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Top Tips for Families Visiting Donegal

Summertime in Donegal; Lots to See and Do!

The summer is almost upon us! Yes folks, summer time is definitely here so it's that time of year when we need to start thinking about getting out with the kids making some space in our lives for some quality family time. Here are some top class suggestions to start you off and what better time than the present to make the most of the Summer Holidays and sample some of the variety of first rate family activities available to us here in Donegal. Our list has indoor and outdoor activities so you can enjoy Donegal with the kiddies whatever the weather!

Oakfield Park (Click for details)

A lush landscape containing parkland, mature woodlands, formal gardens, lakes and breath-taking vistas surround the beautifully restored Oakfield House which dates back to 1739. Oakfield Park includes beautiful walled gardens with deep flower beds, a kitchen garden, flower meadows, ponds, streams, wetlands, a par-terre, a castle, a classical lakeside Nymphaeum, garden sculptures, heritage listed trees and a newly established international collection of oaks. The gardens can be explored on foot or by train on the 4.5km narrow gauge railway.

Portsalon Luxury Glamping (Click for details)

A great opportunity to let your children roam free and enjoy the outdoors while the entire family gets back to nature and get to enjoy a great family adventure that should live long in the memories of all. See Donegal from a unique perspective among unspoiled countryside and a stunning beach just a walk away. 

Portsalon Luxury Camping has stunning coastal views and mountain scenery. Each of the yurts have a king sized bed (all bed linen provided), double sofa bed and wood burning stove inside. There is a barbecue area and firepit outside. 

Bicycles are available to rent. Eggs from free range hens on site are available, as are excess vegetables from the vegetable garden. Wood for the wood burning stoves is also available. 

The world renowned blue flag beach ‘Ballymastocker Strand’ is approximately one mile from the site. Nearby Portsalon village offers one general shop, two restaurants, one pub, and the famous Portsalon golf club with clubhouse facilities.

Tropical World at Acorns (Click for details)

An ideal day out for kids of all ages. Tropical butterflies in free flight along with lemurs, meerkats and coatimundis make this mini zoo a must see destination in Donegal. With tropical birds, owls and its own reptile house, Tropical World has something for everyone. Being 90% indoors, its perfect whatever the weather.

Visitors can also learn about the environment and conservation as they enjoy their walk through Tropical World. Tropical World aims to engross children and adults alike, all the while educating them about the beautiful world we live in. This area is fully covered and ideal for family, youth and school trips, come rain or shine.

Waterworld Bundoran (Click for details)

It currently has the fastest slide in Ireland, The Whizzer (9.2 degree drop), a Tornado slide (50m long) and a Twister slide (a separate aqua catch landing and a yellow scute shute slide and surf slide for the younger kids). 
Waterworld currently has two 24 metre swimming pools, one is a slide pool (the slides finish into this pool) and the other is a wave pool, which has beach entry water features, with five different wave patterns and two speed rapids. A sure delight for children regardless of age! 

Lurgybrack Open Farm (Click for details)

This centuries old farm building is home to a range of friendly farm animals that children can come face to face with. There are a large variety of animals to see and enjoy, baby kids and lambs can be bottle fed. The rabbits can be handled and cuddled in the pet corner. Kids can enjoy the large playground and sandpit area, have fun on the barrel train run, and feed the ducks. The variety of animals living in harmony in Lurgybrack is sure to amaze and delight little minds. There is ample space to play safely, wander by the riverside, walk or just sit back and unwind with a tasty snack from our tea room or bring your own family picnic.

Ards Forest Park (Click for details)

Situated on the N56, between Creeslough and Dunfanaghy in Donegal, Ards Forest Park is one of the most beautiful and varied of Ireland's Forest Parks.
At Ards Forest Park there are a number of signposted walks incorporating the main features of the park. These include the Arts Heritage Trail which is 3.5km long, the nature trail and the green trail which are both 3km long and the Red Trail which is 13km long. This walk does incorporate some provision for shortcuts back to the starting point should the weather change.
The park is 480 hectares in extent and contains a large diversity of plant and wildlife forms. Sandy beaches, rivers, viewing points, nature walks, picnic and play areas. Hours can be spent here in complete relaxation, be it on the many nature walks or on its golden beaches. It is a place for everyone to get away for a while.
There is also a car park and a children's play area.

 A trip with a difference on board The Donegal Bay Waterbus (Click for details)

The tour includes a full commentary on the history and geography of Donegal Bay by an experienced and fully trained crew, combined with a sprinkling of Irish humour, which ensures that passengers are kept both informed and entertained during the voyage. Highlights on the tour include a close encounter with Seal Island and its 200 strong seal colony and unparalleled views of the Bluestack Mountains and the gorgeous Donegal coastline. 
Live musical entertainment is provided on the homeward leg of each tour and there is even a dance floor for those who wish to ‘waltz on the water’. With easy access for all from the pier and plenty of parking on the quayside, this tour is ideal for old and young alike and is perfect for families, tour groups, and independent travellers. 

Gartan Outdoor Adventure Centre (Click for details)

Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre is situated on a large 87-acre woodland estate and on the shores of beautiful Lough Gartan. The secluded location in the heart of Donegal, makes for an ideal base for a wide variety of adventure activities. For over a quarter of century Gartan Outdoor Education and Training Centre has been providing courses at all levels in a wide range of outdoor pursuits. From Outdoor Learning and Adventure Sport training courses to holidays and guided trips, there are activities to suit all levels of experience on offer. Activities available include Archery, Canadian Canoing, Coasteering, Gorge Walking, Hillwalking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Orienteering, Power Boating, Raft Building, Rock Climbing, Sailing, Sea Kayaking, Surfing, Whitewater Kayaking, Windsurfing. 

Play Centres(Click for details)

If you prefer your fun-times under cover then you’ll discover an abundance of options for entertaining kids indoors throughout Donegal and below are a few ideas.

There’s no shortage of indoor play centres, with Dizzy’s Den in Bundoran, Wain’s World in Buncrana, and Arena7 in Letterkenny, Craic@Jacks in Ballybofey  to name a few.Perhaps one of the county's cinemas is the ideal spot to treat the kids to a movie and popcorn, or maybe some swimming pool fun in Bundoran, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Redcastle, or Ballybofey.

For more information on all things Donegal, check out www.govisitdonegal.com