Stuck for ideas on keeping the family busy this summer? We’re spoilt for choice this year with a wide range of events and attractions open to enjoy with the whole family this summer, whether you’re visiting our neck of the woods for a long weekend stay at Dufferin Coaching Inn, or if you’re lucky to call Northern Ireland home! Here are our top six must-visit attractions to add to your summer bucket list…
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
Delve deep into life 100 years ago as you explore thatched cottages, farms, schools and don’t forget to get some sweets in the old sweet shop! Watch and listen to costumed visitor guides as they demonstrate traditional crafts and meet farm animals in the beautiful parkland of the Folk Museum. Then step aboard majestic steam locomotives and explore horse drawn carriages, electric trams, boats, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars in the Transport Museum (especially suitable if the weather isn’t great). A day of education and enjoyment for all the family!
Pickie Fun Park, Bangor
Have you really been to Bangor if you haven’t taken a paddle on the giant swans? At Pickie Fun Park there is something for everyone to enjoy! Families can also enjoy mini golf, a race around the track in electric carts, water zorbing or a trip to the park. Finish your trip off with a trip aboard the Pickie Puffer and an ice cream from the Pickie Café for a sweet end to an exciting day out.
Learn all about Belfast’s famous ship in Belfast’s historic shipyard! Titanic Belfast includes over nine interactive galleries with multiple dimensions to the exhibition including special effects, full-scale reconstructions and innovative interactive features. Explore the shipyard or travel to the depths of the ocean and uncover the true legend of the Titanic on the attraction’s award-winning walking tour. Complete your Titanic Experience with a visit to the world’s last remaining White Star vessel and RMS Titanic’s original tender ship – SS Nomadic. A must see for a day out in Belfast, a trip to Titanic Belfast could take as little as two hours and as long as an entire day, making it the perfect outing for a dreary summer day.
Castle Espie Wetland Centre
Get up close and personal with Ireland's largest collection of native and exotic waterbirds, bats and migrant birds whilst taking in stunning estuary views at Strangford Lough. Purchase seeds to feed our feathered friends upon arrival and venture into the secret swamp... past the wishing tree, over the gnarly wall, and into a woodland world where mossy glades, mucky marshes, tree house adventures and a swamp of dazzling green awaits. Don’t forget your binoculars!
W5 Interactive Discovery Centre
It’s raining and you don’t want to sit in the house all day? Enjoy a fun filled day at W5, with over 250 interactive exhibits and 6 themed exhibition areas for the whole family. W5 is the perfect place to go for little ones to learn new things whilst having fun! Meet Robothespian, W5’s life-sized robot, design and build structures, make patterns, and play virtual sports. Do not miss Climbit - the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland – a unique, visually elegant, three dimensional sculpture specially designed for climbing! Your kids will never want to leave! Visit the W5 shop to get some cool and unusual gifts to take home and enjoy all summer long.
Game of Thrones at Castle Ward
Did you know Game of Thrones was filmed at National Trust’s Castle Ward? Castle Ward’s historic farmyard is the location of Winterfell, the backdrop for the series pilot and much of season one. It’s also where you will find the Whispering Wood and key scenes including Robb Stark’s Camp, the Baelor battle and when Brienne confronts the Stark men. Dress up in character costume, step into the movie set and stand exactly where the characters Jon Snow, and Robb & Bran Stark stood. You’re thinking this sounds great but what is there for kids? Lots! Not only are there plenty of gorgeous mansion and garden scenes for your family to explore but the farmyard offers junior tractors for children to drive around both indoors and outdoors! For an alternative adventure, you can hire a mountain bikeas well to explore the sprawling grounds of Castle Ward.
Northern Ireland is at no shortage of exciting and inexpensive things to do for the family this summer both indoors and outdoors. And if you plan to keep it local this summer there’s always a weekend staycation at Dufferin Coaching Inn to acquaint yourself with the gorgeous local surroundings of Killyleagh!