The Garden County is spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities and places to visit with our children. Here are some suggestions for the best outdoor places in Wicklow for families.
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We have put these ideas on what you can do while school is out or for when leaping through that window of opportunity when we’re lucky enough to experience a dry spell!
Best Outdoor Places in Wicklow for Families
Avondale House & Forest Park
Combine an educational day out with a fun day out at Avondale House and Forest Park! This is the birthplace of Charles Stewart Parnell, the great Irish statesman. They also have some brilliant trails for forest walks and cycling on the magnificent 505 acre estate and the plots laid down from 1904 to 1913 are still visible today along the majestic sweeping lawn known as the ‘Great Ride’.
There is also a café and a playground to keep all the family happy. The Forest Park is just outside Rathdrum and so it is close to many other facilities (Greenan Farm Museum and Maze to mention one), which makes it an excellent day trip.
The Meeting of the Waters
At the Meeting of the Waters, the Avonmore and beg rivers come together to form the Avoca River. It’s a spot of such beauty that it inspired Thomas Moore to write his famous Irish Melody, “The Meeting of the Waters”.
There is also a riverside café, restaurant and craft shop to visit while you’re there. Here, you can enjoy the picturesque scenery of Wicklow and make a fun day out for the kids!
The Sean Linehan Walk
The Sean Linehan Walk, named in honour of a local Aughrim man, is a lovely walk in the picturesque, historic village of Aughrim. It has a number of short walks available, the longest being 4km, which are more suitable for little legs. It’s also a great place to observe nature, though some of the route is unsuitable for buggies.
The walk starts at the old Tinnakilly Bridge, a short walk from the center of town, from where it follows the path of the Macreddin River. The river is an important habitat for many different forms of wildlife, and kids will love keeping an eye out for birds such as dippers and herons.
Powerscourt Waterfall in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow is a wonderful place to be on a summer day. It is a 121-metre high waterfall, Ireland’s highest! The landscape is beautiful, with many of the trees being over 200 years old and several woodland pathways. With a playground, cafe and ice-creams, walks, barbecue facilities and picnic benches, it is easy to lose track of time here!
It is a haven for wildlife and children can have fun trying to spot some of the locals – the Chaffinch, Cuckoo, Raven and the Willow Warbler. Some other inhabitants are the Sika Deer which were introduced to Ireland in 1858 and there may be a red squirrel or two. There is car parking, a summer kiosk and toilet facilities.
The Bray-Greystones Cliff Walk
The Bray-Greystones Cliff Walk, one of the highlights of Wicklow, is a stunning walk with unique coastal views. My 3 year old managed this one on foot, although we had brought a back carrier just in case. It’s just over 6km long. The breathtaking views are certainly worth the challenge though!
The Tinahely Railway Walk
The Old Railway Walk in Tinahely is a safe, quiet spot to take the family for a lovely day out. The walk stretches 2.7km in length and traverses a section of the Woodenbridge to Shillelagh Railway Line which was closed in 1964.
Each season along the walk is beautiful in its own right, from bluebells in spring to blackberries and crab apples in the autumn. If you would prefer a loop, the Tinahely Loop is a new 25km walking trail which takes in elements of the Railway Walk, the Wicklow Way, and Muskeagh Hill.
You May Also Enjoy Great Walks in Wicklow for Families
Bring the bike on part of the Blessington Lakes (also known as Poulaphouca Reservoir) loop! Set in the Wicklow Mountains, it is the largest man-made lake in Ireland. The views are unrivaled.
The road around the lake offers amazing views over the reservoir and the Wicklow Mountains. You can walk or cycle around the lake going through historic villages such as Valleymount, Ballyknockan or Lacken.
Brittas Bay & Greystones
We have over 66km of coastline in Co. Wicklow with 2 great blue flag beaches – Brittas Bay & Greystones. All the beaches offer great opportunities for family fun and outdoor pursuits.
While some of the beaches are recommended for different things like a blue flag, amenities like toilets etc, some beaches are just amazing stretches of sand.
Even stony beaches have a lot to offer, being great places for rock pooling, skimming stones and in some cases rock climbing.
Be sure to include Maghermore (Blainroe), Johnsons Beach & Ennereilly Beach (Arklow) on your list of beaches to visit this year, not to mention Ireland’s longest established seaside town, Bray, for a 99 & a visit to the amusements.
One of our favourite discoveries has to be Ballynerrin in Wicklow Town! This playground has two sections for older and younger children. Its facilities include a football pitch, basket ball pitch, slides, climbing frame and much more. It is in a residential area but there is still plenty of parking to be had.
You May Also Enjoy Here are Some Recommended Playgrounds in Wicklow
Finally, if you’re looking for a good place to fly a kite – head to the beach! Just be sure to stay away from any that are close to the rail line & overhead wires. Also, Black castle, Wicklow Town, even had a kite flying contest in 2011. It’s a perfect location to catch the breeze.
Article written by Tríona from Greystones
Have your say! Do you have amy favourite outdoor places in Wicklow to go with the kids? Tell us in the comments below.