Belfast Telegraph

Ten ways to shake off the new year blues in Northern Ireland

If you're feeling a bit weary after your celebrations last night, don't worry... Joanne Sweeney highlights a few invigorating ways for all the family to get the new year off to a bang.

01. New Year's  Day Dip

Feeling like you have over-indulged with food and drink at Christmas?

There's nothing like a bracing dip in Belfast Lough to start off the new year in an energetic way.

Today is the 8th annual New Year's Dip event at Browns Bay at Islandmagee with all proceeds going to Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Starting at 1pm, over 40 brave souls have promised to have a swim in the chilly waters - with some even wearing fancy dress as well.

While the swim is free to enter, donations to the event's chosen charity are welcomed.

02. Climbit at W5

If you are in need of something to entertain your children and to keep them off their computer games or new tablets, think about paying a visit to Climbit at W5 in Belfast.

The special climbing structure has a winter wonderland feel to it and by using a mix of lighting and projection techniques, young visitors can ascend to Climbit's 'icy peaks' amid a swirling storm of projected snowflakes.

W5 openxs its doors from noon and admission is £8.50 per adult and £6.50 for a child.

03. Parkruns - various locations

There are several 5K parkrun events organised for New Year's Day which will give experienced runners - and those taking up the sport as a new resolution - a gentle entry into 2015.

Free to enter, events will be held in Portrush East Strand Beach (10.30am start), Derry City (9.30am), Wallace Park, Lisburn (9.30am), Comber, Co Down (9.30am) and at Belfast Waterworks from 10am.

Children are also encouraged to take part but those aged under 11 should be accompanied by an adult.

04. Carnlough harbour charity dip

It's not just the Islandmagee folk who are hardy enough to have a dip in the waters today.

The 43rd annual Ballymena Spina Bifida Association sponsored swim takes place at Carnlough harbour from noon.

Hopefully taking part again this year will be Geoff Bell, who has participated in all of the 42 previous swims and is regarded as a local legend.

For further information ahead of the swim, ring Billy McIlroy on 07718 809314.

05. Carnfunnock Country Park

Want to get physical? Then look no further than the outdoor fitness gym on the biodiversity trail at Carnfunnock Country Park, Larne, today.

The park, its walks and toilet facilities are open for all those interested in the outdoors.

There are seven different walking trails to choose to enjoy from this stunning natural park.

It is open from 9am-4.30pm and bring along a picnic if you are hardy enough for dining outdoors.

06. New Year's Day at Belfast Zoo

The prospect of a tantalising glimpse of one of the many newborns or young animals at Belfast Zoo will get your loved ones up and away from all the sofa surfing.

It's open from 10am-4pm, with last admission at 2.30pm.

Visitors should note that the large animal enclosures begin to close from 3pm onwards when planning their trip.

Admission prices are £8.50 for adults (aged 18 and above) and £4 for children (aged four to 17), with free admission for children aged under four.

07. Escape to the Mournes, Co Down

This beautiful mountain range can be enjoyed all-year round - even for those who like to tour in their cars and look at the natural beauty from the warmth of their cars.

The Mournes is what you choose to make of it - as active or as leisurely as you decide but definitely not to be missed.

Tollymore Forest Park is also open from 10am-5pm and admission is £5 per car.

08. Belfast City bus tours

It's time to get on board a Belfast City hop-on, hop-off bus tour if you want to see Northern Ireland's capital city with new eyes in the New Year.

The bus trip, which starts off from Castle Place, gives a comprehensive trip around the city, stopping off at the Odyssey, Stormont, Crumlin Road, Shankill Road, Falls Road and then heading to the University quarter and Malone Road and back down to Great Victoria Street.

Ticket prices are £7.50 for adults and £5.50 for children.

09. Mount Stewart, Newtownards

There's nothing better than a walk around the stunning Mount Stewart National Trust property at any time of year to connect with our heritage and nature. The gardens are open to the public today but the house remains closed for the season.

It's time to get your hats, scarves and gloves on - along with sensible walking shoes - and just go exploring throughout the majestic gardens and walk around the lake.

Admission prices for adults are £5.80, children £2.90 each and family tickets are £14.50.

10. Out To Lunch Festival

There's nothing like a good belly laugh to clear out the cobwebs so look no further than one of the opening events of the Out To Lunch Festival in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.

Tickets are available for the comedy show called The Whinge, The Nordie And The Geek Ride Again, which opens at the Black Box Theatre on 1pm tomorrow.

It features Shane Todd, Ruaidhri Ward and Lorcan McGrane, three of the region's brightest, and funniest, comedians. The popular festival that runs until January 25.

Tickets are priced £6.50 if purchased via http://www.cqaf.com/outtolunch/2015 or £7 at the door.

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