Go North: 10 fab things to see and do in Northern Ireland this summer
Take us away!
If you are making plans for a summer of staycations, have you added Northern Ireland to that list yet?
If not, then don't miss out. The six counties up north have an abundance of high-quality attractions and places to visit to keep you entertained, whether you are heading away with the girls, on a romantic getaway or taking the whole family on a summer staycation.
Many of Northern Ireland’s top attractions reopened this week, and are ready to offer their giant welcome to visitors again. For instance, world-class attractions such as Titanic Belfast, or the new OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory are both available to book now, along with many other attractions and sights.
From the unique, to the adventurous, the cultural and historical and more. here are some of the top attractions and places to visit in Northern Ireland this summer:
World Class & Unique
- Titanic Belfast, Belfast
Reopening on May 27th, the iconic, six-floor building is located at the historic site where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912. The self-guided Titanic Experience is a one-way themed route. Guests can complete their Titanic Experience with a visit to the world’s last remaining White Star vessel and RMS Titanic’s original tender ship – SS Nomadic. Walk the decks, explore the ship, and take a journey through over 100 years of authentic maritime and social history.
- OM Dark Sky Park & Observatory, County Tyrone
Opening for the first time on June 3rd, the centre will give visitors a unique opportunity to experience the night sky as it is rarely viewed with an experienced tour guide. Visitors will be able to explore our solar system and star-gaze using telescopes to view the night sky without light pollution as Davagh is the only official ‘dark sky’ park in Northern Ireland. Combining the latest tech, visitors can expect to see holographic installations and bespoke evening audio-visual shows using virtual reality headsets.
- Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark, County Fermanagh
The award-winning Marble Arch Caves – one of Europe’s finest show caves will reopen for guided tours from May 24th with extra measures including directional signage, pre-booking and numbers limited for tours. Visitors can enter a world of subterranean rivers, winding passages, lofty chambers and an array of spectacular cave formations to enjoy the stunning million-year-old cave network. There are over 50 stunning sites in the Geopark itself including breathtaking viewpoints, magical waterfalls, wonderful wetlands and fantastic forests.
- Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim
The full Visitor Experience will reopen on May 24th at the Giants Causeway where 40,000 basalt stone columns were left behind by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. Explore a state-of-the-art interpretation within the Visitor Centre or see the distinctive stone formations with your own eyes. Visitor Experience tickets include guided walks by award-winning storytellers, reserved on-site car parking adjacent to the Visitor Centre, access to the exhibition, shop and café and use of all facilities.
- The Gobbins, County Antrim
What better way to blow off the cobwebs than with a walk along this exhilarating coastal cliff path? Your trip begins via a hole through a rock called Wise’s Eye. Make your way along the paths, walkways, tubular bridges and tunnels on this dramatic walk and take in the stunning views while breathing in the sea air. Pull on your walking boots for a two and a half hour walking tour. (Tours are capped at ten people to enable social distancing).
Adventure & Activities
- Todd’s Leap, County Tyrone
There are over 20 action-packed activities available at Todds Leap Activity Centre including Off-Road Driving, Clay Pigeon Shooting, a 500m ZipLine, a Giant Swing, a Free Fall Drop Zone, Paintballing, Splat Master, Woodland Trails, Air Rifles, Archery, Climbing Wall and the Big Yella Slide, all spread across a purpose-built, off-road track.
- Let’s Go Hydro, Belfast
This impressive outdoor attraction, including an inflatable floating obstacle course, provides fun for all. The course features an XXL Tower, slides, climbing wall, hurdles, wiggle disks, ramp, podiums and a floating trampoline. The resort has 40 glamping pods to choose from, including a Boat House and Floating Lake as well as a restaurant on-site and a drive-in movie experience! Pre-booking for all activities is essential.
- Strangford Lough Activity Centre, County Down
Offering a variety of land and water-based outdoor activities including archery, bushcraft, canoeing, coasteering, kayaking, laser tag, orienteering, raft building, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), and team-building games. Enjoy kayaking to a nearby island, stopping for a BBQ lunch before heading to shore again against the backdrop of the sunset. Or start the day as you mean to go on, paddle boarding over to the island for some yoga and granola while watching the beautiful sunrise!
- Ulster American Folk Park, County Tyrone
Immerse yourself in the story of the brave emigrants who made the journey across the Atlantic to America hundreds of years ago with 30 buildings and exhibits to explore (from May 25th). Wander through the thatched cottages and log cabins and meet costumed characters who will show you traditional crafts and tell you a few stories. Board a full-scale emigrant ship to experience the conditions faced by many as they set sail for a new life in America.
- Exploris Aquarium, County Down
Get ‘hands on’ from May 24th with native species as you tickle the belly of a small shark and feel the spikes on a sea urchin. The colourful coral reefs in the Tropical Ocean zone play host to over 100 species. Outside in the enclosures, a family of Asian Short Clawed Otters remain a big hit with visitors as does the Seal Sanctuary. Timed slots allow you to set off on your journey through the zones where you will meet clownfish, sharks, rays and much more.
- Navan Centre & Fort, County Armagh
One of Ireland’s most famous and important archaeological sites. Experience life over 2000 years ago, as you walk in the footsteps of warriors to the ancient Navan Fort, site of the great temple of 95BC. Immerse yourself in Iron Age life, as you meet the resident Celtic clan & view their period dwelling. Tours resume May 25th.
Culture & History
- Seamus Heaney HomePlace, County Londonderry
Discover the world-renowned poet in his beloved hometown. Journey through the life and works of this literary giant, greatly valued locally for his decency and humility, and experience the place, the people and the landscape that so inspired his work. The Exhibition reopens on May 26th. Tickets are available now & pre-booking is recommended.
- The Story of Derry, County Londonderry
The Siege Museum and Exhibition (May 24th) will tell the tale of the Siege of Londonderry and the Museum of Free Derry (May 27th) will give you insights into the civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the most popular visits in Derry~Londonderry is the People’s Gallery, a set of twelve large murals that takes you through some of the most historic neighbourhoods in the city.
- Belfast Street Art Walking Tour, Belfast
Culture at every corner? Spend just a few minutes in Belfast and you’ll notice the walls. There is street art everywhere. Street artists from across the globe have joined a new generation of Belfast based street artists to leave their mark and to help form a new narrative for the city. This 2-hour walking tour priced at only £10 will help you understand that history and show you how the narrative of the city is changing.
Food & Drink
- Hinch Distillery, County Down
A new 30,000 sq. ft. distillery in Ballynahinch opens for the first time on May 24th. Fully trained guides will bring visitors on an interactive and informative journey that gives insight to both the history of Irish whiskey and its unique distilling process with tutored tasting at the conclusion of the tour. The visitor centre facilities include a coffee shop, public restaurant, pub, outside courtyard space and multi-purpose events spaces.
- Enniskillen Taste Experience, County Fermanagh
The Enniskillen Taste Experience starts at Enniskillen Castle and guides customers around the Island town meeting local producers and suppliers. You will have the opportunity to sample Joe the Baker's sourdough, Pat O’Doherty’s famous black bacon, Tickety Moo Ice cream, Boatyard Gin, Sharon’s mouth-watering scones, Innishmacsaint beer and much more! Every Saturday at 11 am lasting three hours.
Houses, Gardens & Forest Parks
- Slieve Gullion Forest Park, County Armagh
Alive with geology, archaeology and over 2,000 years of legend and history, Slieve Gullion Forest Park is home to one of the most famous ring dykes in the world. Take a trek to the summit of Armagh’s highest peak and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views across the Ring of Gullion, Mourne and Cooley mountain ranges and the Armagh Drumlins.
- Montalto Estate, County Down
In the picturesque County Down countryside, the stunning Montalto Estate with trails and gardens is open to explore. Highlights of the estate include the beautiful Alpine Garden, an impressive purpose-built treehouse, Woodland Trail and tranquil walks with stunning views of the gardens and wildlife.
- Hillsborough Castle Gardens, County Down
The castle may be closed but the beautiful gardens are still open for exploring. Enjoy 100 acres of world-famous royal gardens. The beautiful colours at this time of year will be especially worth a look. Try the 18th-century Walled Garden, the Lost Garden, the Granville Garden and Lady Alice’s Temple. To enable social distancing, tickets must be pre-booked and there is no restriction on how long you can stay.
- Florence Court, County Fermanagh
One of Fermanagh's famous historic houses will reopen on June 5. Florence Court is situated against the mountain backdrop of Cuilcagh Mountain outside Enniskillen. Glorious grounds with a beautiful walled garden, the famous Florence Court Yew and 15 kilometres of trails means there is more than enough to explore on a day out.
Pre-booking is essential for all attractions and experiences, and we advise you check the website for opening times, restrictions and guidelines for visiting as well as our chartered ‘We’re Good to Go’ stamp.
For more information on great places to visit when it is safe to do so, visit www.discovernorthernireland.com. With many places to stay less than two hours from Dublin, Northern Ireland’s giant welcome will be there when it’s safe for us to travel again.