Guide to Kildare for Families: Where to Eat, Stay, Play and Explore

Michelle

August 21, 2022

County Guide to Kildare for families

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Kildare boasts scenic countryside, canals and rivers, beautiful gardens, stately homes, and is known for horses and St Brigid. Enjoy history, culture, delicious food, and a whole host of unique family-friendly activities and places to visit to keep you busy.

In our Guide to Kildare for Families, we’ve picked oodles of interesting and exciting things to do with the family around Kildare, whether you’re planning a weekend break, looking to fill a rainy day, explore in the sunshine, or just try something new.

Our Guide to Kildare for Families

Family-Friendly Things to Do in Kildare

irish national stud foals

© Caroline Norris

Enjoy a great day out for all the family at the Irish National Stud & Gardens – they have some of the most magnificent horses and beautiful gardens to be found anywhere in the world, including the Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra’s Garden. There’s a new interactive Horse Racing Experience (suitable for ages 8+), while smallies will enjoy exploring the magical fairy trail in the woodland area or letting off some steam at the kids’ playground. There’s also a fabulous café with indoor and outdoor seating, as well as picnic benches in the car park.

The Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge has a regular great line up of children’s events, workshops and movies. There is also a Children’s Gallery space beside the cafe, with books, drawing materials, bean bags, and regular children’s exhibitions.

You will enjoy spending a fun-packed day at Lullymore Heritage Park, with no restrictions on length of stay. Activities at the Park include indoor and outdoor playgrounds, pet farm, woodland walks, fairy bower, crazy golf, train rides out to the bog, tea rooms and picnic area. They also run events around school holidays and seasonal times.

Have fun navigating the Kildare Maze at Prosperous, near Naas – Leinster’s largest hedge maze! It has a choice of maze experiences, a hedge maze and a wooden maze. At the centre of the hedge maze, there is a viewing tower so you can plan your exit route! Other on-site activities for families include crazy golf, assault course, zip wires, picnic benches and play units suitable for younger children. Open daily from June-August.

Clonfert Pet Farm offers a fun-filled and good value day out for you and your family. There is a great variety of animals, from the usual farmyard favourites – cows, ponies, donkey, pigs, goats and sheep – to more exotic species including African Eagle spotted owls, Common Marmosets, Blue & Gold Macaw, and Ring Tailed Lemurs. As well as all the animals, there are two outdoor playground areas and plenty of picnic areas, and lots more to keep your family entertained.

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Free Things to Do in Kildare

Castletown House Kildare Pixabay

Open all year round, Ireland’s largest Palladian house, Castletown House in Celbridge, has 120 acres of surrounding Parkland, ideal for walks. The grounds are free to visit and explore. On OPW Free Wednesdays you can also do a guided or self-guided tour of the house. Their Summer programme includes music and other fun events so check what’s on before you visit, there’s also a monthly craft and food market. Stop off at the Brambles Café for some refreshments.

Most of the towns in Kildare have playgrounds, but we have favourite playgrounds in Kildare that we can recommend, including the one in Kildare Town which has accessible equipment.

The Curragh is an extensive tract of grassland and perfect for walks, cycling, and kite flying. Watch the horses training on the Curragh racecourse, or check out some of the historical sites such as Donnelly’s Hollow. Tip: Wear wellies or old shoes as sheep roam freely and there are lots of droppings!

Outdoor Activities in Kildare

River Liffey, Newbridge, Kildare (1)

© Failte Ireland

Situated approximately 2km from Newbridge, Pollardstown Fen offers unique access to nature with pools, scrubland and woodlands. Managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service, parking is available at the site and interpretive signage will guide you around the boardwalk route.

The Liffey Walk at Clane is a winding paved path alongside the River Liffey, with plenty of wildlife and birds to spot along the way, including otter, mink, grey heron, kingfisher, finches and even buzzards.

Donadea Forest Park has some lovely woodland walks with a lake and ducks, and many historical remains. There are tea rooms open all year round and plenty of picnic spots throughout park.

Mullaghreelan Wood, Kilkea is a picturesque old woodland estate with mixed walking trails. The woods adjoin Kilkea Castle and there are picnic benches.

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Are you searching for what’s on for families in Ireland? Enjoy hours of family fun with our monthly round up of exciting events and things to do!

What's on in ireland container

Family-Friendly Museums & Galleries in Kildare

irish national stud irish racehorse experience

Train lovers will enjoy Straffan Steam Museum, open from May to September, where you can see six huge 19th century Stationary Engines running in steam on occasions. They have a collection of prototype model locomotives, as well as the live steam engines. Also enjoy the beautiful Lodge Park Walled Garden during your visit.

For those who are more into ponies and horses, the Irish Racehorse Experience at Irish National Stud & Gardens is an interactive and immersive journey through the history of horse racing in Ireland. You must be 8 years old and over to take part, but children 7 and under may accompany a paying adult. Of course you’ll want to visit the Living Legends paddock afterwards where equine superstars, including Beef or Salmon, Kicking King, Hurricane Fly, Hardy Eustace, and Rite of Passage, relax in the sunshine.

Located within the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre, the Museum of Style Icons hosts numerous collections and artefacts relating to Stars of the Silver Screen and many modern day artists – including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson,  the Beatles and many more. Admission is free.

The first, and largest Palladian manor in Ireland, Castletown House, built for William Conolly, is an awesome sight. Open from March to October, there are guided tours of the house daily (admission price applies). There are activity sheets available for kids, and afterwards be sure to head outdoors for the Self-Guided Nature Trail or the Treemendous Tree Trail, great for exploring the extensive parklands.

Discover the fascinating world of polar exploration at The Shackleton Museum in Athy. Highlights include an original sledge and harness from polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions, a 15-foot model of Shackleton’s ship Endurance, an exhibition of unique family photographs, and an audiovisual display featuring Frank Hurley’s original film footage of the Endurance expedition.

Rainy Day Activities in Kildare

Bowling pins at Leisureplex rainy day ideas

At KBowl in Naas you’ll find ten pin bowling, indoor children’s play area Wacky World, and KZone which has arcade games, air hockey, basketball and American pool.

K Leisure has 25m swimming pools at both their Athy and Naas locations. You don’t need to book but check the pool timetable to see the list of sessions available for adult and children leisure swimming.

Celbridge Playzone is a 10,000 sq ft children’s play centre with indoor play options for 0-9 years.

Bookshop Barker & Jones in Naas has a dedicated kids’ section, as well as a nice cafe in the shop.

Kildare Farm Foods has free entry to the open farm. Indoor facilities include a crazy golf course, train rides and a well-stocked shop and café.

At the Bog of Allen Nature Centre, celebrate the wonder and the beauty of Irish peatlands and their wildlife with plenty of things to do and activities for all ages and interests at the visitor centre.

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Family-Friendly Hotels & Accommodation in Kildare

The 4* Osprey Hotel & Spa with spa and leisure centre is located in the heart of Naas town. It offers family-friendly accommodation, a 20m swimming pool and kiddies pool, with Kids Club during school holidays.

The Clanard Court Hotel in Athy is a popular place for families to stay, particularly at Christmas time as they are well-known for their Santa experience. In addition to great family rooms, you can also enjoy a delicious children’s afternoon tea with all sorts of treats. And kids will love the resident alpacas as well!

For a more luxury experience, Carton House Hotel in Maynooth offers family stays with an array of on-site activities to enjoy, including fishing, tennis, bicycle hire, family picnics, golfing, horse-riding, clay pigeon shooting, archery and more. There’s also an 18m swimming pool and children’s pool, plus spa for Mum and Dad to relax in at some point.

For something a bit unusual accommodation-wise, the Roisin Dubh Houseboat in Sallins sleeps six and is a unique AirBnB in Ireland. It is easy to get to by car, and by train it’s only 30 minutes from Dublin city centre, with the train station only a few minutes’ walk away.

Check out more of our favourite family-friendly hotels and accommodation in Ireland – from luxury breaks and hotels with kids clubs to self-catering choices and family camping and glamping.

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Kildare

There are many good restaurants in Kildare to choose from, here are some that have been recommended by Mykidstime parents:

  • Da Vincis, Leixlip: They are very family-friendly with a kids’ early-bird menu and delicious pasta and pizza.
  • Hartes of Kildare in Kildare Town: Offers kids meal deals and half portions of some main courses are available on request. Baby bowls are complimentary to children under 3.
  • The Japanese Gardens Restaurant at the Irish National Stud & Gardens: A lovely child-friendly restaurant, with locally sourced homemade produce. Lovely to also combine with a tour of the gardens and stud. Children’s portions, high chairs and bottles heated available on request.
  • The Ballymore Inn, Ballymore Eustace: Offers family-friendly dining in the bar or restaurant. They have a nice children’s menu which is both extensive and affordable. Great food, especially the pizza!
  • Dunne and Crescenzi, Kildare Village: A very family-friendly Italian restaurant with a children’s menu and plenty of high chairs. Lovely al fresco dining when weather is good, and beside the playground! They also have a ‘Design Your Dish’ colouring competition to keep the kids occupied.

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Get set for a real treat with tiers of delicious bite-sized goodies to enjoy at these fantastic places for kids’ afternoon tea in Ireland – they are definitely worth a visit!

Kids Afternoon Tea in Ireland

Things to Do in Kildare for Older Kids and Teens

Teen days out in Ireland

Redhills Adventure Centre has karting, archery, assault course and more outdoor activities with family packages available, while Xtreme.ie run outdoor-based activities and camps at Carton House.

Abbeyfield Farm near Clane offers horse riding, along with other activities such as clay pigeon shooting and archery.

Airtastic Entertainment Centre in Celbridge has a bowling alley, a space-themed mini golf course, amusement arcades and soft play for under 9s.

Feeling creative? What about a spot of pottery at Florence & Milly, a ceramic art studio and coffee bar located in Sallins.

The Riverbank Arts Centre has a good programme of events, from theatre and cinema to workshops throughout the year.

If looking at art is more up your teen’s street, then The White Box Gallery in Naas is a contemporary Art Gallery and School.

Need a retail blitz? Kildare Village and Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge offer plenty of shopping opportunities.

Don’t Miss!

The National Famine Way Day Out

The National Famine Way passes through Kildare, centred around the walk of 12-year-old Daniel Tighe – one of the original famine walkers from Strokestown Park – who remarkably survived the horrific journey to Quebec in Canada in 1847. Daniel’s journey is reimagined in vignettes written by award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna. These are connected to over 30 pairs of 19th-century bronze children’s shoes interspersed along the route which create a thought-provoking experience.

It is also an accredited Heritage and Arts Trail which is mostly located in the countryside along the Royal Canal on flat and well-surfaced paths. Which makes this trail perfect for families, casual walkers and cyclists.

Does your family have a favourite place in Kildare that you love to visit? We want to hear about it!

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Mykidstime Ultimate Guide to Kildare for Families

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Published On: August 21st, 2022 / Categories: Ireland / Last Updated: September 6th, 2022 / Tags: , , , /

About the Author: Michelle

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Michelle is a Mum to 2 girls and co-founded Mykidstime.

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