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Only the Best: Best Places to Visit in Northern Ireland in 2018

Dela Lozanova

20 November 2018

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3 minutes
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Up for something exciting? Here comes our list of the best places to visit in Northern Ireland according to this year’s Family Favourites Awards. Over 20, 000 UK parents voted to crown the winners, so quality’s a guarantee!

Come on now, let’s make your next family day out exceptional with a few award-winning attractions!

Best FREE Family Day Out in Northern Ireland

WINNER: Carnfunnock Country Park

Carnfunnock Country Park view

Who doesn’t enjoy a great day at the park? Carnfunnock Country Park has 191 acres of gardens, woodlands and trails for you to explore and is conveniently located less than 25 miles from Belfast.

Bring a ball and have a kick-about with the kids, or take your bikes and go for a ride. Don’t miss out on the maritime-themed outdoor adventure playground, open all year round! Whenever you’re ready for a break, there’re plenty of spots to set up for a relaxing picnic with stunning views of the coastline.

Up for some activities? There’s lots going on in the park during the warmer months! You’re likely to find plenty of seasonal entertainment, including a maze, a family fun zone with miniature railway, bouncy castles and more.

Best Event at an Attraction in Northern Ireland

WINNER: Belfast Zoo - Boo at the Zoo

Gorilla at Belfast Zoo

Halloween at Belfast Zoo was absolutely spooktacular this year, with Boo at the Zoo taking home the Best Event in the region title! Meeting bats, owls and reptiles was part of the festive freights and fun, along with a not-so-scary interactive theatre show, face painting and even the opportunity to treat the animals to a fresh pumpkin you’ve brought from home.

All this fun, combined with getting to see the usual 2000 animal residents, made Belfast Zoo the best place to visit in Northern Ireland around Halloween this year.

Best Day Out for Under 5s in Northern Ireland

WINNER: Roar and Explore

Kids at Roar and Explore

If your tots are into soft play and animals, Roar and Explore should definitely be on your list of best things to do in Northern Ireland. Why animals you ask? Well, they are everywhere! The wallpaper, the toys and the play frames are all animal-themed.

The centre has a specially designed multi-level soft play area for tiny jungle explorers (under 3). With a sensory ball pit to jump into, a Safari Hut to climb and a toddler-sized slide to ride - your tots will be having lots and lots of fun!

Best Animal Day Out in Northern Ireland

WINNER: Streamvale Open Farm

Deer feeding at Streamvale Open Farm

Where do we even begin? Streamvale Open Farm is just brimming with fun activities for animal-loving families! From learning about life on the farm, to milking the cows and feeding deer, lambs and goats, the animal experiences just keep on coming.

Not to mention, there are go-karts, tractor rides, plus indoor and outdoor play areas, featuring everything from a climbing course to a role-play barn. Streamvale Open Farm is truly amazing and deserves its spot amongst the best places to visit in Northern Ireland!

Best Educational Day Out in Northern Ireland

WINNER: Ulster Museum at Botanic Gardens Belfast

Ulster Museum in Belfast

Take your kids to Ulster Museum and watch them explore in awe, as the doors to the most exciting parts of human history open wide. The spacious exhibits are designed to appeal to younger visitors. From Egyptian mummies to real dinosaur skeletons, all the things of the past that young minds are fascinated by can be discovered here. 

There’s also a cafe at the museum, so you can grab a nice meal while you’re there. And don’t forget that Ulster Museum is situated in the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Belfast, so there’s plenty to enjoy outside too.

Best Active Day Out in Northern Ireland

WINNER: Roar and Explore

Roar and Explore main play frame

Double victory for Roar and Explore! The soft play centre has taken the gold in the Best Active Day Out in Northern Ireland category, as well. Seems like there are loads of cheeky monkeys who LOVE swinging around the huge soft play frame. Time for your little ones to try it, don’t you think?


So, these are the best places to visit in Northern Ireland in 2018 as voted by parents. Do you agree with the popular choice? Let us know what YOUR favourites are!

Speaking of favourites, check out the Family Favourites Awards finalists and winners, plus some extra content in our “Only the Best” series:

Best things to do in London | Best things to do in Wales | Best things to do in England |Best things to do in Scotland | Best things to do in the North West | Best things to do in Yorkshire |
Best things to do in the Midlands

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Dela Lozanova

20 November 2018

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Dela is a Digital Content Executive at Day Out With The Kids. Originally from sunny Varna on the Bulgarian seacoast, she now lives in Coventry and travels regularly throughout Europe to escape the rain.

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