Make giant memories for free in Northern Ireland this spring

From navigating one of Europe’s largest mazes in Castlewellan, discovering waterfalls in Navar Forest to admiring the splendour of Ardress House in Annaghmore, Northern Ireland is full of amazing adventures for the whole family to enjoy.
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Often, memories of fun-filled family day trips are a highlight of our childhood and something that we hope to create with our own children.

Thankfully, making giant memories needn’t cost the earth and, in Northern Ireland, you are never more than a small step away from a fantastic free family activity.

Discover Northern Ireland has put together the following guide to help you plan a delightful day out that won’t break the bank.

Drum Manor Forest Park.Drum Manor Forest Park.
Drum Manor Forest Park.

Kilcreggan Urban Farm, County Antrim

This relaxed community farm invites individuals and families to visit, for free, and go face to face with farm animals including geese, goats, pigs, ponies, poultry and waterfowl. Pop into the garden centre or unwind in The Dancing Goat Café and enjoy any of its delicious soups, sandwiches or sweet treats. The farm is a registered charity while the café and garden centre are social enterprises. All three facilities are run by local people with autism, learning disabilities and acquired brain injuries.

Headhunters Barber Shop and Railway Museum, County Fermanagh

Explore one of the largest collections of Irish railway memorabilia on display anywhere at this quirky barber shop and museum in Enniskillen. Start your Headhunters journey at the reconstructed booking office and experience what railway travel through Fermanagh and the border counties was like before the closure of the lines in 1957. The collection includes a range of memorabilia from three local railway companies and is perfect for railway enthusiasts.

Castlewellan Peace Maze.Castlewellan Peace Maze.
Castlewellan Peace Maze.

Castlewellan Peace Maze, County Down

One of the world's largest permanent hedge mazes, Castlewellan Peace Maze features 6,000 yew trees, many of which were planted by people from all over Northern Ireland. With a hedge length of over two miles, it’s a fun and free family adventure that should take around 40 minutes as you attempt to make your way to the peace bell in the centre. When you’ve made it safely through the maze, let the kids enjoy playing in the adjoining ‘Animal Wood’ playpark, take a stroll through Castlewellan Arboretum or around the park’s serene lake.

The Guildhall, County Derry

One of Derry~Londonderry’s most iconic landmarks, the Guildhall has been at the heart of the city’s life since 1887. Everyone is free to enter the neo-gothic, sandstone building and gaze upon its stunning stained-glass windows that feature everything from fishmongers to musicians. New interpretative panels dotted throughout the building, bring to life its many special features. Don’t miss the John Hume Peace Prize Exhibition – a special collection of world-renowned peace accolades. John Hume is the only person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the Martin Luther King Jnr Non-Violent Prize and the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize and all three awards are now proudly displayed at The Guildhall.

Ardress House, County Armagh

Immerse yourself in the apple orchards, charming woodland and riverside walks that surround Ardress House — a stunning 17th century farmhouse that was remodelled in the 18th century. Enjoy a short stroll through the forest along the Lady’s Mile walk. This National Trust property provides a glimpse of a bygone age and walks around the property can be accessed free of charge Monday to Friday. Admission charges apply to enter the house and traditional cobbled farmyard when they open on weekends.

St Patrick’s Chair and Well, County Tyrone.

Hidden among the trees in Altadaven Glen is a beautiful place that is magical any time of year! It’s said that St Patrick’s Chair and Well used to be a meeting place for druids before it was Christianised by St Patrick. The large sandstone ‘chair’ is shaped like a throne and, according to local folklore, has healing properties. The ‘well’ which has associations with St Brigid is also thought to have healing properties and is said to never run dry.

Blackslee Waterfall Walk, County Fermanagh

This 6km walk begins at Aghameelan Viewpoint and takes you on a trail through areas of mature planted aspen, conifers and willow. Along the way, see if you can spot the willow sculpture and an area of huge sandstone boulders left behind at the end of the last ice age over 13,000 years ago. As the journey nears its end, gaze in wonder at the sight and sounds of Blackslee Waterfall cascading over a 20-metre cliff before continuing its journey down an undercut rocky gorge.

Drum Manor Forest Park, County Tyrone.

Drum Manor Forest Park has something to delight in every season and is a great place to enjoy a scenic walk. Explore the Japanese garden, arboretum, ponds, and mixed woodlands. There’s a variety of waymarked trails which follow a circular route, pick the one that suits you best! There’s a lovely play park, good car parking and public toilets, as well as a wheelchair accessible area.

Kearney Village, County Down,

This traditional 19th century fishing village has been carefully restored by the National Trust. Just three miles from Portaferry, there is a great walk to the eight-acre sandy beach at Knockinelder and along the shore to Stinking Point. Once a flourishing fishing community, Kearney is now an idyllic place to unwind offering fantastic views of the Isle of Man, Mourne Mountains and Scotland. It’s also a great spot to bring a picnic – and your binoculars – and watch the birdlife.

Stormont Estate, County Antrim

Having been awarded nine green flags in a row, Stormont Estate is widely regarded as one of the best green spaces in Northern Ireland. Its home to a variety of walks, beautiful gardens, fitness and adventure trails, barbecue areas, historic buildings, monuments and — most importantly for the little ones — Mo Mowlam Play Park. With over 40 pieces of play equipment, this inclusive play park has seven themed areas and hosts a quiet hour every Sunday from 9:30am to 10:30am.

For further information on fantastic free family activities in Northern Ireland visit https://discovernorthernireland.com