No matter the time of year, parks provide the perfect setting for a family day out. Thankfully, Northern Ireland has no shortage of fantastic parks to discover.
We all have great memories of family days out at the local park. Walks in nature, picnics on the grass, splashing in puddles, the list goes on. Today, we’re sharing the best parks for families in Northern Ireland.
With lots of amenities to provide for the idyllic family day out, parks around Northern Ireland are a must-visit. Surrounded by stunning natural scenery, they are the perfect place to spend a relaxing weekend afternoon.
So, without further ado, here are the best parks for families in Northern Ireland.
5. Hillsborough Forest Park, Co. Down – for a picturesque walk around the lake
Located in the picturesque Georgian village of Hillsborough in County Down is Hillsborough Forest Park, one of the best parks for families in Northern Ireland.
Set on a stunning lake, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a romance novel as you wander along the stunning tree-lined paths.
This park covers an area of almost 200 acres, meaning there is plenty to discover here, making it perfect for dog-walkers or days out with young kids. There is also a brand new state-of-the-art play park that will keep the kids entertained for hours on end.
Plus, being only a two-minute walk from the nearby village means you can head for some coffee and cake or a quick bite to eat after working up an appetite during your forest walk.
Address: 22 Large Park, Hillsborough BT26 6AL
4. Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, Co. Antrim – a stunning park with great activities for kids
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is located on the outskirts of Belfast, making it the perfect urban escape. As it is not too far from the heart of the city, it is the perfect place to head for a chilled afternoon.
This historic park attracts thousands of visitors during its colourful rose week each July, which showcases the stunning flower gardens in all their glory.
For the little ones, there is also a brilliant kids’ playpark and lots of space to run around. If you want to enjoy some al fresco dining, there are also picnic benches and BBQ areas, where you can cook up a storm.
Having been awarded a Green Flag award every year from 2012 to 2021, Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is recognised as one of the best outdoor spaces in the UK.
Address: Belfast BT17 9LA
3. Gosford Forest Park, Co. Armagh – one of the best parks for families in Northern Ireland
Set in Markethill, County Armagh, Gosford Forest Park comprises over 240 acres of diverse woodland and open parkland.
Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, there are various activities for everyone to enjoy here.
From peaceful walking trails allowing you to take in your stunning surroundings to fast-paced mountain bike tracks, adventure sports, and more, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
There are playparks and climbing frames that will keep the little ones entertained. Meanwhile, there are lots of thrilling adventure activities for bigger kids.
No matter what you’re after, Gosford Forest Park is certainly one of the best parks for families in Northern Ireland. If you’re lucky, you might even spot Gosford’s red deer herd.
Address: Markethill, Armagh BT60 1GD
2. Kilbroney Forest Park, Co. Down – discover the immersive world of Narnia
Kilbroney Forest Park can be found in one of the most picturesque spots in Northern Ireland.
Set at the back of the Mourne Mountains and overlooking the breathtaking Carlingford Lough, the scenery around this area inspired C.S. Lewis as he was writing his fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia.
Today, the park has transformed to pay homage to the novel series, opening an incredible Narnia trail. Bringing this fantastical land to life, guests can enter the trail through the ‘Wardrobe Door’.
Along the way, you can encounter some of the most famous aspects of the series, including The Lamp Post, The Beaver’s House, and Aslan’s Table.
Alternatively, there are lots of scenic walking trails as well as the phenomenal Cloughmore Stone.
Address: Shore Rd, Rostrevor, Newry BT34 3EN
1. Carnfunnock Country Park, Co. Antrim – for lots of adventure activities
Set on the stunning Antrim Coast is the magnificent Carnfunnock Country Park, one of the best parks for families in Northern Ireland.
Perfect for kids of all ages, this fantastic park is home to a wide range of unique amenities. Set over almost 200 acres of land, you can discover the park’s history or participate in educational environment activities.
On-site attractions include the Ice House, Motte, Walled Garden, and Maze. Meanwhile, activities on offer range from orienteering to golf, as well as cycling trails to treasure hunts.
Address: Coast Rd, Ballygalley, Larne BT40 2QZ