things to do in Northern Ireland with kids

Things to Do in Northern Ireland With Kids – 16 Epic Activities for All the Family

Last Updated: September 28, 2023By

Things to do in Northern Ireland with kids are plentiful, from outdoor adventures to indoor entertainment. Northern Ireland offers an array of family-friendly activities to delight all ages. From interactive museums and captivating culture to natural wonders and scenic trails, Northern Ireland promises fun for kids of all interests.

Little thrill-seekers will love rollercoasters and treetop obstacles, while tiny tots can burn energy in massive playgrounds. Budding scientists will marvel at hands-on science museums, and artsy kids can craft their own carpets at a workshop. Rainy days won’t ruin the fun thanks to indoor water parks and laser tag arenas.

The options for family days out are endless. Discover everything from farmyard animals to folk music and majestic castles to model ships. There’s a perfect blend of education and entertainment. So start planning an unforgettable Northern Ireland family getaway, packed with amazing things to do!

Key Takeaways

With so many enriching and entertaining options, Northern Ireland is a top family destination.

  • Outdoor activities like the Giant’s Causeway and hiking trails offer natural adventures.
  • Interactive museums and exhibits provide engaging indoor fun for all ages.
  • Cultural sites, theaters, and festivals promise lively entertainment and performances.
  • From castles to working farms, there are many immersive learning experiences.
  • With lots of unique attractions, Northern Ireland guarantees amazing days out for families.

A family trip to Northern Ireland promises fun and memories to last a lifetime!

Things to do in Northern Ireland with kids

Outdoor Activities

1. Visit Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast

Hop aboard for an unforgettable family day out at Titanic Belfast, a monumental indoor activity located where the legendary ship was built over a century ago. This iconic museum dedicated to the Titanic story appeals to kids and adults with interactive exhibits, replica rooms, and state-of-the-art displays.

Little ones can pretend to steer the Titanic at the ship’s wheel, while parents marvel at the advanced shipyard technology. Don’t miss walking along the booming footfalls of the Shipyard Ride as you journey through 9 interactive galleries. Discover the ship’s conception, construction, maiden voyage, and tragic demise.

See recreated first-, second-, and third-class cabins reflecting how passengers lived over 100 years ago. Gaze in awe at the towering Titanic Experience, which transports you back to the bustling shipyard. With so many engaging elements, Titanic Belfast brings this unforgettable piece of history to life for future generations. No visit to Belfast is complete without exploring the place where the Titanic’s journey began.

2. Explore Marble Arch Caves

Descend into the fascinating underworld of Marble Arch Caves for a geology lesson kids will love. This natural underground attraction offers guided tours through winding cave passages forged by underground rivers.

Stalactites, stalagmites, cascades, and calcite formations sparkle at every turn. Listen as expert guides explain the unique geology and bring the caves’ history to life. Gaze up at the Great Gallery, an enormous underground canyon filled with gushing waterfalls.

Kids can let their imagination run wild, conjuring up stories about these enchanting caverns. The temperature is a cool 14°C year-round, making it perfect for explorers. Exciting features like the Thunder Hole and Annette’s Abyss are not to be missed. Just bring warm clothes and sturdy shoes to start discovering these magnificent natural wonders hidden beneath the earth.

3. Journey on the Giant’s Causeway

No family trip to Northern Ireland is complete without visiting the legendary Giant’s Causeway on the dramatic Antrim Coast. Known for its mind-blowing geology, this UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases over 40,000 volcanic rock columns formed by ancient lava flows.

Kids will be awestruck wandering along these massive stone stepping stones leading down to the sea. Listen for the mythic folklore of legendary giant Fionn mac Cumhaill told by costumed guides. Scamper over slender cross-sections, hop across peaks and explore hidden nooks along the rugged shoreline.

Bring your swimsuit for a brisk dip at the Blue Pool, warmed by heated ocean currents. Leave time to hike uphill for spectacular cliffside views of Scotland on clear days. The Giant’s Causeway is Northern Ireland’s top natural attraction and a can’t-miss outdoor activity for families.

4. Hike up Divis and the Black Mountain

Trade crowded tourist sites for fresh air and breathtaking scenery on kid-friendly hikes at Divis and the Black Mountain outside Belfast. Offering panoramic city views, these peaceful outdoor trails are ideal for easygoing family activities.

Meander through meadows blanketed in wildflowers on Divis Mountain, letting kids burn off energy while you soak up gorgeous vistas. For those after a bit more adventure, opt for the Black Mountain ridge hike with striking overlooks into County Tyrone.

Pack a picnic to enjoy at the top amidst the tranquility of nature. With sweeping sights of Belfast and beyond, these invigorating climbs are perfect for families seeking new heights together. Just bring sturdy shoes, snacks, and water to embark on an unforgettable outdoor adventure amid Northern Ireland’s natural beauty.

Indoor Fun

5. Step back in time at Ulster Folk Museum

Immerse your family in Northern Ireland’s living history at the Ulster Folk Museum, an interactive open-air museum bringing the past to life. Set on sprawling grounds, this fascinating attraction recreates traditional Irish life and architecture throughout the ages.

Costumed guides provide glimpses into the past as you explore everything from farmhouses to factories. Kids can watch blacksmiths and weavers demonstrate their trades while learning how people lived and worked over 100 years ago. Hop aboard the vintage train for a ride around the museum.

Don’t miss the chance to walk through the famous Ulster town circa 1913, visiting its shops, schools, churches, and homes. With horse-drawn carriages, sweet shops, and cobbled streets, it’s like travelling back in time. This illuminating attraction lets kids discover Northern Ireland’s rich heritage through vivid recreations and hands-on family fun.

6. Get hands-on at W5 Science Museum

Budding scientists and engineers will have a blast at Belfast’s W5 science museum packed with over 250 interactive exhibits. With a mission to spark imaginations through science and technology, this top-rated indoor activity provides hours of stimulating family fun.

Little Einsteins can design roller coasters, play virtual sports, and move objects with their minds. Budding builders will love the construction zones. Perform dozens of experiments in the special lab before stepping into a hurricane simulator.

With cutting-edge attractions like Science of Sport and Climbit, this innovative museum makes learning active and engaging. Kids of all ages will marvel at the fascinating displays covering space, health, nature, and more. For an unforgettable mind-expanding experience, W5 is Northern Ireland’s top indoor attraction for future scientists and explorers.

7. See wildlife at Belfast Zoo

Home to over 1500 animals, Belfast Zoo offers unforgettable close encounters with exotic species from around the world. Northern Ireland’s top family indoor attraction provides a memorable day out getting to observe wildlife up-close.

Kids will love spotting some of their favorite animals like tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, penguins, seals, chimpanzees, and more. Interactive zookeeper talks provide a fun learning experience about the animals. Special feeding sessions let kids see the creatures dine up close.

With large indoor habitats, the zoo offers plenty of indoor fun even on rainy or cold days. The zoo also features adventure playgrounds, a petting farm, and a miniature train ride. For an unforgettable family activity, come make some furry and feathered friends at Belfast Zoo.

8. Splash around at Share Discovery Village

On chilly or rainy days, head indoors for water slide thrills at Share Discovery Village – Northern Ireland’s largest covered water park. Perfect for energetic kids, this top indoor attraction features pools, rides, and play zones spread over three fun-packed floors.

Race down the sides of a volcano on the Krakatoa Slide or brave the 370-foot Tidal Wave rollercoaster-style ride. Little ones love splashing in the bubble pools while teens flock to the Wave Rider for an indoor surfing experience. Off the slides, kids can dive for treasure and test their skills on the climbing wall.

With areas tailored for all ages, Share Discovery Village is ideal for family days out. Bring your cozzies for exhilarating indoor aquatic adventures in Portadown.


9. Experience Wee Toast Tours

All aboard for entertaining explorations of Belfast’s top attractions with Wee Toast Tours. This lively hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus provides an engaging family activity introducing kids to the city’s highlights. As you ride around town, fun guides regale you with tales about key landmarks, myths, and history.

Kids will love the eccentric bus decor, from leprechaun legs dangling from the ceiling to quirky features like an aquarium sink. With live commentary tailored for children, these 75-minute loops both educate and entertain. Highlights include City Hall, the political murals, Titanic Quarter, and C.S. Lewis Square.

With special activity packs to keep kids engaged, Wee Toast brings Belfast’s iconic sites to life for young visitors. This interactive tour offers a memorable indoor/outdoor activity for family fun.

10. See a show at Belfast Waterfront Hall

Treat your family to a dazzling performance at the Belfast Waterfront Hall, the city’s premier venue for arts and entertainment. This modern facility located in the revitalized Titanic Quarter hosts an array of family-oriented shows perfect for a memorable night out.

From magical circus acts to splashy musicals, Waterfront Hall offers ever-changing cultural programming. Kids will love sing-along puppet shows and interactive magic shows. During the holidays, festive pantomimes like Cinderella provide laughter and delight.

For toe-tapping live music and dance, Celtic fiddlers and Irish dancers take the stage in celebration of Belfast’s heritage. With so many engaging and vibrant performances, Waterfront Hall promises an entertaining indoor activity for all ages.

11. Watch sheepdogs at work at Scadbury Country Store

Treat kids to an engaging lesson in agriculture at the Scadbury Country Store, where talented sheepdogs show off their herding skills. Families will love this entertaining outdoor activity observing highly-trained border collies in action during gripping sheep herding demonstrations.

As the dogs expertly direct and maneuver the flock, kids gain insight into this traditional farmwork. In between shows, guests can interact with a variety of friendly farm animals in the petting zoo. With educational exhibits on Ireland’s rural heritage, Scadbury provides a full afternoon of family fun.

Located just outside Belfast, these acclaimed demonstrations offer a uniquely memorable country experience for families. Watch in awe as the skilled dogs seamlessly guide the sheep in this captivating display of man’s best friend at work.

12. Enjoy storytelling at the International Storytelling Festival

Immerse your family in wondrous worlds of imagination at Northern Ireland’s magical International Storytelling Festival each spring. During this acclaimed cultural event, masterful tellers take audiences on unforgettable adventures with captivating tales spun just for kids.

Through dramatic narration, music, and mime, gifted storytellers transport young listeners from buried treasure to distant lands. Kids can stretch their creativity, getting lost in stories that come to life before their eyes. When not enjoying performances, families can play language games, go on story walks, and join in other activities celebrating the art of storytelling.

This lively annual indoor/outdoor festival delivers enchanting entertainment for families through the power of the spoken word. Let your children’s minds ignite as story magic spreads across Belfast.

Learning Experiences

13. Tour Carrickfergus Castle

Step back in time with a family visit to Carrickfergus Castle, one of Northern Ireland’s best-preserved medieval castles. First built in 1177 by King John, this historic site lets kids’ imaginations transport them to a world of lords and ladies, knights and battles.

Climb through the stone walls of the inner keep, seeing the Great Tower, portcullis, and ornate fireplaces. Kids will love exploring the dark winding passageways and staircases imagining life here centuries ago. Be sure to check out the displays of weapons and artifacts from the castle’s early days.

The audio tour uses fun stories to bring history alive for kids. With panoramic views from its seaside perch, Carrickfergus Castle makes a perfect interactive history lesson for curious young minds.

14. Visit the Ulster Museum

Make it a day of cultural discovery for the whole family at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s treasure trove of history, art, and science. With diverse galleries and thousands of objects on display, this top indoor attraction provides a memorable learning experience for children.

Kids can gawk at an Egyptian mummy, walk through reconstructions of historic Irish dwellings, and learn about dinosaurs and wildlife native to Ulster. Interactive displays like the 360-degree light sculpture capture young imaginations.

Don’t miss special kid-centric programs like storytelling, arts and crafts, and reenactments that make the exhibits spring to life. With a Children’s Learning Centre and hands-on activities, the Ulster Museum offers an enriching family day out.

15. See where the Titanic was built

Any youngster fascinated by the Titanic will love exploring Belfast’s famous shipyards where the legendary vessel was constructed over a century ago. Interactive tours of the Harland and Wolff shipyard provide an immersive indoor activity ideal for budding engineers and designers.

Kids can see the massive dry docks and slipways, imagining the workers who once labored here. Multi-media exhibits showcase the advanced shipbuilding technology of the time. The guides’ engaging stories of working at the bustling yards bring the experience to life.

The real highlight? Stepping inside the historic Drawing Offices every detail of the Titanic was meticulously designed before coming to life. This insider family activity illuminates the grand ship’s origins.

16. Experience Cyril Lord workshop

At the Cyril Lord workshop in Northern Ireland, kids can design and create their own masterpieces to take home. This hands-on indoor activity lets children walk in the footsteps of carpet makers at the former factory of renowned designer Cyril Lord.

After a tour of the heritage space, kids get to make their mark, crafting their own miniature woven rug on a working loom. Expert weavers talk through the process, from picking materials and patterns to practicing weave techniques. The patient staff ensures every child completes their special handmade treasure.

This unique arts and crafts experience allows families to discover Northern Ireland’s textile heritage while tapping into kids’ creativity. The Cyril Lord workshop promises an afternoon of enriching family fun.

Wrapping Up – Things to Do in Northern Ireland with Kids

Northern Ireland promises nonstop family fun and amazing activities for all interests.

  • From thrilling amusement rides to hands-on museums, Belfast and beyond offers engaging indoor and outdoor attractions.
  • Kids can design ships where the Titanic was built, craft carpets at a workshop, and explore everything from castles to culture.
  • The region provides picturesque trails, unusual tours, lively shows, and breathtaking natural sites like the Giant’s Causeway.
  • Farms, zoos, and festivals offer interactive family days out perfect for making memories.
  • With so many enriching experiences, Northern Ireland caters to young explorers and imaginative minds.

Whether seeking education or adventure, every child will be captivated. So start planning an unforgettable family getaway filled with the region’s most memorable kid-friendly activities!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best outdoor activities in Northern Ireland for kids and families?

Some top outdoor attractions include the Giant’s Causeway, Marble Arch Caves, Tollymore Forest Park, Castleward, and the trails at Divis and the Black Mountain. Activities like boating, hiking, and ziplining allow kids to explore the beautiful natural landscapes.

What are the best indoor activities and attractions for kids in Northern Ireland?

Top indoor options include W5 Science Museum, Share Discovery Village water park, Ulster Museum, Titanic Belfast, Belfast Zoo, and kid-friendly theaters like The MAC and Waterfront Hall. On rainy days you’ll find plenty of engaging museums, climbing centers, pools, and more.

What is there to do in Belfast with kids?

Belfast offers loads of family entertainment. Must-see attractions include Titanic Belfast, W5, Belfast Zoo, SS Nomadic, Crumlin Road Gaol, and city tours. Catch a show at The MAC or Waterfront Hall. Top parks include Ormeau Park, Crawfordsburn Country, and Stormont Estate.

What is the best way to get around Northern Ireland with kids?

Many key sites are accessible by public transportation like trains and buses. Taxis provide convenience with car seats. Rental cars allow flexibility for road-tripping. Tour companies offer hop-on, hop-off bus tours catered to families. Private tours are great for custom itineraries.

What family events happen annually in Northern Ireland?

Top annual festivals and events include Belfast Children’s Festival, NI International Air Show, Festival of Fools street carnival, Ballycastle’s Ould Lammas Fair, NI Tattoo Show, and seasonal events like Bloom Garden Festival and Continental Markets.

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