One giant budget-friendly adventure park for any family

Everyone knows that the Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion area is really just one giant adventure park. There are surely few better places on earth for outdoor fun and your kids are sure to love it here. Should it rain, and that can happen on occasion in these parts, there are plenty of budget-friendly things to do indoors too.

There’s no better place to start embracing your playful spirit than Fionn's Giant Adventure at Slieve Gullion Forest Park. This place is like a magical living storybook. Elves and fairies of all ages can get stuck into the fun on the engaging story trails and wear themselves out in the huge play park, including a specially designed toddler’s area. There are plenty of opportunities to take your family on bear hunts through the woods too - if you have the nerve.

Step into the magic of Narnia

Inspired by local man C.S. Lewis’s epic tale, the Narnia Trail in Kilbroney Forest Park brings all the family into the magical world of Aslan and the Pensevies. This gentle trail is short enough for tiny feet and colourful enough to keep little minds engaged throughout. Keep an eye out for the white witch.

From here you should head to the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, where Tollymore Forest Park has a range of outdoor activities that are sure to keep the kids in tip top form. Hop over the famous stepping stones, across ancient bridges or let them investigate the giant deer, castle turrets and folly towers in the Big Deer play area.

The Peace Maze at Castlewellan Forest Park is one of the world's largest permanent hedge mazes. Planted in 2000 with community involvement, visitors can attempt to solve their way to the centre of the maze and mark their achievement with a celebratory cheer. Just beside the maze, the Animal Wood play area is designed for kids aged four to eleven and there’s plenty here to keep them happy. The climbing wall, the fireman’s pole and rope-bridge to the hollow tree stump slide are just some of the cool things on offer. Watch them run wild while you sit back and enjoy a coffee from the nearby coffee trailer.

Build castles near Newcastle and hang out with the stone age kids

In the lovely seaside town of Newcastle, you can walk the promenade or skim stones on the beach before enjoying dinner in one of the many great value bars or restaurants. Kids sometimes eat free in some local bars or restaurants so it might not be a bad place to dock for an evening meal. If it’s a bit more beach and sea you’re after, the boarded walkways of the Murlough National Nature Reserve take you through the dunes and down to the wonderful Murlough Beach.  Less than two miles in length, it's the perfect spot to give the kids a little bit of leeway with their buckets and spades while you go for a brisk walk along the shore and take in the air.

Home of the tallest megalith in Ireland, Delamont Country Park near Downpatrick has developed somewhat since the days that families first settled in these parts. We’re pretty sure that the kids would have loved the adventure playground that modern visitors can now enjoy. They’d more than likely run a mile if they saw the miniature railway that today’s kids can trundle around the park in, but they’d certainly know the best places to hide in the woods. After your train has run out of puff and you’ve had enough of the playground, the beauty of those woods is well worth exploring with all the family in tow.

Now we did mention that it has been known, on occasion, to rain, only now and then, in these parts. Fear not, we have that covered. History buffs should check out the Down County Museum which takes you through 9,000 years of the county’s history and reveals some of the tales that this place has to tell about its past as a county jail. Before visiting, it’s worth checking in to see if any of the excellent family days are on. Above in Newry, families always get an enthusiastic welcome at Newry and Mourne Museum at Bagenal’s Castle where you can find out more about the town itself and some of the local folklore of the Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion.

The Mourne Mountains & Ring of Gullion might be the greatest place on earth for families to visit, and it's a bonus that having fun here doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

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

The Narnia Trail
Walking & Hiking
The Narnia Trail

The famous writer, C S Lewis, as a young boy, spent much holiday time in the Mournes and Rostrevor in particular, allowing him to imagine, dream and wonder, and inspiring his creation of the magical world of Narnia.

Tollymore Forest Park
Forest Parks
Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park has panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea at Newcastle and is open to the public all year. Tollymore Forest covers an area of almost 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

Castlewellan Forest Park
Forest Parks
View of the Annesley Walk in Castlewellan Forest Park

Located on Forest Park View, Castlewellan, County Down, in a dramatic setting of mountains and sea, Castlewellan Forest Park has one of the most outstanding tree and shrub collections in Europe. The beauty, vigour and perfect shape of the trees in the National Arboretum attract tree enthusiasts from around the world.

Murlough Beach
Murlough Beach

This 5 mile stretch of golden sands is still the essence of the resort and is hugely popular for swimming, sunbathing and other forms of recreation.

Delamont Miniature Railway
Miniature train in Delamont Country Park with people

The Delamont Miniature Railway first opened in 1999.  It is Ireland's longest miniature railway.  Experience the Park's beauty on this unique miniature train.

Newry and Mourne Museum, Bagenal's Castle
Visitor Centres & Museums
Vistoria Bakery Newry and Mourne Museum, Newry

Bagenal’s Castle located in historic Newry is a 16th century fortified house and adjoining 19th Century warehouse, and has been sympathetically restored to house Newry & Mourne Museum and Newry Visitor Information Centre.

Down County Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
Entrance to Down County Museum, Downpatrick

Down County Museum is located in the old county Gaol of Down. It houses fascinating exhibitions on the history of Down as well as restored cells with life-size figures of prisoners and their gaolers.