Top 10 best forest parks in Northern Ireland

With so much to see and explore, forest parks are a feast for the imagination and a haven for adventurers of all ages.

From exploring forest trails to discovering hidden lakes and historic ruins, forest parks are a feast for the imagination, so here are the ten best forest parks in Northern Ireland.

Rich woodlands are dotted all over the Northern Irish countryside, so no matter where in the country you are, you are sure to find a fairytale forest park close by. 

From parks situated in the foothills of the country’s most famous mountains to stunning lakeside walks, here are the ten best forest parks in Northern Ireland.

10. Gosford Forest Park – perfect for all the family

Check out Gosford Castle.
Credit: Instagram / @rc_thru_the_lens

Gosford Forest Park in County Armagh is home to the historic Gosford Castle and comprises 240 hectares of diverse woodland and open parkland.

With plenty of facilities, including a kids play park and mobile food trucks, this is the perfect day out for all the family.

Address: Markethill, Armagh BT60 1GD

9. Hillsborough Forest Park – a quaint lakeside walk

Hillsborough Forest Park is one of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Instagram / @meggydavies

Located in County Down and close to Hillsborough Castle, the official royal residence in Northern Ireland, is Hillsborough Forest Park.

Covering 200 acres of stunning woodland surrounding a picturesque lake, this is definitely one of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.

Address: 22 Large Park, Hillsborough BT26 6AL

8. Davagh Forest Park – in the heart of the Sperrins

Davagh Forest Park is in the heart of the Sperrins.
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Just 12 miles from Cookstown in the heart of the Sperrin Mountains is Davagh Forest Park.

A haven for both walkers and mountain bikers, the rural landscape of the Sperrins takes in lush woodland and forest streams.

Address: Davagh Rd, Omagh BT79 8JH

7. Crawfordsburn Country Park – a beachside woodland

Crawfordsburn Country Park is one of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Not far from Belfast city is Crawfordsburn Country Park, which sits behind the stunning Helen’s Bay beach overlooking Belfast Lough.

This urban escape is home to an enchanting waterfall, plenty of streams, and an array of flora and fauna. With plenty of picnic benches, this is a great place for a BBQ or a picnic.

Address: 32 Bridge Rd S, Helen’s Bay, Bangor BT19 1JT

6. Castlewellan Forest Park – lots to explore

There is lots to explore in Castlewellan Forest Park.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down is a must-visit when you’re looking to spend some time in nature.

Located in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains, there is plenty to explore here, from the puzzling Peace Maze, taking a stroll around the lake, and visiting the beautiful Annesley Gardens.

Address: Castlewellan

5. Kilbroney Park – step in Narnia

Kilbroney Park is one of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Overlooking the breathtaking Carlingford Lough, which lies on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is the incredible Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor.

Known as the area that inspired much of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, a walk around this park will feel like you’ve stepped into a whole other world.

If you’re visiting with kids, make sure to check out the fantastic Narnia trail, which features a maze and several sculptures inspired by the series.

Address: Shore Rd, Rostrevor, Newry BT34 3AA

4. Carnfunnock Country Park – a County Antrim gem

Carnfunnock Country Park is perfect for the whole family.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

With a wide variety of gardens to explore, including a flower garden, butterfly garden, and scented walkway, Carnfunnock Country Park is definitely one of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.

Covering 191 hectares, this park is home to a vast array of activities and attractions for all ages, including a maze, a walled garden, and a fitness trail.

Address: Larne BT40 2QG

3. Slieve Gullion Forest Park – breathtaking views

Slieve Gullion is one of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

Slieve Gullion Forest Park is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so if you’re looking for stunning views while on your walk, then this park is the one for you.

With a number of walks for all abilities around the beautiful Ring of Gullion, kids can explore the Adventure Playpark, the Giant’s Lair in the Hawthorn Hill Forest Nature Reserve, and the various woodland trails.

Address: 89 Drumintee Rd, Meigh, Newry BT35 8SW

2. Tollymore Forest Park – at the foot of the Mournes

You need to visit Tollymore Forest Park.
Credit: Instagram / @diarmuidmccolgan

This beautiful forest park at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in Newcastle, County Down, is a must-visit for the whole family.

Some of the best trails are the Mountain and Drinns Trail, the River Trail, and Arboretum Path to see all the hidden treasures on offer here.

Address: Bryansford Rd, Newcastle BT33 0PR

1. Glenariff Forest Park – views over the Antrim coast

Glenariff tops our list of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Instagram / @crystal_peeples

Topping our list of the best forest parks in Northern Ireland is Glenariff Forest Park in County Antrim.

Some of the best things to see here include the incredible views out over the Antrim countryside as it stretches towards the Irish Sea and the breathtaking waterfalls hidden among the forest trails.

Address: Glenariffe Rd, Ballymena BT44 0QX

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