Northern Ireland is a hub for a variety of activities, with plenty of different communities set up across the country to help you get started.
Whether you’re looking to take up a different hobby for the new year or are just interested in trying something you’ve been wanting to do for a while, it’s the perfect time to get your teeth stuck into a new activity.
Regardless of if you’re sporty, crafty, fancy something high activity or prefer a more serene hobby, there is something for everyone to try and enjoy.
Here are some of the best unique hobbies and activities to undertake as a beginner.
1. Rock climbing
Rock climbing is an adrenaline-powered sport in which participants climb up, across or down natural rock formations, with the goal being reaching the summit or endpoint of a predefined route without falling. A demanding task both physically and mentally, rock climbing tests your strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control and perseverance.
The Mourne Mountains are a great spot for climbing in Northern Ireland, offering courses suitable for first timers to those with more experience who want to become more skilled in the technical aspect.
For more information on beginner climbing classes, go to tollymore.com/courses/rock-climbing
2. Bird watching
Birdwatching is the peaceful observation of birds, either as a recreational activity or a form of citizen science, having a wide range of equipment being available for use or simply watching with the naked eye.
County Antrim is home to a plethora of birds, such as ravens, buzzards, eider and turnstones, with Fair Head being a world-famous bird watching location close to the sea at the north-eastern corner of the county. Look out for a wide variety of birds, including kestrels, sparrowhawks, peregrines, choughs, twites and breeding buzzards.
Northern Ireland has produced plenty of amazing golf players, from Rory McIlroy to Graeme McDowell, providing players with local golf courses and settings in which to play.
Often associated with the older generation, golf has now been given a new lease of life, proving to be increasingly popular with new players, both young and old.
Home to over 30 courses nationwide, Northern Ireland is a great place for people to get started and continue playing the sport, practically guaranteeing you a local place to play, including Royal Portrush, host of The Open championship.
4. Water sports
Water sports include any sporting activities conducted on a body of water, from paddle boarding and surfing to canoeing and kayaking.
In the heart of the Mournes is the Life Adventure Centre, which offers a range of water activities suitable for all ages and abilities, including family kayaking experiences on Castlewellan Lake and a stand-up paddle boarding session.
Alternatively, the Aquaholics Dive Centre and Sea Safari in Portstewart offer a ‘Try a Drive’ session in the sea that is perfect for complete beginners hoping to get involved and learn more about the hobby, with several other locations also available across the country where you can enjoy undertaking independent activities by yourself or with friends.
For more information, visit visitcausewaycoastandglens.com/water-activities/watersports