Newcastle is is in the southwestern area of Northern Ireland and on the route between Belfast and Dublin. From Newcastle you can see the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea and enjoy nature. If amusements are more your speed, there are also lots of opportunities for you there.
10 Things to Do with Kids in Newcastle, Northern Ireland
1. Climb Slieve Donard – Put on your hiking shoes, pack a lunch (or a tent if you’re more adventurous) and climb to Northern Ireland’s highest point! The views from here are spectacular. On a clear day you can see across Northern Ireland, or over to Scotland. On a misty day there is a quiet atmosphere for self-reflection. Once you make it back down again stop in Newcastle for the traditional post-climb ice cream.
2. Scrabo Tower – This tower sitting upon a hill has magnificent views for miles around. During the summer you can climb the tower for even greater views and visit the country park exhibition.
3. Sail Strangford Lough – Sail around the many islands of Strangford Lough and enjoy the sights of old ruins here and there. You will also see seals catching some sun on the rocks!
4. Ulster Folk and Transport Museum – Step back in time to this open-air museum and see how the people of Northern Ireland lived years ago. During school holidays there are often days with special activities for children to participate in (and also classes for adults). If old houses aren’t your thing, maybe a trip to the adjoining Transport museum with its cars and trains will put a smile on your face.
5. St. Patrick’s Centre – Learn about the life of St. Patrick and visit his traditional burial place. This is the only permanent museum of his life and is an interesting area of study.
6. Binder’s Cove Souterrain – Visit this interesting underground souterrain and leave in wonder at all the work once put into excavating it! Built for protection from invaders, it’s hard to spot, but worth it for history and archaeology interests. While you’re in the area, drive over to Legannany Dolmen and see this above-ground megalithic monument. Keep your eyes to the sky as well and you might just spot a Red Kite bird of prey.
7. Tollymore Forest Park – Tollymore Forest Park has some great walking paths through the forest and along the river that you can cross by hopping across the stepping stones. The area is so beautiful many local families spend their summers camping in this park.
8. Murlough Nature Reserve – Take a stroll along the wooden boardwalk through wild pastures down to the pebbled beach and relax. Take in the views where the Mountains of Mourne “Sweep Down To The Sea” as in the famous song. There is a lot of wildlife to be seen here as well, so keep watchful!
9. Exploris Aquarium – Every kid loves to visit an aquarium! Exploris focuses on the marine life found in the Irish Sea. The aquarium is also home to a seal sanctuary.
10. Castle Espie Wetland Centre – This is a top spot for anyone interested in waterfowl. Thre are walks,trails, and observation points from which you can see the varied birds that visit the area. The centre even has a colimbing wall and a composting toilet!
Newcastle makes a great day-trip from Belfast or Dublin. There ‘s also enough to keep your family occupied for longer periods of time if you’d like to drop anchor and stay in a campground, B&B, or hotel.