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Mid & East Antrim for adventurous families

Mid & East Antrim for adventurous families

Excitement in your own back yard: Things to do

There are many factors to consider when choosing a holiday destination, but chief amongst them are these three: abundant activities, good food, and somewhere nice to stay. When it comes to exciting family outings that satisfy a broad and varying range of tastes, Mid & East Antrim has an abundance of great options…

places to see

PLACES TO SEE

An exciting mix of fun, leisure, education and beauty for the whole family

The Gobbins

One thing’s for sure, this is a family experience you will never forget. This unique network of bridges and paths was a miracle of Edwardian engineering – painstakingly created by hammer and chisel – when it opened in 1902. Reimagined in 2015, it is every bit as awe inspiring.

Hugging the cliff face, exposed to the elemental forces of nature, this remarkable path is even more atmospheric in winter as thundering swells crash the rugged coast below and the wind howls in the caves to accompany tales of smugglers and witches! 

Visitors have reported sightings of dolphins, porpoises, and even whales, not to mention the rich variety of marine and fish life that spawn here. 

At the Aquarium, you can watch birds chase fish left by the retreating tide. At the Gallery – where families once watched their loved ones sail off on Titanic – you can see to Scotland. Let nature fill your senses as the sea water spray caresses your face and the cries of birds delight your ears.

Admittance to the cliff path is based on the following height restriction – you must be over 4 foot (1.2m) tall.
 

the gobbins

Portglenone Forest

Take time to explore Portglenone Forest, one of the most enchanting forests on these islands. Experience something truly magical as you wander amidst the autumnal colours of this ancient woodland. There are many beautiful clearings, and nooks and crannies that offer the chance to take a lovely picnic, plenty of tables in scenic wooded glades, and stunning walks along the meandering River Bann.

kids on forest

Whitehead Railway Museum

If you’re of a certain age, this unique museum will bring back nostalgic memories of steam trains, but thanks to recent residencies from Thomas the Tank Engine and Harry Potter, children will be enthralled by this most atmospheric of railway museums.

They can explore vintage railway carriages and old steam engines every bit as handsome as Thomas and co. They can try pulling railway signal levers and, best of all, on special dates, like Halloween and Christmas, if you book ahead, the whole family can enjoy a magical train journey in carriages pulled by a real steam engine. 

Move over Orient Express, because Mid & East Antrim has a railway experience like no other.
 

railway carriage
...filled to the brim with the kind of wildlife which would not seem out of place in a Disney film.

More places to see

Blackhead Path

Enjoy the ultimate winter walk! With views that will be imprinted on your memory forever, this looped walk – designed by Berkeley Deane Wise of Gobbins Path fame – begins at Whitehead Yacht Club and ends at the dramatically positioned Blackhead Lighthouse, before returning on a different (though no less scenically beautiful) route. It’s taken some years and millions of pounds to restore this famous path that runs over cliffside and by woodland, grassland and rocky shoreline. Now a new generation can enjoy Wise’s genius. Our spectacular corner of the natural world, experienced as close up as you can get.

Blackhead Path

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrick’s history stretches back centuries – long before Belfast even – and with this in mind, why not make some history of your own, creating unforgettable family memories at one of the best-preserved medieval castles in either Britain or Ireland? Walk the walls, feel the ridges and indents made by cannon rounds from endless sieges, and explore the ancient keep and medieval chamber where banqueting rooms reveal the pomp of medieval aristocracy. You can even dress up as a time traveller at this one-time stronghold of the Anglo-Normans and the English Crown.

Carrickfergus Castle
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