The school holidays are well under way now and parents are sure to be searching for ways to keep their children entertained for the Summer!
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) has been busy putting together suggestions of fun activities and days away for all the family to enjoy.
The exciting list of things to do includes a Lego exhibition at Titanic Belfast, Regatta in Portrush and orientation skills in Co. Fermanagh as well as dozens of events taking place in parks, woodlands and attractions across Northern Ireland that are free of charge and sure-fired boredom busters.
NITB’s Destination PR and Marketing Manager Ruth Burns said: “Keeping the kids entertained can be a tricky business at the best of times not to mention during the school holidays but over the summer, towns and cities across Northern Ireland transform into places of wonder and discovery, jam-packed with things to do and places to explore.
“There are hundreds of events and activities to participate in that will ensure your children can get out and about and make the most of their summer break. I would encourage parents to visit our website, www.discovernorthernireland.com as it’s a fantastic resource for planning a family short break or day out with endless ideas for truly memorable ways to have fun with the family.” she added.
NITB has devised a list of family friendly fun activities that are available across Northern Ireland this summer.
Famed independent Lego artist Warren Elsmore has brought his breath-taking recreations of major city landmarks and iconic global images to Belfast featuring scaled down versions of London’s Olympic Park and cities such as Tokyo and New York. Brick City at Titanic Belfast runs until July 13 and is the perfect day out for both children and adults alike.
The Streamvale Sheep Race which takes place in Dundonald from July 1 – August 31 is the perfect opportunity for a family day out as children can visit the animals, enjoy the nature trails and watch the spring lambs as they race and jump along the steeplechase course.
Animal enthusiasts will also enjoy the Pet Fun Day and Fair at The Bullfield, Stormont Estate on July 19 which is sure to be a fun day out for all the family with pony rides, craft stalls, a selection of exotic animals, face painting, novelty dog shows and much more.
The Belfast Hills Heritage Festival takes place in Belfast from July 28 – August 2 and is a week of family friendly events including pond dipping at Ligoniel, a kids rocky roadshow, bird box building at Antrim Castle Gardens, storytelling with Liz Weir and music on Belfast’s Barge as well as nature craft days, nature trails and more at Mossley Mill.
The August Feile 2014 in West Belfast, takes place from July 31 – August 10 and is Ireland’s largest community festival playing host to headlining music including Boyzone and the Kaiser Chiefs and a diverse range of dance, literature, drama, exhibitions, family fun, tours and much more.
Children of all ages will enjoy the vibrant fun and colours at the Belfast Mela 2014 in Botanic Gardens, Belfast, on August 24 as the gardens are transformed into an exotic wonderland of world music, dance, fashion, food and celebration.
Kid’s won’t fail to be entertained at the Dalriada Festival, Glenarm Castle, Glenarm, Co. Antrim July 13-19. The festival has plenty of children’s entertainment as well as sport, music, fine food, World Class Highland Games, celebrity chef demonstrations and live music. Another popular family event is The Heart of the Glens Festival 2014 in Cushendall on August 2-10. This successful community festival is suitable for all ages with popular events including the Lurig Run, Theme Street Night Ceili, a Family Fun Vintage Day and more.
Ireland’s oldest traditional market fair will have plenty to keep children entertained; The Auld Lammas Fair 2014 in Ballycastle takes place on August 26 and offers street entertainment and market stalls attracting thousands to the seaside town. Another packed programme of events is available at Air Waves in Portrush, Co. Antrim, 6-7 September which will include the annual air show, children’s entertainment, exhibitions, live music, fireworks and flying displays.
Families can enjoy the sound of pipes, drums and folk music along with Scottish dancing workshops, traditional food and more at the Argory Tartan – Festival of Music and Food in The Argory, Armagh, on July 20.
Armagh Plantetarium’s Great Balloon Race, Armagh Planetarium, August 2-3. A fun day for the whole family as hundreds of helium balloons take to the skies over Armagh with prizes awarded to the best launcher and the person who finds a balloon that has travelled the furthest.
The Continuing Adventure of Larry the Loughnashade Dragon, Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh, August 23-26. Bring the kids along for a fun day to help Larry stop the mean Warrior from stealing the safely guarded treasures that lie within Navan Fort.
A great day out for the family is available at the Week on the Wildside in Murlough Nature Reserve, Dundrum, from July 7-11. The range of things to do for kids includes a fun educational look at bugs and bees, archaeology and butterflies and is sure to entertain all the family.
A whole week of fun is available at the Portaferry Gala Week from July 19-25 featuring a vintage tractor display, paper boat races, live music and dance, arts and crafts, fancy dress parade and much more. Also taking place is the Festival of Flight in Newcastle, Co. Down from August 8-10 which will see the skys over Dundrum Bay filled with the roar of engines and displays by various airplanes.
Children who are animal enthusiasts should go along to the 24th Anniversary Family Fun Day, Ark Open Farm, Newtownards on August 11 where families and children can enjoy a bouncy castle, inflatable assault course as well as pony rides, bumble bee quad rides and much more.
Families can soak up the scenery, friendliness and free outdoor music events at the Fiddler’s Green Festival in Rostrevor, Co.Down from August 20 – 27. Another family friendly festival takes place on Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough from August 22 – 25 and children can enjoy the kid’s entertainment whilst parents take in the cream of local and international bands and artists.
Try out the Red Sails Festival in Portstewart, Co. Londonderry, from July 20-26. The annual community family friendly event includes live music, golf competitions, talent shows and culminates with a magnificent fireworks display on the Portstewart seafront.
The Flavours of the Foyle, Guildhall Square in City of Derry on July 26-27 brings locals and visitors together to pay homage to the rich resources of the Foyle including seafood marquee, live demonstrations and children’s activities. The Maiden City Festival, taking place in the City of Derry from August 2 – 9 is another family friendly event which offers something for everyone and is a highlight in the city’s summer calendar.
The Kite Festival in Downhill Demesne, Castlerock will provide fun for all the family on August 3 as a kaleidoscope of kites of all shapes and sizes take to the skies over the stunning coastal estate – entertainment will include kite performers, making, educational activities and the Wild Geese parachute display.
A host of family friendly events will also take place at the Lady of the Lake Festival in Irvinestown from July 11-20 including an opening ceremony, fishing competitions, donkey derby, music and drama, train rides and much more.
Families after something a little more adventurous should try the Family Bushcraft Workshop in Castle Archdale on July 19. The family bushcraft workshop is aimed at teaching young and old forgotten wilderness skills such as how to identify animal tracks and orientation skills. A fun family weekend of events can also be found at the Maguiresbridge Festival Fun Weekend from July 25 – 26 and includes tug-o-war, Irish and Highland dancing, line dancing, traditional Irish Music and much more.
The Maid of Lough Erne Festival in Kesh, Co. Fermanagh is perfect for some family fun – the week-long festival running from August 8 – 17 is packed with activities including treasure hunts, a tractor run, arts and crafts, floats, fancy dress, a donkey derby and It’s a Knockout with live entertainment and talent competitions.
The Ulster Fleadh is a weeklong festival of music, song, dance and craic with competitions, concerts, street entertainment, and more running from July 20 – 27. Families should also pop along to the Omagh Festival, August 1 – 3, it is the first community festival to be hosted in the town and will welcome a variety of events for the family from a kids magic show to circus skills, Vintage Tea Dance, Raft Race and Duck Derby as well as a Soapbox Challenge, comedy and more.
To find out more information about things to do over the summer holidays and attractions in Northern Ireland visit www.discovernorthernireland.com.