Sunday Life

| 15.5°C Belfast

With summer around the corner, enjoy the school holidays with the National Trust


Swing to new heights in The Argory play area

Swing to new heights in The Argory play area

The Argory’s play area is an outdoor adventure

The Argory’s play area is an outdoor adventure

Hop on a boat at Crom

Hop on a boat at Crom

©National Trust Images/Chris La

Boats moored in a jetty by the visitor centre on Lough Erne at Crom, County Fermanagh

Boats moored in a jetty by the visitor centre on Lough Erne at Crom, County Fermanagh

©National Trust Images/Chris La

Children playing on the cannon outside at Florence Court, Co Fermanagh.

Children playing on the cannon outside at Florence Court, Co Fermanagh.

©NTPL/John Millar


Swing to new heights in The Argory play area

School’s almost out for summer and the National Trust has timetabled lots of family activities to keep action-packed adventures going all summer long, all the better if you’re planning on holidaying at home.

For days when you’re fresh out of ideas, refresh little ones’ imaginations in the fresh air and make the school holidays a breeze.

Simply pick up a Come out and Play card available at many National Trust places in Northern Ireland and find joy in the easy pleasures of summer.

Reach the top, find your way or hit the target with sensory activities and sporty challenges. Feel tickly grass underfoot, smell flowery scents and listen to buzzing bees with summer days out which are good for everyone.

Take the trail

The National Trust is bringing back classic days out with a range of free family activities throughout the school holidays.

Enjoy quality time in the outdoors this July and August as the whole family put their detective and sporting skills to the test.

Have fun as family and friends solve nature's clues and race for the finish line. As everyone celebrates being a summer sporting champion on our tree trunk podiums, pose for the perfect picture and create great family memories together.

If you're looking for more action-packed adventures this summer, many places in Northern Ireland offer other ways to have fun outside…

Play about

Log beams, rope swings and zip wires in the woods… fun family days out are a walk in the park at National Trust natural play areas.

There's nothing quite like a natural playground to feed their imagination and learn through landscape whilst having a wild time in nature.

The Argory’s play area is an outdoor adventure — have a go on the climbing posts, bounce on the trampoline and cross the balance beams.

Cycle of life

Florence Court estate is perfect for a day out on the bike with paths ranging from an enjoyable, gentle cycle to trails in the forest park for the more adventurous cyclist.

For a gentle cycle, take your bike around the Blue Trail and around the Pleasure Grounds and pass by the many historic buildings on your route.

For those looking for more of a challenge, head out on the Red Trail and into the Forest park for hills, trails and downhill stretches.

There are a number of bikes available to hire from the Visitor Centre for half or full day hire. Bikes must be returned before 3.30pm. Bike helmets are provided.

Make a day of it by packing a picnic to enjoy on your cycle (but the Summer House is equally appetising for those wanting an impromptu meal).

Oar it

You haven’t truly experienced Crom until you have taken a boat trip on Lough Erne. Leave the land behind and enjoy the sights of the estate as you drift down its meandering waterways.

Stop off at an island or two, enjoy a family picnic and experience Fermanagh from the exceptional vantage point of the water. Crom has a selection of boats and canoes to suit your group size and energy and ability level.

If you feel up to the challenge of the oars, canoes and boat are perfect. The rowing boat (£7.50 per hour, one available for hire) is a great for short trips and the National Trust’s new canoes (£15 half day, £25 full day, £30 refundable deposit required, two available) are a fantastic way to explore the waters of Lough Erne. Both the canoes and rowing boat are recommended for a calm day.

Prefer to let an engine do the work? Opt for outboard engines (£30 half day, £45 full day, two available) to travel to Belturbet, stop for lunch and return to Crom.

The Lady Erne (£50 half day, £75 per day, £100 deposit and photo ID needed, over 21 years) houses a cab, meaning there’s some shelter from the rain that’s never too far away from Northern Ireland. This is a supremely comfortable way to explore the estate from the water.

Take a hike

The Mournes is not only one of Ireland's most scenic areas, it is also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Hugging the Co Down coastline, the Mournes structure is made up of 12 peaks that extend into an area only 15 miles by 8 miles (24 x 13 kilometres), each mountain rising above 600m with the highest being Slieve Donard which towers above 852 metres.

Known as the highest and most spectacular mountain range in Northern Ireland, its popularity is evident by the hordes of walkers even in the depth of winter.

The climb to Slieve Donard summit can be strenuous but worth it for breathtaking views of the Co Down Coast, Newcastle town and Murlough beach. On a clear day, hikers can spot Scrabo Tower to the North and the Isle of Man to the East.

The National Trust cares for and maintains 526 hectares of the Mournes, which takes in part of Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh and forms a very important part of the Eastern Mournes Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Noted for its biological and earth science interests, the extent and quality of the habitats represented is particularly notable.

For more information on activities at National Trust properties in Northern Ireland, see



Win one of 1,500 National Trust family passes!

The Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life have teamed up with the National Trust NI to offer our readers the chance to win one of 1,500 family day passes. Enter today and you could be spending a great family day out at one of six top National Trust places in Northern Ireland.

Enter at

Entries close on June 28, 2022. T&Cs apply.

Top Videos