9 fun places nearby perfect for a family day out when the sun is shining

Here are 9 places our readers like to go when the sun is shining for a fun-filled family day out in or near Lisburn.

Hillsborough Forest Park

Hillsborough Forest is set in the picturesque Georgian village of Hillsborough and sits just a few minutes’ walk from Hillsborough Castle, adjacent to Hillsborough Fort. The forest covers an area of almost 200 acres and has way-marked routes providing a variety of different walks to suit everyone.

Visitors can enjoy upgraded pathways throughout, stunning lakeside viewpoints with seating, additional picnic benches, extra car-parking facilities, and a state-of-the-art woodland-themed outdoor children's play area.

Visitors to Hillsborough Forest Park can enjoy upgraded pathways throughout, stunning lakeside viewpoints with seating, additional picnic benches, extra car-parking facilities, and a state-of-the-art woodland-themed outdoor children's play area - all sure to keep the family entertained on a sunny day

The whole of the lake area is a forest wildlife sanctuary and is home to a wide variety of birds and animals, including over-wintering waterfowl, especially swans and several varieties of duck.

After your walk, families with littles ones are sure to enjoy some well-earned refreshments at Percy’s Coffee in the carpark or in one of Hillsborough's excellent cafes or restaurants.

Laganvale Farm

Laganvale Farm is located in the beautiful Lagan Valley Regional Park, just outside Belfast and Lisburn.

Hillsborough Forest Park is popular amongst families thanks to its parking facilities, playground, picnic benches and walks, with refreshments available from Percy’s Coffee in the carpark

They are a wholesome family farm, combining indoor play and outdoor fun.

Children and parents can visit, touch and learn about a variety of farm animals, including Limousin cattle and Kerry-Hill sheep, Alpacas, Pygmy goats, Kune Kune pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and rabbits and guinea pigs. During school holidays and weekends, visitors are able to meet the animals.

If you wish to seek shelter from the sun, the soft play indoors is fantastic, with seating and a small cafe alongside it available for any parents who fancy a refreshment while they keep a watchful eye on the children.

For a more extensive menu, the Linen Tearoom offers everything from breakfasts, light lunches, ice cream and delicious traybakes alongside friendly and inviting customer service. Visitors can come come to use the tearoom at Laganvale Farm even if not visiting the other farm attractions.

There is sure to be plenty of fun in Wallace Park this summer with lots of family events set to take place

The Lagan Towpath

The Lagan Towpath takes the walker along the river and canal system through a variety of wetland, riverside meadows and mixed woodland from Lisburn to Belfast. Home to a variety of wildlife, the canal system dates back to the late 18th century and many features still give an insight into the majestic era of the lighter – the name for the boats that originally travelled on the Lagan Canal.

The Lock Keeper's Cafe is a popular option along the way as a treat for any hungry little ones. A fine selection of traybakes, hot and cold lunches, scones, hot drinks and juices are available and are served to the picnic benches. The grass area alongside the picnic benches is great for allowing little ones to continue to burn off some energy whilst eating, or simply to serve as an overflow seating area when all of the benches are taken.

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Wallace Park is ideal for families, with an excellent children's play area and a variety of gentle walks - it should have something for everyone and offers great fun on a warm, summer's day.

During the summer there are also a number of free entry family fun events with crafts, dance, theatre, music and arts on offer as well as park runs.

Spruce Meadows Adventure Farm

Spruce Meadows Adventure Farm is located in a country setting between the city of Lisburn and the picturesque village of Hillsborough, yet only minutes from Sprucefield, the M1 motorway and the A1 carriageway.

There are plenty of activities for adventurers young and old, ranging from quad biking and archery to pony rides and pitch and putt.

The children's activity package offers great value for money at £15, and includes: junior quads, target paintball, a barrel train ride, animal feeding, bouncy castle and extra train or quad ride.

Booking activities is recommended to save any disappointment.

There is a coffee shop and self catering accommodation on site.

Mountpanther Farm Park

Mountpanther Farm Park is a family run farm park based just outside Newcastle Co. Down. Established in 2017, the family farm has something for everyone to enjoy, with animals from all over the globe ranging from cute and cuddly guinea pigs to scaly snakes and lizards, lemurs and llamas, marmoset monkeys, parrots, wallabies and meerkats.

It boasts everything from a popular bouncy pillow, a go-kart track, bouncy castles, a play village for younger children, a play park, animal feeding and cuddling and more.

Lisburn Leisure Park

For those seeking shade from the sun, Lisburn Leisure Park is a great option for keeping young children cool and entertained for the day.

Lagan Valley Leisureplex offers a great spot to cool down - children will enjoy the accelerating water slides, or relaxing on the lazy river and swimming under waterfalls for an unforgettable day out. Slides include The Space Bowl, The Master Blaster and Falling Rapids. Plus there is Aqualand interactive play area with its own slides, see-saw, water shooting bicycles and lots more for children aged 8 and under.

Families with young children of toddler age may prefer a more relaxed session where the slides remain off but you still have access to the lazy river and Aqualand. If so, when booking online, select 'Lazy River Parent/Guardian Toddler Session' from the drop down menu on the booking page. All sessions must be pre-booked.

Meanwhile, Omniplex Lisburn Cinema is a great family day out, with a selection of restaurants such as Blue Bear Grill popular amongst families due to its wide and varied menu.

Duncan's Park

A park located at Duncans Dam, Lisburn, with walking trails around the perimeter of the water. Fishing is also possible here.

A play area is also located on site.

Montalto Estate

Particularly appealing for families is the amazing natural play area at The Low Wood in the beautiful setting of Montalto Estate, Ballynahinch.

This spectacular tree house was hand-built to a bespoke design by highly skilled craftsmen on the estate. It is large enough to keep kids occupied, entertained, and active for hours, offering a range of exciting activities and areas, including a jungle bridge, a climbing tower, and rope bridges - with its famous forest floor slide.

There is also a custom-designed wooden playground suitable for all ages, including smaller children, which promises to keep younger kids entertained for hours.

Whilst you pay entry fee per person into the park and grounds of the Montalto Estate, visitors can entry into the shop and cafe free of charge.