In Northern Ireland, you can rely on having 4 seasons of weather most days! Rain should never get in the way though, so here at the Family Travel Pro we’ve put together our top ideas for rainy day activities with kids in Northern Ireland.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids – Museums
600-year old Enniskillen Castle is home to 2 museums which are perfect for a rainy day activity in Northern Ireland. The Inniskillings Museum tells the story of Enniskillen’s two regiments, The Royal Inniskilling Fusilliers and the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. The museum is home to uniforms, weapons and medals and gives insight into the regiments’ most famous battles.
The same entry ticket gets you into the Fermanagh County Museum, charting the history and culture of the area. The museum’s exhibitions cover the history of Fermanagh, traditional rural life, local crafts and the famous pottery at Belleek.
The Ulster Transport Museum, in Cultra about 15 minutes drive from Belfast, is great on a rainy day. With planes, trains and automobiles, it’s a kids delight. You’ll find a collection of DeLorean cars, 40 full-sized railway vehicles and both real and replica aircraft. There’s also a Titanic exhibition too, with stories and artefacts from the ship. If the rain dries up for a while, why not combine with a visit to the sister museum, the Ulster Folk Museum?
The Ulster Museum in Belfast is free to visit and is home to an impressive collection of exhibits that children will love. From its famous Egyptian Mummy, to dinosaurs and Peter the Polar Bear, adults and children of all ages will enjoy a visit to the Ulster Museum. Make sure to check out the Discovery Centres where kids can get hands on with some of the exhibits!
The North Down Museum in Bangor is another free option for a wet day. The museum charts the development of Bangor and the local area from the bronze age right up to present day. There’s a great café too and if the weather clears, you take a walk through the woodlands towards the Aurora Leisure Centre with its great leisure pool.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids – Visitor Attractions
Titanic Belfast – the World’s Leading Visitor Attraction in 2016 – is a superb option on a rainy day. With 9 interactive galleries charting the birth and sinking of the famous Titanic ship, this makes a great family day out. We particularly enjoyed the ‘journey’ through the shipyards understanding her construction and the ship building process.
Belleek Pottery, in Fermanagh on the banks of Lough Erne, is a great place to visit on a wet day. Children are very much at the heart of their superb ‘Bloomfield’s Trail’, named after the founder of the Belleek Pottery. The trail tells the story of how pottery is made, with plaques to look for from clues throughout the journey.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids – Indoor Play and Exploration Centres
Soft-play centres are often the ‘go-to’ rainy day activity but if you’re looking for an indoor alternative, why not check out some of the ideas below?
Quality Time in Banbridge is a unique play space for younger children, with a strong educational focus. The play themes change regularly and booking is essential as space is limited. This is a great place to be able to play closely with your children and is suitable for kids up to around 8 years old.
Situated in Newry City Centre, the Imaginarium is Northern Ireland’s first dedicated arts venue for children and young people and is a perfect rainy day family activity. It has an arts café where kids can undertake art projects, a story telling space and a creative play space. Check out all of their programmes on the Imaginarium website and remember to book especially during the school holidays!
W5 is a fantastic hands-on science museum in the Titanic Quarter of Belfast, within the Odyssey complex. Kids will find hours of entertainment within the various galleries. There is a particularly good gallery – ‘Discovery’ – for those under 8. It has tonnes of exhibits but we particularly love the pretend shop, the water play area and the disco zone! There’s also a fantastic climbing frame running between the galleries and ‘Space Base’, a soft play zone (additional charges apply). You could easily spend a whole (rainy) day here!
The Jet Centre in Coleraine and Johnny Rockos in Irvinestown are great options too for rainy day activities with older kids. Both have bowling lanes, soft play areas and good places to eat, and you’ll also find a cinema and arcade area at the Jet Centre too.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids – Aquariums
Where better to head on a rainy day than somewhere already wet?! Northern Ireland’s aquariums are perfect on a rainy day.
The Riverwatch Aquarium, just outside the city centre of Derry-Londonderry, is a great free day out for families in Northern Ireland. With 8 different habitats found in the local area, you’ll be able to see lobsters, crabs, starfish and a host of other fish and shellfish, and all for free!
Portaferry is home to the Exploris Aquarium and with only a couple of the exhibits being outside, rain won’t stop play at Exploris! Your journey through the aquarium will see you find Dory and Nemo and experience sharks, rays and a turtle. You’ll then come up close with the Exploris seals, all of whom have been rescued locally. You’ll enjoy reading about their stories and seeing them swim in the underwater viewing pools. Otters, a crocodile, snakes and lizards complete this fantastic family day out. There’s also a small soft play area for younger children and a super café where you can watch the seals from above if it is wet outside.
Rainy Day Activities for Kids – Get Active!
On a rainy day, kids will often have a lot of energy to burn and there are a lot of great indoor activities in Northern Ireland to help run (or skate or bounce) off some of that energy!
Why not head to Dundonald Icebowl and try your hands at ice skating? Beginners are very welcome at the Icebowl and there are skating aids available for children to help them find their feet. The Icebowl also has a bowling alley and soft play area, and if the rain stops, there’s mini golf too!
Trampoline parks have grown in popularity over the last few years and are a great option when your looking for rainy day activities for kids in Northern Ireland. Check out We Are Vertigo in Belfast and Air-tastic in Bangor, both now with inflatable courses too. Air-tastic also has trampoline centres in Craigavon and Belfast, and you’ll find Jump Boxx in Banbridge and Jump Lanes in Derry-Londonderry.
We hope the ideas above have helped you plan some fun activities for a rainy day in Northern Ireland. If the rain does stop, or if you’re looking for more inspiration why not check out:
- A-Z of family activities in Northern Ireland
- The best places to get up close with Animals in NI
- Our guide to free family fun in NI