We had a week in Northern Ireland with kids in March 2018. It was so cold, it snowed, it rained, but it was AWESOME! We absolutely LOVED Belfast! Here’s our guide of the things to do in Northern Ireland with kids – Giant’s Causeway, Winterfell, and Belfast.
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Fun things to do in Belfast with kids
Let’s start with Belfast because that’s where we based ourselves, shall we?
There’s no shortage of what to do in Belfast with kids.
Where to stay in Belfast with kids
We arrived the night before St. Patrick’s (it’s on or around 17th of March, the day of his death) and it was freezing cold. There were people wearing green and partying, but not as much as on the following day.
We were very close to the university, which meant students – and it usually equals to noise, drinking, partying. Even though there was a lot of drinking and partying around, it wasn’t as bad – not even on the next day.
There were loads of broken bottles on the ground, and coins scattered, but other than that, it was fine.
It was a very nice location, easy to find, not too noisy, and it was close to many things.
On the other hand, it was very far from many of the things we wanted to do, so we ended up renting a car for a few days.
Places to go with kids in Belfast
CS Lewis Square
Did you know that CS Lewis was from Northern Ireland? I didn’t.
But well, we were once driving by and saw the lion statue near a skate ramp. It was the CS Lewis Square. There’s nothing more than that, but if you or your kids are Narnia fans or if they skateboard…
“The Big Fish” – AKA The Salmon of Knowlege
There’s this huge statue by the river and it was one of the places with more tourist we’ve seen during our stay.
It’s a myth from Ireland – the salmon that holds all the knowledge in the world. Apparently, the person who ate its flesh first would know all the answers to every question.
Victoria Square Mall
One day, we were walking by the city center of Belfast and we were freezing, so we decided to enter a mall to warm up a bit. Well, it didn’t help, as it was open BUT we had lunch, and then we were happy again.
Well, if you’re shopping around, why not?
This was my favorite. It’s a big market in the heart of the city, filled with lovely food, handicraft, and lots more!
We bought cheese, candies, watched musicians play Irish songs, and had a lot of fun! It’s definitely worth it! One of the best things to do in Belfast! Kids love it too!
It only happens on the weekends, so program yourself to be in the city from Friday to Sunday!
The things we didn’t do
Colin Glen Forest: the Gruffalo walk – well, yes, most of my kids are too old for it, but they learned English with the Gruffalo and we really wanted to visit it. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
It’s a short walk and it’s said to be a great day out for toddlers in Belfast!
Belfast Castle and Malone House and more.
You can look at the official site to find something else to do in Belfast! There is a lot – unfortunately, we didn’t.
Two things everyone told us to visit were the Transport Museum and the Titanic Museum. We didn’t because, honestly, we’ve visited quite a few transport museums around the world and they are so. much. alike.
The Titanic Museum feels weird because… a museum honoring a ship that sank on its maiden voyage? Kinda weird. But as they say around Northern Ireland, ‘she was fine when she left here’.
Family-friendly places to eat in Belfast
Of course, we did eat out a couple of times. Only 2 are worth mentioning, though, so here’s the very short list!
- Build Your Burger
It was very close to the place we were staying so we stopped by. Good Subway style burger shop, cheap, and LOADS of chips.
It was really good, though. We loved it.
We were very well served and even got some local tips as to where to go.
- Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory
OK, so you wouldn’t dine there (or would you?) but it’s a lovely vintage style candy shop. You can see the delicious things being made at the back of the shop, buy some lovely chocolate and fudges, and just fatten yourself. Why be skinny, right?
They have a stand at St. George’s Market, so you can visit it there but we had fun at the shop too.
Various Game of Thrones filming locations
The kids had never really watched Game of Thrones, but we did a lot of the things they wanted to do just because they wanted to, so we sneaked in things we wanted to do, too.
While we stopped and we read the signs, I told them bits of the story. They were horrified and said they’d never want to watch it but… we’ll see.
You’ll need either a tour or a car to get to those places!
Ballintoy Harbour (Antrim) – the Iron Islands
It’s stunning even if you haven’t watched it. The blue seas, the little islands, and the sounds of the water. Beautiful.
We had fun there climbing rocks, reading signs, watching people, and just hearing the ocean.
It’s probably better when the cold wind isn’t cutting through our souls, though.
Cushendu Caves (Antrim) – Melisandre Cave
This is where Melisandre gives birth to Stanis’ shadow. It’s pretty creepy, even during the day. One of the caves end at a gate – so it kills the mood, but oh well. It was fun anyway. Jumping puddles, hearing the echoes, and all those things that only caves offer.
Magheramorne Quarry (Antrim) – The Wall
You can’t even slow the car down, let alone stop, but it’s pretty big and easy to find.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t even take a photo. It was like ‘There’s the Wall! Oh, it’s gone’.
Glens of Antrim – Arryn
We also stopped at the Glens of Antrim because we saw a sign saying Game of Thrones.
It’s where they filmed parts of the Vales of Arryn. It’s beautiful and easy to find.
Game of Thrones – Winterfell Tour for families
It’s in Castle Ward, and it’s just WOW!
Coral was only 5 BUT we did it. We couldn’t do the cheaper tour because of her age, so we did the private archery tour.
You can just wander around, but it costs £24 for a family to enter.
Ned’s Package – Archery Tour
It was just SO MUCH FUN! They didn’t want to visit Winterfell, but we convinced them with the archery. The Ned’s Package is a private tour, so it’s great for families!
The guide – ours was Jamie (just like Jamie Lannister, really) – told us a bit of the story, how it was used, showed us a video on the making of Winterfell and answered questions.
– by the way, the video was 100% family-friendly, with no inappropriate snippets –
Then we were handed our costumes and swords and taken to the field.
He explained how to do it, kept giving us tips on how to improve, personalized tips, showing us technique and more.
We loved it!
It is one of the best things to do in Northern Ireland with kids for sure!
Price £99 for 2 people + £29 for every extra person.
After our archery thing ended, we did a self-guided tour. They lent us the Stark Sack (a bag containing cloaks, swords, and an iPad with the filming locations nearby so we could explore it. They’re usually for cycling, but since Coral can’t ride a bike yet, we did it on foot.
This tour costs £39 per person, but we received it for free. No bikes, though.
It was great, we saw many filming locations, heard stories (on the iPad), took in the stunning scenery, and the kids had a blast with their cloaks and swords.
Lots of the people we crossed on our way bowed or complimented our funky style. Haha.
Giant’s Causeway with kids
This is definitely one of the BEST things to do in Northern Ireland for kids.
It’s majestic, and even a bit unbelievable! No wonder it’s a Unesco World Heritage Site!
There’s a legend saying that it was made by the giants – and there’s even the home of one of them, Finn McCool made it all. To be really honest, it does seem very plausible.
Tickets can be bought at the Visitor Information Center or online! Online prices are a bit cheaper.
Every single one of us loved it. We climbed rocks, piles, walked around them, tried to lift them, sat and rested, watched little fishes swimming, watched the waves, and it was delightful. One of our favorite day outs so far!
The rocks are so perfect and well put together, it’s hard to believe it’s natural and nor man-made.
The audio guides were AWESOME and everyone received one, which was great.
Don’t miss it, even if it’s the only thing you’ll do in Northern Ireland!
Giant’s Causeway from Belfast
It was an easy drive, a beautiful one at that. We drove and it was worth it! We were able to stop when we wanted to and do everything at our own pace. We hate to be hurried.
We spent around 3 hours at the rocks, a bit over an hour between lunch at the Museum and the rest of the easy walks.
Travel time: a bit over an hour
- Admission price
- Family (2 adults + 3 kids)
- Under 5
- Online Price
- Standard Price
People just love bridges, don’t they? Well, this one is very famous and close to the Giant’s Causeway.
I’d even brave it if the kids wanted to go but we saw it from afar and they decided they didn’t want to. Hahaha, a bunch of scaredy cats.
(And I’m the one scared of heights, so I was secretly relieved.)
So I don’t actually know what it’s like but you cross the bridge and you can spend as long as you want at the little island on the other side of it.
It costs £8 per adult, £4 per child, and £20 per family.
From Scotland to Northern Ireland
We went to NI by bus + ferry. The bus was small, paid online, and it included the ferry.
The whole trip took around 5 hours and it was easy and comfortable.
I hate ferries, I feel very sick every single time, but this one was actually fine.
We had fun walking around the huge and beautiful ferry, watching people sleeping in the weirdest positions and places, the babies running around (I miss having toddlers, really), having lunch, and all that. We just didn’t go out onto the deck because people were smoking SO MUCH that we’d choke.
Since it’s all in the UK, there are no borders – easy.
From Northern Ireland to The Republic of Ireland
When we left NI, we went to Ireland. We took a bus. It was a bit over 2 hours of bus, easy, warm, and very full. It took us straight to the airport, and we got our rental car.
There are many buses at the terminal, it’s super easy to buy it there, but I recommend you buy online because some buses only accept online payments.
To finish it…
There are many, many wonderful kids day out in Northern Ireland and they should be in every family’s UK itinerary!
It’s a stunning country that surely deserves to be visited and since it’s so compact, it’s easy to travel all around it!
- City / Country
- Minimun Stay
- $ ~ $$$
- Best local transport option
- Do we recommend it?
- Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, and Castle Warden / Northern Ireland
- A week!
- Perfect for kids!
- SUPER safe!