Sometimes the most beautiful spots to find are right on your doorstep. The motorhome has certainly helped us as a family to appreciate the charms of Northern Ireland with new eyes. If you are looking for ideas for Day Trips in Northern Ireland in your motorhome then this is the blog post for you. I am going to introduce you to 5 of our favourite spots to visit with the kids when we go for a quick one or two day trip. In Northern Ireland you can travel easily from the majestic Mourne Mountains to the captivating Causeway Coast in one day; this compact region is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural gems. If you want quaint villages, sandy beaches, lush forests, and iconic landmarks, Northern Ireland can check each of those requests.
Newcastle: Coastal Bliss & Magestic Mountains
My number one spot to visit for a day trip has to be Newcastle in County Down. Now this could be because my husband and I have so many wonderful memories from our childhoods here. As adults and parents we have rediscovered it and appreciate all there is to do there. For a blend of coastal bliss, mountain trails and forest walks, Newcastle is a must-visit spot. Park your motorhome for free in one of the designated spots in the centre of town or at Tullymore Forest Park and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Not far away you can explore the beautiful Murlough Nature Reserve or pack a lunch and head up into the Mourne Mountains. The town is also known for its welcoming atmosphere and charming cafes, making it a delightful stop for a short motorhome retreat or for a day trip. Read more about why we love to visit Newcastle for a familiy friendly adventure in our Motorhome.
Castlewellan: A Historic Gem Surrounded by Beauty
My number two spot has to be Castlewellen. Nestled at the foot of the Mourne Mountains, Castlewellan offers a captivating blend of history and natural beauty. The historic Castlewellan Castle, surrounded by stunning gardens and a pristine lake, provides a picturesque backdrop for exploration. Whether you're into hiking, biking, canoeing or simply unwinding in a tranquil setting, Castlewellan has something to offer every motorhome traveler. We especially love to visit the Arboretum at different times of year and see how the gardens change with the seasons. You can park up in the Castlewellen Forest Park car park for the day for small cost or book into their campsite for the night or find a spot in town to stay for free. The cafes and restaurants in the town are varied and very welcoming.
Slieve Gullion Forest Park: A Wilderness Wonderland
If you want a location where you get a gorgeous walk and plenty for the kids to do on location and all along the walks then head for Slieve Gullion Forest Park. It is a destination that ticks all the boxes.
With its mystical tales, ancient ring forts, and dense woodlands, this park invites visitors to immerse themselves in nature. Embark on a hike to the summit of Slieve Gullion, Armaghs’s highest peak, for panoramic views that stretch far beyond the lush forests. Then take the kids to the Adventure Playpark while you enjoy a coffee at the onsite cafe. Trust me you will not regret this trip.
Carnfunnock: Coastal Views and Adventure Awaits
In the opposite direction from all the other suggestions is Carnfunnock Country Park. Perched on the spectacular Antrim Coast, it promises motorhome travelers a coastal haven with breathtaking views. This expansive park, spanning over 191 hectares, offers a diverse tapestry of landscapes, from lush meadows to rocky cliffs overlooking the Irish Sea. There is also so much for the kids to do from exploring the onsite maze, to enjoying the large play park and at certain times of year going on the funfair type rides. Carnfunnock, steeped in history, is adorned with remnants of its past, including Cairndhu House, a historic mansion that adds an extra layer of charm and spookyness to the surroundings. We visited it during the day around Halloween but some do go at night as it is reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in Northern Ireland.
Ideal for motorhome travelers and for campers, the park boasts well-equipped facilities, from on site cafes to BBQ areas, making it a perfect pitstop for those seeking both tranquility and adventure. With its scenic walking trails, well-maintained gardens, and a multitude of outdoor activities, Carnfunnock Country Park beckons visitors to unwind, explore, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty that defines Northern Ireland's coastal wonders. You can park for a small fee during the day in the car parks or book into the camp site.
Rostrevor: Where Mountains Meet the Sea
Our last, but most certainly not least, favourite destination is Rostrevor; C.S.Lewis's inspiration for Narnia:
We initially came to Rostrevor to visit the Narnia Trail when the children and I were reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for one of our Literature Studies.
Rostrevor is a hidden gem where the mountains meet the sea and since our first visit we have been many times a year every year. From the rugged beauty of the Mourne Mountains to the tranquility of Kilbroney Forest Park, Rostrevor's diverse scenery offers a multitude of outdoor activities from hiking to biking to simply enjoying excellent food in beautiful surroundings. The village itself exudes charm, making it a delightful stopover.
You can park up in Kilbroney Park for the day for free or book into the campsite. From here there are lots of forest walks as well as more strenuous mountain trails. Everything is on your doorstep in Rostrevor.
Until next time
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post on our top 5 destinations for day trips in Northern Ireland in your motorhome. As you can see there is so much to do in this small yet vibrant country. Each destination offers its own unique charm. However, Newcastle, Castlewellan, Rostrevor, Slieve Gullion, and Carnfunnock are just a few of the gems waiting to be discovered in Northern Ireland. So, pack your essentials, hit the road, and let the beauty of Northern Ireland unfold before you, one motorhome stop at a time. Join me next time for another blow by blow trip guide were I will cover some destinations in Southern Ireland which will make you want to pack your bag and get out the door immediately. Let me know in the comments which destination you would like to visit first.