From stunning scenery to world-class attractions, there are plenty of activities to choose from.
Enjoy a walk through the expansive grounds of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, take a dip in the water on a private tour of Lough Erne with Erne Water Taxi, or pilot your own hovercraft at the Limitless Adventure Center.
The exhilaration isn’t all physical, however. Northern Ireland is alive with history and the natural world too. Try stargazing at OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory and enjoy nature at Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft & Wild Cooking.
Meanwhile, the many museums and monuments tell the extraordinary story of Northern Ireland with a unique flair, captivating visitors of all ages. Travel back in time to 2,000 years ago with a tour of an Iron Age dwelling at the Navan Center and Fort or delve into the history of Titanic Belfast.
So what are you waiting for? To help you get started, Discover Northern Ireland has put together a list of experiences to inspire you with short breaks.
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, County Down: The beautiful Hillsborough Castle Gardens, laid out from the 1760s, are a pleasure to explore and include ornamental gardens, tranquil woods, winding waterways and picturesque valleys.
From food-foraging walks to Halloween crafts, you can enjoy fall on your short family break and you can even join the Scarecrow Parade by visiting the Walled Garden at Hillsborough Castle in October to witness at a gathering of scarecrows made by local schools and community. groups in partnership with local artists. With so many famous faces in history guarding their crops, they expect a bumper crop this year! Who are you going to spot?
Erne Water Taxi’s, Co Fermanagh: If you are planning to visit Co Fermanagh, there is no better way to get around than by your own private water taxi. The whole family can travel in the comfort of the 8-seater covered boat halfway through. Best of all, there is no driving involved as you have a guide who will do it for you while helping you explore the history of Lough Erne.
New this year, the Island Discovery pontoon boat is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. Island Discovery is a 4 pod boat offering seating and tables for up to 12 passengers. This unique boat offers breathtaking panoramic views of Lough Erne and its shoreline.
OM Dark Sky Park, County Tyrone: Davagh has one of the ‘darkest skies’ on the island of Ireland, which means there is so little light pollution that there is a crystal clear view on the star constellations and the Milky Way. Perfect for stargazers and aspiring astronomers, this fully guided experience of the center will provide visitors with a unique, out of this world opportunity to encounter the night sky as it is rarely seen.
By combining the latest technology, from holographic installations and virtual reality headsets to bespoke evening audiovisual shows, visitors to the center will be able to explore the solar system, stargazing through telescopes to see the night sky. Near the ancient stone circles of Beaghmore, at the foot of the Sperrin Mountains, the observatory is at the heart of a rich landscape of considerable archaeological and cultural significance and a history that spans millennia. Which makes it the ultimate experience for a family that loves all things science.
Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft and Wild Cooking, Co Down: Private estate located in the heart of Co Down, Finnebrogue Woods is a perfect destination for exploring the great outdoors under the guidance of their Bushman. Not only can you learn to cook in nature, make baskets from the nature around you, and learn the basics of bushcraft, but Finnebrogue Woods is currently running a ‘Badger Watch’ experience. Enjoy a private viewing experience as you explore Finnebrogue Woods at night with Rob leading you through the woods to Badger Hide. Rob will help you identify our local nocturnal animals such as badgers, foxes, owls and pine martens and give you insight into their nocturnal habits! This immersive experience includes a delicious lunch in the woods.
Navan Center and Fort, County Armagh: Navan Center and Fort, located just two miles from the city of Armagh, is a place where myth and reality meet. As the former seat of kings and the first capital of Ulster, there is much to explore. Travel back 2,000 years with a visit to the Iron Age mansion where you will meet the Celts going about their daily lives and bringing history to life.
After meeting real warriors, you can learn more about the stories. The centre’s multilingual audiovisual program incorporates numerous accounts from the Ulster cycle associated with the large Navan Fort site. With archaeological evidence of the site dating back to 95 BC, knowledgeable tour guides will escort you to what is arguably one of Northern Ireland’s most famous sites, Emain Macha (Navan Fort).
For the youngest, the indoor and outdoor archeology discovery area is a must, as well as an ecological trail to really appreciate the diversity of fauna that the land has to offer.
Titanic Belfast: Titanic Belfast is a leading tourist attraction in the world and ‘must see’ on any trip to Belfast and Northern Ireland. The iconic six-story building is located in the heart of Belfast, on the historic site where the Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912. Titanic Belfast tells the story of the Titanic, from its conception in Belfast to the early 1900s , through its construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history. The self-guided Titanic experience spans nine interpretive and interactive galleries, which explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of the RMS Titanic, as well as the city and the people who made it. They have developed a thematic one-way journey through the Titanic Experience to allow visitors to distance themselves socially while ensuring that they do not miss anything!
Guests can then complete their Titanic experience with a tour of the world’s last White Star ship and RMS Titanic’s original tender ship – SS Nomadic. Walk the decks, explore the ship, and travel through over 100 years of authentic maritime and social history.
Limitless Adventure Center, Co Londonderry: Calling all thrill seekers, if you’re up for a challenge, then Limitless Adventure Center is for you. Adrenaline seekers will appreciate the range of experiences on offer. Located a few miles from the Causeway Coast Road and close to the River Foyle, Limitless Adventure Center is Northern Ireland’s only activity center offering the opportunity to pilot your own hovercraft while taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in the north coast.
Can you make it into their fastest lap ranking? The Snapper will give you the ultimate outdoor action adventure experience. Reach speeds of over 30mph as you glide over land and water tracks to beat the clock and make it into the hovercraft leaderboard. The center also offers powerturn buggies, laser tag, football golf and more. So if adventure is what you are looking for after that middle ground, this is your ultimate destination.
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