's from Clearksy Activity Centre based onsite. 

North Coast

There are lots of outdoor activities in this area.  Catch a wave with Troggs Surf School in Portrush, go kayaking along the coast with Simply Sea Kayak, take a leap from the cliffs coasteering with Xplore Outdoors or try scuba diving with Aquaholics.  All these activities and more take place just a short walk or drive from the popular campsites. For those keen to see this area of Outstanding Natural Beauty from a different angle book onto a sea safari with Aquaholics departing from Portstewart harbour or hop aboard Portrush Sea Tour’s boat for trips departing daily from Portrush harbour.

Camping Cabins & Geo Domes, Blair's Caravan Park, Portrush 

Sit out under the stars outside your very own camping cabin alternatively enjoy all the comforts of Ireland’s first Geo Dome! Both are able to accommodate a family of 5 the cabins are in an ideal location for those looking to explore all that the North Coast has to offer, from stunning beaches to cliff top walks this is the ideal short break holiday location in Northern Ireland.

Bunk Campers

Create your own adventure with Bunk Campers whose campervan rental service is ideal for couples, families and groups of friends looking for an action packed, enjoyable short break experience. Most vans come with fully functional heating, cooking facilities, iPod connectivity, and converted bed space and in some cases even shower and toilet facilities. 

With the freedom of four wheels to take you anywhere for an adventure check out our top tips for activities in the North Coast and Mournes where you can surf the waves on the many beautiful beaches, travel up mountainous rivers on a wet bouldering session, or take in the views whilst having a go rock climbing.

Camping Northern Ireland
So what are you waiting for?! Happy Glamping!
Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She is interested to see if marketing outdoor activities on a daily basis and being surrounded by sporty colleagues rubs off, and stirs up a love for the outdoors (once she conquers her fear of heights of course!).

Top Summer Schemes in Northern Ireland 2014

Posted on June 4, 2014 @ 2:28 PM in Adventure

With only a couple of weeks to go until the school holidays begin you may be starting to stress about how you are going to keep the kids entertained this summer...The good news is there are lots of fantastic outdoor activity summer schemes happening across Northern Ireland over July and August that are sure to keep them out of mischief!

A great way of making new friends, learning new skills and most importantly getting out of the house and having fun in the great outdoors, the kids are sure to make some great memories and have lots of laughs this summer. With tones of outdoor summer schemes to choose from finding the right activity and date shouldn’t be a problem with many schemes available to book by the day and residential options also available.  With all of the summer schemes listed below taking place with accredited providers you can rest easy knowing your kids are in safe hands and no doubt having a ball!   

Summer Schemes Northern Ireland

Here is a list of some of the top summer schemes taking place in Northern Ireland over the school holidays:

Belfast Summer Schemes

Belfast Activity Centre, Barnett Demesne, Malone Rd

30th June – 22nd August

Set in the heart of the Lagan Valley Regional Park, Belfast Activity Centre is the perfect setting for the kids to experience the great outdoors just minutes from the city centre.  Two multia-ctivity summer schemes are available one for ages 8-11 and one for ages 12-16.  The kids will get to explore the centre’s artificial cave, take on their high ropes challenges and complete team games.  For those who love the water the centre is also running a paddling scheme in association with Belfast Kayak Academy on the River Lagan. 

Mobile Team Adventure, Ardnavalley

21st July – 21st August

Also just mintues from the city centre, Mobile Team Adventure’s summer scheme is jam packed with fun activities from canoeing and kayaking to water games and gorge walking.  The kids will be divided into two age groups; 9-15 years and 5-8 years to make sure they get the most out of these fantastic activities.  They are also running an Overnight Camp consisting of two overnight stays in a tent and three days of fun outdoor activities for a truly wild time!

Bryson LaganSports, Ravenhill Rd, Belfast

28th July - 22nd August

Running over 4 weeks starting on Monday 28th July this week of adventure activities in Belfast is perfectly situated for parents working in the city centre - drop the kids off and let them have a laugh with kids their own age.  From water zorbing on the Lagan to canoeing, archery and campcraft there will be plenty to keep them busy and out of mischief this summer as they learn and have fun with fully qualified instructors.     

Strangford Summer Schemes

Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward

28th July – 1st August & 4th – 8th August 

Set in the grounds of the stunning Castle Ward Estate this is one summer scheme that promises to send the kids back tired! Activities range from climbing and pier jumping to canoeing, archery and mountainbiking with the week concluding with a family BBQ.  Don’t panic if you don’t have time to drop them off, Clearsky are running a free shuttle bus service from Newcastle, Strangford and Downpatrick each day – we have a feeling this is one bus they won’t be late for in the morning! Suitable for those aged 8-15yrs old.

Fermanagh Summer Schemes

Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea

30th June – 22nd August

Based on the shores of Lough Erne Share are offering no less than 15 summer schemes with week long skills development courses in sailing, canoeing, lifesaving, windsurfing and mountain biking.  The kids will not only have a great time but also receive a recognised qualification at the end of the week.  Alternatively if they can’t decide which one to choose then there are also multi-activity weeks with a little taste of everything.  The courses take place Monday to Friday and are suitable for 8-16 year olds.

For those who can’t get enough of the action they are also running their annual residential adventure camp 10th – 17th August.  Suitable for 10-14 year olds and 15-18 year olds the camps include morning, afternoon and evening activities, food, accommodation and 24 hr supervision. 

Northern Ireland Summer Schemes

Mourne Summer Schemes

Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan Forest Park

7th July – 22nd August

Life’s Adventure Summer Camp runs Monday to Friday throughout July and August for age groups ranging from 8 to 14 year olds.  With the aim of giving every participant the opportunity to have new experiences, make new friends, learn new 'Life' skills and have an awesome time doing so. Their summer camps will involve a range of activities including survival skills, canoeing, archery, wet bouldering, raft building and team games.

East Coast Adventure Centre, Rostrevor

1st July – 30th August

Let the kids experience a real adventure on a week long residential or send them to the day camp and drop them off on your way to work and hear all about their action packed day on the way home.  Both day and residential camps will run throughout July and August with camps available for all skill levels and ages from little Indians (8-10 years) to youth camps for 14-16 year olds.

Ocean Youth Trust Ireland, Castlewellan

1st June – 31st August

A great idea for the older ones (14-19 year olds) this adventure camp will take place in Castlewellan Forest Park where the Ocean Youth Trust will set up their amazing teepees for group work and cooking.   During the day participants will sail on Castlewellan Lake working towards their RYA level 1 and 2 in dinghy sailing before returning to camp to light a fire under the stars and have a laugh with a few games before bedtime.  

North Coast Summer Schemes

Xplore Outdoors, Portrush

14th-16th July

The kids will enjoy 3 fun filled days of action which will include activities such as coasteering, body boarding, rock climbing, archery, kayaking and beach games.  Based on the stunning North Coast there will be lots of time spent on the beautiful beaches and shores with plenty of fresh air for everyone!

Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach, Limavady

1st July – 31st August

Sure to be an experience the children will remember forever, they’ll get to have 2 hours of fun on the beach everyday whilst learning about the sport, culture and safety aspects of surfing. Running throughout July and August the lessons are open to any child no matter what level of surfing they may be at with qualified surf instructors and life guards on hand at all times.

If two hours is not enough then send them on one of the Kids Big Day Out events. Surfing in the morning, Packed Lunch on the grass (Not Provided) Beach Games, Treasure Trail and then swimming in the sea with lifeguard supervision in the afternoon.  You’ll get a care free day to yourself as the kids have fun on the beach. 

Latest comment posted by OutdoorNI on June 5, 2014 @ 10:15 AM

Hi Daria, Summer Schemes hosted by activity providers are our specialty. All of the summer schemes listed in the blog were taken from OutdoorNI.com which currently doesn't have any details of ... Read more >

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Executive

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She is interested to see if marketing outdoor activities on a daily basis and being surrounded by sporty colleagues rubs off, and stirs up a love for the outdoors (once she conquers her fear of heights of course!).

Cable Wakeboarding in Belfast – Have an Urban Adventure!

Posted on May 15, 2014 @ 3:07 PM in Adventure

Living in Belfast I always thought any adventures on the water were restricted to a trip to the North Coast, Fermanagh Lakelands or Strangford Lough however with Cable and Wake setting up a wakeboarding site in possibly one of the coolest locations in Belfast, at the end of the famous Titanic Slipway, it turns out you can get your watersports fix right in the heart of the city. 

When the opportunity came up to head to Cable and Wake I and my colleague Philip jumped at the chance.  Keen beans we were ready to become fully fledged wakeboarders and bring back tales of glory of our ‘sick’ moves to the office but secretly we were really thinking are we even going to be able to get up on our skis?!  

Cable skiing or wakeboarding is a way to water ski or wakeboard, in which the skier's rope and handle are pulled by an electrically-driven cable, instead of a motorboat. The only site in Northern Ireland Cable and Wake was also home to the inaugural All-Ireland Cable Wakeboarding Championships in 2013.

(Clockwise from top; me getting suited and booted; Johnny and Philip outside Cable and Wake HQ; Johnny on the controls with Titanic Studios in the background; Me ready to get going!)

Walking past the iconic Titanic Building we arrived to Cable and Wake’s pimped out trailer at the end of the slipway where Johnny and Samantha proud owners and accomplished wakeboarders were ready to welcome us.  Having messed around on the water-skis in my teens I knew it would be fun but wondered how different it would be to being behind a boat.  

Admittedly it wasn’t the warmest of days however we were soon kitted out in head to toe neoprene which kept us toasty the entire session.  Ready to rock Johnny took us through a dry run on land to get to grips with the basics and learn the dos and don’t’s of 'Wakeboarding 101'. A member of the Irish Wakeboard Team it was safe to say we were getting coached by the best.  As this was our first time on the cable we both started on water skis to get the feel with the plan of progressing to wakeboarding if we managed to not completely embarrass ourselves! 

Always the gentleman Philip insisted I should be first to hit the water – a cunning tact so he could watch my inevitable mistakes and make sure he didn’t make them himself. Once in the water the location really came to life with the Titanic Studios, home to the Game of Thrones set, iconic Harland & Wolf Cranes, and Titanic building all surrounding me. Prepared to fall on my face I started making my excuses early in order to set the bar low.  Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised (as was Philip!) to find myself up and gliding along the water first time - maybe not quite looking like a pro but up nonetheless.  A not so elegant face plant soon brought me back to reality as I came to the end of the line at which point I took a mental note to work on stopping gracefully. A ridiculous smile on my face and with cheers of enthusiasm from the guys on the dock I couldn’t wait to get going again. 

(L-R: Philip smiling for the camera; Me with my audience; Skiing on Belfast Lough)

One great thing about the cable was that since you don’t have to wait for the boat to circle around and get back into position when you purposely stop (otherwise known as falling) a lot more boarding can be fitted into the space of time making it perfect for beginners.  Johnny was in control of the cable and was able to bring it back to me so thankfully no frantic swimming was required.  Also with no noisy motorboat engines it was easier to hear instruction throughout the session as opposed to the futile shouts of ‘arms straight…ARMS STRAIGHT!’ that normally happen when behind a boat. After a few tips on my technique it was time to get going again.  Once my confidence was up Johnny was able to increase the speed of the cable. It wasn’t long before I had an audience from a passing boat tour so hopefully I provided some extra entertainment for them even if this was in the form of them laughing at me!   

As is the case for most waterskiing or wakeboarding beginner lessons the session lasted fifteen minutes on the water however both Philip and I were pleasantly surprised by what we managed to accomplish in a relatively short space of time with his first go also a success.  Although you don’t need a group to book it was great going with someone else as you could watch and take any tips on board for yourself from the docks as well as acting as official photographer.  I couldn’t recommend the experience more for anyone wanting to do something completely different in the city or for any water sports fans who don’t have access to a speed boat for a tow.  We both can’t wait to get back down to Cable and Wake to progress to the wakeboard.  Although 360 flips might elude us for a while the cable really comes into its own for those wanting to get more air to try new tricks and perfect technique. 

Once changed and saying our goodbyes Samantha and Johnny informed us the bid is on to get cable wakeboarding into the Olympics.  2024 here we come…That should be enough time for us to qualify, right Philip?!

(How it should be done!)

Activity Provider:
Cable and Wake

+44(0)7808966163

info@cableandwake.com

www.cableandwake.com

Course:
Sarah attended the ‘Have a Go’ Cable Wakeboarding at Titanic Slipways. A beginner taster session suitable for all ages from 8 years. No experience needed. Sessions are available to book all year round weather dependent.  One on one coaching sessions are also available to wakeboarders wanting to step it up a level and improve their technique.  Sessions can be booked for fifteen minutes, 30 minutes or one hour. 

Cost: £20 

Gift Vouchers for this experience are available to buy online at OutdoorNI.com

 

Latest comment posted by Samantha on May 16, 2014 @ 7:57 PM

Awesome write up Sarah! You guys did so well, hopefully see you both again soon! :) Read more >

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Executive

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

Having a Blast with the Family at Blessingbourne

Posted on May 6, 2014 @ 1:10 PM in Adventure

With word spreading not only about the fantastic mountain bike trails on the extended network of routes, but also about the exceptional accommodation on offer, the new PedalStop coffee shop at the trail head (NB limited opening hours), and the wider activities in the beautiful surrounding area Andrea and her family wasted no time in heading to the beautiful Blessingbourne estate for some fun on two wheels, two feet and four legs over the holidays!!

Here’s how she got on over on her energetic family day out…

Blessingbourne really is a family friendly place, no doubt the reason it appealed to me and so many others over the bank holiday.

The new trails provide something for every ability and age of cyclist – given the chicken runs around the new log rides, rock drops, table tops and berms. If you want a tough, technical, fast ride – you’ve got it! If you want a leisurely off-road spin in gorgeous woodland – you’ve also got it!

With word quickly spreading about the fanastic trails in such a majestic setting the self catering apartments were heavily booked, as was the new Gate Lodge cottage. Not surprisingly as all accommodation is finished to a high standard and is priced affordably for the quality and location.

The new PedalStop coffee shop at the trailhead is a work in progress, with feedback and opinions from cyclists themselves being taken on board currently to make sure the facility provides exactly what is required when the summer holidays come around. Not only can you ride the “Skinny Latte” trail on the MTB network at Blessingbourne, but with the quality Ristretto coffee being used now at the trailhead – riders will be buzzing (literally?!) about the coffee too!

Since opening, Blessingbourne’s unique feature has always been its ambience, and immense hospitality from owners Colleen and Nick. They ensure all riders, young and old, feel right at home, and they have a passion for creating a special “getaway from it all” feel.

This applies to everybody, regardless of age, cyclist or non-cyclist. If two wheels aren’t your thing, then there are walking trails for two feet, and equestrian trails for 4 legs! Colleen’s gorgeous and charismatic bay horse “Toyboy” can often be seen out around the trails.

So whether a day trip, or overnight stay, get down to Blessingbourne – where all sorts of “horseplay” is guaranteed!

Gift Vouchers are available to purchase for mountain bike hire including a well derserved traybake and coffee to enjoy after your ride.

Andrea Harrower
Andrea Harrower  The Belles

Eternal adventure seeker.... A sports enthusiast, who competes at a high level but who has as much passion for encouraging other females and kids into the great outdoors. Along with 3 other like-minded girls she founded The Belles in 2009!

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