Christmas Holiday Day Trips
Taking a day away from it all after Christmas
You know the moment. You’re sitting in a sea of wrapping paper, discarded chocolate pennies and contemplating how Christmas has whirled by so quickly? Those days. The ones after Christmas, before you go back to work, when no one quite knows what to do with themselves? Well the answer is to get out of the house. Whatever the weather, planning Christmas Holiday day trips or even just a few hours away will help you get over the Christmas blues. But where to?
Work off a bit of Christmas over-indulgence with some back to nature time. Northern Ireland has an endless choice of natural beauty spots. Here are just a few good ones.
Tollymore Forest Park
Tollymore is a great choice for a walk with family, where you have guaranteed natural play areas as well as beautiful views of the mountains, without the challenging climbs. Consider boots as essential, break out all the freshly gifted hats, scarves and festive socks and turn your leftovers into turkey sandwiches. Then look forward to wearing everyone out with some outdoor family time in this whole-some expanse.
The Causeway Coast
Not the whole coast of course, but pick a section that’s manageable and soak up the stunning views and bracing coastline if the day allows you to get outside. We love the Portballintrae Causeway Loop which takes you from Portballintrae all the way to the Giant’s Causeway through beach, coast, and rock formations. At only 3 – 5km depending on the path you choose, you can push on with the promise of refreshments at The Nook on arrival, or a hot toddy beside the log fire in the Bushmills Inn on the way back.
Minnowburn is a beautiful spot by the Lagan on the edge of Belfast. Ideal if you have little ones or if the weather is mixed and you can’t commit to a longer drive. Walking through the woods along the banks of the river is just stunning, especially on a winter’s day with frost in the air. The trail explores farmland, river bank, wetlands, woodlands, and formal gardens and is steeped in history as part of the Lagan Valley Regional Park system.
Biking and Activities
If you’re keen for a little more activity, you don’t have to go too far to get your fix. From trying out the stabilisers to full-on extreme sports, NI has a spot for everyone.
Victoria Park, East Belfast
Perhaps Father Christmas is promising a scooter or a new bike this year? In that case, popping out to Victoria Park from Boxing day onwards should be firmly on your agenda. With lovely flat and well-kept paths, an easy loop around the park, with ducks and geese swimming nearby to keep everyone entertained, it’s a great option. If you have an older, more daring cyclist with you, the BMX track is the perfect distraction.
Castle Ward is the ultimate location for a huge range of activities. From cycle trails to geocaching, archery to horse riding, there is something for everyone at this National Trust property. They don’t miss anyone out, even your furrier family members can visit the new dog-friendly cafe. The less active in your team can look forward to indulging in the world of Game of Thrones instead of more adventurous pursuits.
Blessingbourne Mountain Bike Trails
With 13K of biking trails as well as a pump training track located within the 550 km grounds, Blessingbourne is a sure hit for those seeking a more active post-Christmas day out. Trails are set in woodlands and wildlife on the edge of County Tyrone and the Sperrins and cater to all abilities from beginner to adrenaline-seeking experts. Bring your own or hire bikes there. The perfect post Christmas head-clearer.
A Day at the Races
Boxing Day at Down Royal Racecourse is a great excuse to grab the extended family and make for a day out that’s a real sporting spectacle. The craic is mighty at these winter race meets and you can go casual and cosy, or glam it up with all the fancy hats, coats and accessories. The first race is at 12.05, so time enough for a Boxing Day lie in. General admission is £15 and there’s plenty of food and drink hospitality on site.
Whatever the weather
Of course you can never be sure of those perfect crisp winter days, so in case the rain is heavy and the skies are dark, there are still some great options for days out to break the cabin fever.
Newly refurbished, Exploris is a brilliant spot to visit if the weather is poor and you have a houseful of visitors to entertain. The ideal combination of educational and fun, there is something for all ages in this divers’ view of marine life from around the world. Look forward to the Asian Short Clawed Otters and fascinating Seal Sanctuary.
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
From a Digital Dome Theatre where you can soak up views of our planet and beyond, travel the night sky and identify star constellations, to the numerous exhibitions educating us on the cosmos, the Armagh Planetarium is a win with all ages. What a thrill to be able to touch a meteorite which is 4.6 billion years old and the oldest on display in Ireland. Or stroll through a scale model of our own solar system. Fascinating from start to finish.
The Titanic Quarter is home to a host of activities whether you fancy visiting the Titanic Museum and Titanic Experience itself or taking in your surroundings with a walk of the slipways and plaza. With seasonal activities happening throughout the year and plenty of options for eating and drinking, it’s a lovely destination, whatever the weather. We like taking a tram ride around the Titanic Quarter to get our bearings, then paying a visit to the Dock or HMS Caroline.
Abbey Insurance Brokers
Whatever your winter plans, contact our team of experts here at Abbey who can help with any questions and advise you on your insurance requirements. We are available at 08000 66 55 44 or request a callback.