NI Staycation: Have fun on water
From the Causeway Coast, the River Foyle or the Fermanagh Lakelands, Northern Ireland is home to some of the most stunning bodies of water you will find anywhere in the world.
While the weather may not always be predictable, a whole range of activities are on offer to ensure rain won’t stop play during the year of the staycation.
With experiences suitable for both adrenalin junkies and those seeking a more restful activity, it is only a small step to a giant adventure in Northern Ireland.
From paddle boarding and coasteering to coastal walks and seaweed baths, a bucket and spade really is optional for a staycation or day trip this year. Discover Northern Ireland has prepared a list of fantastic experiences to enjoy, come rain or shine:
The Gobbins Experience
Islandmagee, Co Antrim
Reopened on 1st September, the Gobbins Experience immerses you in nature - from the
all-enveloping Irish Sea winds and the dolphins dancing off the coastline, to the squawking native sea birds and the salty air as it hits your lips. Your trip, along Europe’s most dramatic walk, begins via a hole through a rock called Wise’s Eye. As waves crash below you, you make your way along narrow paths, up stairways carved into the cliff face, and through undersea tunnels. Visit www.thegobbinscliffpath.com. Adult ticket price: £20, Concessions Under 16, over 60s, students ticket price: £14.50 and Registered Carers tickets are free.
Various locations on the Causeway Coast
Coasteering in Northern Ireland is one of the fastest-growing adventure sports and a dynamic way to explore and enjoy our incredible coastline through jumping, climbing, swimming, scrambling and caving. Twenty years of sea and surf experience on the Causeway Coast, a passion for people and adventure all combine to make Causeway Coasteering sessions the ultimate in coastal exploration and excitement. Visit www.causewaycoasteering.com. Prices start from £35 per person for ‘The Wee C’ 2-hour offering.
Coastal Canters with Sheans Horse Farm
Armoy, Co Antrim
Experience this breath-taking region on a trusted Irish Cob or Irish Sport Horse and ride at some of most iconic sites along the stunning Causeway Coast. You can choose to go to Dunluce Castle, Giants Causeway, Mussenden Temple and plenty of Game of Thrones filming locations to name just a few. Sheans Horse Farm provides beach rides from half-day rides to full-service, luxury horse-riding staycations, and much more. Visit www.sheanshorsefarm.com. The “Taste of the North Coast” trek starts at £155pps for four people. Also, check out the new 2-hour beach ride called “Ride on a North Coast Beach” starting at £100pp.
SOAK Seaweed Baths
Newcastle, Co Down
Soak in a stunning Victorian roll top bath, prepared with hot sea water and fresh seaweed to truly indulge in the senses of the sea. Seaweed Baths are well known to offer fantastic health and beauty benefits, but the fun and enjoyment they provide are a not so well-known fact. SOAK, the only authentic bathhouse of its kind in the UK, is here to change all that. Visit www.soakseaweedbaths.com. Sessions last for one hour and a single seaweed bath starts at £25.
Glide with the Tide
Strangford Lough, Co Down
Taking out a kayak is a beautiful way to explore Strangford Lough. Down at water level, you are in tune with the tides, time of day and weather conditions. Gliding softly brings you closer to the lough’s wildlife, including seal pups and wild geese. There is something magical about this place, only 30 minutes from Belfast. To plan a special experience, visit www.mobileteamadventure.co.uk. Enjoy the Glide with the Tide Experience, with sea kayaking and food tour (3hrs) for £89pp.
River Foyle Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Your adventure begins on the banks of the River Foyle, where your local guide and experienced instructor will teach you the basics of paddling and kit you out with everything you need to get out on the water. This experience provides a full flavour of the maritime history of the area with the optional extra of a fresh seafood snack from the award-winning street food outlet, Pyke N’ Pommes. Your local guide will also lead you near the Foyle’s three dramatic bridges. Visit www.farandwild.org/. Prices range from £40 to £100 for a 2-hour session.
Wee Red Boat Tour on Lough Erne
Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh
Enjoy the freedom and fun of Lough Erne in your very own private Wee Red Boat from Erne’s Boat Hire. The perfect way to explore the Fermanagh Lakelands and take some time out, you can opt for the four-hour tour for £60 or the eight hour-tour for £90. Comfortably sitting six adults, this is a fantastic way to explore Lough Erne, enjoy a picnic on one of the many islands and make some lasting memories on the water. Also, while island hopping, don’t forget to make a stop at Devenish Island, only a 30-minute journey from Enniskillen by boat. Visit www.erneboathireltd.com for more information.
A family day out at Share Discovery Village
Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh
Enjoy unforgettable adventures that the whole family will love at Share Discovery Village. Located on a 60-acre site on the tranquil shores of Upper Lough Erne, there is a wide range of fun-filled activities to try from banana boating, canoeing, kayaking, wind surfing, stand up paddle boarding and much more. To plan your next visit and check prices, visit www.sharevillage.org/.
Let’s Go Hydro Adventures
If you enjoy water based fun, then Let’s Go Hydro is a must see and do experience. The waterpark is situated on the forested grounds of Knockbracken Reservoir, just 10 minutes from Belfast City Centre. Visitors and locals love the range of aqua activity on offer at this exciting water sports and alternative accommodation resort. The impressive outdoor attraction, including an inflatable floating obstacle course, provides fun for all. The water park features slides over 9 metres high, climbing wall, hurdles, ramps and floating trampolines. For family fun, how about wakeboarding lessons for groups and then for little ones, enjoy a splashing time at the puddle park. For more information and pricing options on a range of activities and overnight stays, visit www.letsgohydro.com/.