Paddleboarding, kayaking, surfing and horseriding – Northern Ireland makes for the perfect midterm break
Never mind the weather – a bit of rain won’t stop play during the year of the staycation.
If you have yet to make plans for midterm, we cannot recommend amazing Norhern Ireland enough. 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. From paddleboarding and coasteering to coastal walks and indoor surfing; there are experiences suitable for both adrenalin junkies and those seeking a more restful activity.
We recently caught up with Discover Northern Ireland to get the inside scoop of the most fantastic experiences to enjoy up north, come rain or shine:
The Gobbins Experience – Islandmagee, Co. Antrim
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.
Adult ticket price: £20, Concessions Under 16, over 60s, students ticket price: £14.50.
Please note The Gobbins is closed from 5-18th October for maintenance.
Causeway Coasteering – 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, a passion for people and adventure all combine to make Causeway Coasteering sessions the ultimate in exploration and excitement.
Prices start from £35 per person for ‘The Wee C’ 2-hour offering.
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.
Enjoy the Glide with the Tide Experience, with sea kayaking and food tour (3hrs) for £89pp.
Let’s Go Hydro Adventures – Belfast
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. The impressive outdoor attraction including an inflatable floating obstacle course and 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 (ages 1-8).
Surf Belfast- Andersonstown Leisure Centre
Catch a wave, whatever the conditions outside at Northern Ireland’s first ever indoor surf simulator. Surf Belfast, uses pumps to fire a constant 5-metre wide wave sheet to challenge riders.
It has been designed for a variety of age groups and skill levels and has four different performance settings to ensure that the ride can be enjoyed by just about everyone. Sessions are up to 45 minutes long, based on 8 people per session taking turns to ride.
Tickets: Adult £19.50 / Child £13.00
River Foyle Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Derry~Londonderry
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.
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 Boat Hire. While island hopping, don’t forget to make a stop at Devenish Island, only a 30-minute journey from Enniskillen by boat.
Comfortably sitting 6 adults, prices are £60 for a four-hour tour or £90 for the eight hour-tour.
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 activities to try from including the new Wibit inflatable water park, banana boating, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, stand up paddleboarding and much more.
Visit www.discovernorthernireland.com for inspiration and planning or follow Discover Northern Ireland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.