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Clandeblog 10 of the best country parks in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Experience the natural beauty of Northern Ireland by visiting its wonderful country parks and forest parks. Whether you enjoy walking trails or are looking for family-friendly activities, these parks offer the perfect escape. Here's a guide to some of the best country parks that you can explore.

1. Crawfordsburn Country Park

Waterfall at Crawfordsburn Country Park, Tourism Ireland

Located on the County Down coast, Crawfordsburn Country Park combines woodlands, meadows, and beautiful beaches. Wander through its woodlands and meadows, stroll along one of the two beaches, or enjoy activities like wild swimming and water sports. The visitor centre and on-site café provide perfect spots to refuel and relax.

2. Redburn Country Park

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Redburn Country Park, Ards & North Down Borough Council

Just a stone’s throw from the town of Holywood, Redburn Country Park offers scenic walking trails and a panoramic viewpoint of Belfast Lough. It's also great for bird watching and offers a unique vantage point for plane spotting.

3. Slieve Gullion Forest Park

Slieve Gullion Forest Park, Tourism Ireland

Located in County Armagh, Slieve Gullion Forest Park showcases rugged beauty of the region. Winding trails, a scenic drive, a children's play park, and a coffee courtyard make it a family favourite. Children will be thrilled with the Fionn's Giant Adventure story trail, which brings local legends to life.

4. Carnfunnock Country Park

Carnfunnock Country Park, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council @SyncImaging

Boasting stunning views of the Irish Sea, Carnfunnock Country Park provides a range of activities for all ages. Explore the walled garden, woodland trails, and maze. Kids will love the adventure playground, and there's even a driving range and snack shop - great for family days out.

5. Tollymore Forest Park

Tollymore Forest Park, Chris Hill Photographic

Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty at the base of the majestic Mourne Mountains in County Down, Tollymore Forest Park is a true gem in Northern Ireland. Its woodlands, rivers, and mountains offer a breathtaking backdrop. Fun fact: Tollymore Forest Park appeared in season 1 of Game of Thrones, as both the haunted forest north of the Wall and the Wolfswood outside Winterfell.

6. Castlewellan Forest Park

Cycling at Castlewellan Forest Park, MountainBikeNI.com

Set amidst mountains and sea, Castlewellan Forest Park features a lake, forest trails, picturesque gardens, and Castlewellan Castle. Whether you're there for the scenic views, diverse walks, mountain biking trails, or child-friendly activities like the Peace Maze, this park is a haven for outdoor lovers.

7. Glenariff Forest Park

Ess-na-Larach waterfall at Glenariff Forest Park, Tourism Ireland photographed by Stefan Schnebelt

Known as the "Queen of the Glens," Glenariff is a breathtaking valley in the Antrim Glens. Glenariff Forest Park offers woodland, lakes, walking trails, horse riding, and picnic areas. Don't miss the Ess-na-Larach waterfall!

8. Cave Hill Country Park

Cave Hill views, Tourism Northern Ireland

Dominating the Belfast skyline, Cave Hill provides panoramic views of the city and is home to Cave Hill Castle. It offers a range of walking trails for all levels of difficulty. Fun fact: it is said to have inspired Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels".

9. Gosford Forest Park

Cycling at Gosford Forest Park, Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon Council

Located near Markethill in County Armagh, Gosford Forest Park is a hidden gem with woodland and open parkland. Stroll along lakeside paths and explore the diverse flora and fauna. It's also home to Gosford Castle, an impressive 19th-century mansion that gained fame as the setting for House Tully in Game of Thrones.

10. Delamont Country Park

Miniature Railway at Delamont Country Park, Visit Mourne Mountains

Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough, Delamont Country Park offers peace, beauty, and stunning views. It's perfect for walking, nature enthusiasts, and family days. Children in particular, will love the play park and Miniature Railway, a 1km train ride featuring a Thomas the Tank Engine lookalike engine (seasonal).

Visiting country parks in Northern Ireland

Luxury Loft bedroom at Clandeboye Lodge

Discover Northern Ireland's country parks from the comfort of Clandeboye Lodge, nestled in the Ards & North Down area. Our stylish bedrooms and suites offer the perfect place to rest your feet after a day of exploring. Plus, our on-site Coq & Bull brasserie serves the finest, local and seasonal produce. We also offer plenty of free car parking and electric vehicle charging (EVC) facilities.

For more inspiration, discover some of our favourite local walking trails.

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