The coastal city of Dublin is the best of both worlds – exciting city activity and relaxing beach break. In the city you’ll find Botanic Gardens, beautiful parks and tranquil riverside scenery. Meanwhile on the coastline there are craggy cliffs lined with ancient castles and miles of unspoiled sandy beaches. So in our opinion it’s perfect for a family escape.
1. Airfield Estate
A 38-acre estate with a working farm, manicured gardens, an award winning restaurant and a stately family home. The estate, left to the Irish people in 1974, is now a charitable hub running social enterprises for local communities.
On the farm you can taste fresh milk from the Jersey herd, meet two fostered Donkeys, collect eggs from the free range hens and watch baby animal feedings.
They also run workshops such as Bee Keeping and Nose to Tail Butchery, to encourage visitors to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle.
Opening Hours: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm / 6 pm (winter / summer)
2. Malahide Castle
Popular with families all year round, Malahide Castle boasts amazing grounds with lots to do. The outside space is really the main attraction here. Firstly you will find a large playground, picnic sites, a fairy trail, a walled garden and a butterfly house. Most importantly there’s loads of open green space and woodland for the kids to run around in. Lastly, there’s a visitor centre with an educational interactive exhibition and a great café too.
In addition, guided tours of the castle are available. Inside you can admire The Oak Room, The Small & Large Drawing Rooms and the Great Hall, learning all about its 800 year history.
Opening hours: Open daily 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
3. Phoenix Park
An award winning park is known as ‘Dublin’s playground’, which covers an area of over 700 hectares. Within it you will find the excellent Dublin Zoo, a medieval tower house, a Victorian walled garden and a herd of wild fallow deer roaming the woodland. In addition, the interesting visitor centre has regularly changing art exhibitions and a large playground for the kids. So you really could spend all day exploring this beautiful space, if the weather is good.
Address: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8, Ireland
Opening Hours: Open 24/7 (individual attractions may vary)
4. Dublin Bay & Beaches
If the weather is sunny, exploring Dublin’s coastline is a must for long windy walks, a paddle in the sea and all the ice cream you can eat. Craggy cliffs, sandy beaches, pretty seaside towns and countless cafes line Dublin Bay, all waiting to be discovered .It’s easy to travel around by DART train to the pretty coastal suburbs such as Howth and Dun Laoghaire.
From Howth you can take the 15 minute ferry to Ireland’s Eye – a beautiful island with a long sandy beach and breathtaking views of Dublin Bay.
If you are visiting in March, you might catch the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival in Howth – a great opportunity to teach the kids about where their food comes from, and to sample some delicious seafood.
5. St. Stephen’s Green
Finally, a lovely city centre park with an ornamental lake, children’s playground, 3.5km of paths for cycling and walking and plenty of open green space. A lovely spot for a picnic, popular with local dog walkers, joggers and families. During the summer there are often live concerts on the bandstand too.
Opening Hours: Open during daylight hours
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