Are you looking for fun things to do with kids in Wicklow? Powerscourt House and Gardens offers an amazing day out with the family. There is so much to see, do and discover. I visited recently with my kids and here are our picks of 7 spectacularly fun things to do with the kids in Wicklow, when you visit the Powerscourt Estate.
Our Pick of Fun Things to Do with Kids in Wicklow at Powerscourt Estate
On a recent visit to grandparents in Dublin, we took time out to pay a visit to Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow. It only took us 30 minutes to get there. We visited during the Autumn so the leaves were just changing and we were greeted with a riot of colour! From the drive through the beech lined avenue to the breathtaking waterfall there is so much to see and do. Here are out top picks from our visit.
#1. Stroll Around The Award Winning Powerscourt Gardens
As you walk from the ticket office situated in Powerscourt House to begin your tour the first thing that greets you are the stunning gardens. The Gardens at Powerscourt stretch over 47 acres and were ranked No.3 in the World’s Top Ten Gardens by National Geographic.
They consist of a blend of formal gardens, sweeping terraces, statues, ornamental lakes, secret hollows and rambling walks. Kids of all ages will enjoy exploring them!
The gardens have been in place since 1731. They have been designed to fit perfectly within the surrounding landscape. There are a number of special gardens encompassed within the grounds which the children will love visiting including; The Walled Gardens, The Italian Garden, The Dolphin Pond, The Japanese Gardens, Pets Cemetery and Pepperpot Tower to name but a few.
#2. Climb Pepper Pot Tower
A visit to climb Pepper Pot Tower is a must! Situated in Tower Valley and surrounded by a stunning variety of trees you can find it just beyond the Japanese Gardens.
Pepper Pot Tower was actually modelled on a pepper pot from Lord Powerscourt’s dining table!
After arriving at the tower, you can climb the winding steps and enjoy the views of Powerscourt House and Gardens. Children will love exploring the Tower and playing princesses or soldiers!
Something you may not know – The Pepperpot Tower was used in filming for hit TV series The Tudors.
#3. Take the Family Action Quest Tour
There are a selection of free audio tours available at Powerscourt. They are available in many different languages to download, via an app, to your smartphone in advance of your visit.
We opted for the shorter more family oriented audio tour, the Family Action Quest Tour. This tour has 8 stops around the estate and takes between 60 – 90 minutes to complete. Although you will have to build in a bit of extra time for exploration along the way!
Be sure to check out the fabulous statues all around the gardens, there are hundreds to find. Many of these were brought back from Europe or commissioned by the Viscounts of Powerscourt.
One of the most striking pieces is in the Italian Gardens. It is a pair of life sized Winged Horses which watch over Triton lake.
They are made of zinc and form part of the family coat of arms. They were created by Professor Hugo Hagen in Berlin in 1869.
In the lake you will also see a dramatic fountain which is based on the fountain in the Piazza Barberini in Rome. We had to take loads of photos in this spot so the kids could show both the statues and fountain with their friends!
#4. Discover A Treasure Trove of Tree Trails
The trees at Powerscourt have been planted over the past two centuries and there are now hundreds of varieties for visitors to enjoy. Today they look quite familiar, but in the 19th century they were mostly new and exotic trees, collected from the Americas and all over the world.
Powerscourt boasts many wonderful tree species including Douglas-Firs, Corsican Pines, Giant Redwoods, Atlantic Cedars, Noble Firs and countless more. While you are taking a walk with the family, get the kids spotting the different trees and identifying them from the leaves!
The River Walk at Powerscourt features the tallest tree in Ireland, a Douglas Fir which stands at 61.5 metres, or 202 ft, towering above well-known landmarks including Dublin’s Liberty Hall (59.5 m) and Niagara Falls (51m).
#5. Be Stunned By Ireland’s Tallest Waterfall
The Waterfall at Powerscourt is Ireland’s highest at 121m! The spectacle of rapidly cascading water really is a treat for all ages. And the setting at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains is stunning.
The Waterfall is just 6km from the Main Estate, so probably best to get your ticket and drive the short distance. There is lots of parking available.
During warmer weather it is the ideal location for picnics and barbecues. There is plenty of space to keep children entertained, including a play area! In addition there are lovely walking trails to explore and get everyone’s appetite up.
It is a haven for wildlife and the kids can have fun trying to spot some of the local animals. Keep an eye out for the Chaffinch, Cuckoo, Raven, Willow Warbler, Sika Deer and maybe even a red squirrel or two.
#6. Find New Pet Names At Pet Cemetery
I know it may sound strange, but my kids loved visiting pet cemetery. They learned all about the pets that are buried there, and believe me there are many and they are varied!
From ‘Tommy’ and his wife ‘Magic’ (ponies) to ‘Eugenie’ (jersey cow) to more traditional dogs & cats with names you could only imagine. They are the beloved pets of the Wingfield and Slazenger families who have owned Powerscourt for more than 400 years!
#7. Discover An Oriental Paradise
Children love to explore the Japanese Garden at Powerscourt. It is a riot of colour and perfume with winding paths, trickling streams and Japanese bridges and ornaments.
The gardens are laid out in circles and stone lanterns guide you through from the outer circle to the innermost circle.
Before you leave the Japanese, the children will love to toss a coin into the wishing well for good luck.
Situated beside the Japanese Gardens is the Grotto, one of the oldest features of Powerscourt Gardens. Dating from 1740, it is made from fossilised sphagnum moss, taken from the banks of the nearby river Dargle. Water trickles down the moss covered walls and the family will have to take some secret pathways to find their way in!
Shopping, Eating & Events at Powerscourt House Wicklow
Powerscourt house offers the warmest of welcomes to visitors and some of the best views in Ireland, overlooking the Sugarloaf Mountain. It is a must visit if you are looking for fun things to do with kids in Wicklow or within striking distance of Dublin.
Within the house and spilling out onto the terrace, you can relax and enjoy the splendid range of stores or indulge in a coffee or dessert at the famous Avoca Terrace Café. They have a good choice for kids snacks and meals!
Be sure to check before your travel what events may be taking place. From Halloween fun and fantastical fairy festivals to gardening classes and other fun workshops, events are arranged throughout the year for families to enjoy.
Please note: As with any attraction, from time to time there may be visitors restrictions on certain areas due to ongoing maintenance work or as with the current situation, government safety guidelines. To avoid disappointment, if you want to visit a specific area within the Powerscourt Estate, please do check before you travel, that it will be open at the time of your visit.
Have your say! Powerscourt really is one of the top things to do with kids in Wicklow. Have you visited Powerscourt Estate with the family? Did you discover any additional wonders? Please share them with us in the comments box below.