Wexford in Ireland’s sunny South East, is home to 275km of coastline, with wide open sandy beaches and lots to do for a fun-filled family holiday! Check out my top things to do in Wexford with kids.
We were invited by Wexford Tourism to go for the weekend and enjoy some of the family activities available. We were lucky to stay in Kelly’s Resort Hotel, one of Ireland’s best family hotels. In truth, it was difficult to leave it, but there is so many things to do in Wexford with kids, we had to get out and see as many as possible in our short visit.
Before you visit your first port of call should be to the Visit Wexford website. You will see a wide range of information on things to do in Wexford, what’s on, where to stay as well as dining options. Make sure you register for their children’s interactive passports. Filled with details on top family attractions as well as puzzles, word searches and spot the difference, this is a great way to get the kids ready for your trip.
1. Visit Irish National Heritage Park
Our visit to the Irish National Heritage park was a big surprise for me, and is one of my favourite things to do in Wexford with kids. Seeing 9,000 years of Irish history in one place was remarkable. You can opt for audio or self guided walks, but we took the guided tour which I would highly recommend. Our guide, Ben, had a vast knowledge and was clearly familiar with leading children on guided tours. Dressed in full costume, he kept all the kids entertained for ninety minutes.
After a brief audio visual presentation, the walking tour began. We learned how the first inhabitants settled in and began to explore Ireland, 9,000 years ago after the Ice Age. We were guided through replicas of their homes and told how they lived. The tour evolves to show how Irish people lived through the Stone Age, Bronze Age, when the Vikings came, right up to when the Normans came in 1169. There are 16 different sites including a Megalithic tomb, medieval ringfort, stone circle and a crannog. The Irish National Heritage Park is a wonderful open air museum.
Most of the children had some knowledge of crannogs and tomb stones from their school history. Ben, our guide, picked up on this and asked questions to keep the kids interested. The replica of a 1,500 year old ringfort is remarkable. You can even stay over night here – check out my post on Airbnb glamping sites in Ireland here.
As well as being an educational day out, there are resident ducks, friendly birds and two adventure playgrounds on site. Kids can also pan for gold and if they find some, they will get a certificate from the reception desk after the tour. The National Heritage Park is a great family day out and shouldn’t be missed.
See more at IrishHeritage.ie
2. Splash about at Pirates Cove
On a fine day, it is hard to beat Pirates Cove in Courtown. There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages. We were blessed with blue skies, so the bumper boats were a big hit for all of us. Although contained in a small space, we managed to have lots of fun. The adventure golf course is great and is worth the trip alone but we managed to fit in a few more activities while we were there!
The kids loved the bubble rollers (or zorbs) but there are also paddle boats and go karts for younger children. If you are unlucky with the weather there is a ten pin bowling alley and fun caves, complete with bouncy castles and ball pools.
During school holidays in the Summer months there is an Aqua Zone on the beach, with a giant inflatable trampoline, rope swings and a 20ft water slide. I love that you don’t have a large entrance fee. If you want to play golf and nothing else, then that’s all you pay for. Likewise with bowling, bumper boats etc, each activity is priced separately.
See more at PiratesCove.ie
3. Have lunch in The Kitchen
We stopped at The Kitchen Restaurant in Gorey on our way down from Dublin, and we were very impressed. There is a wide selection of tasty meals including light lunches, sandwiches or substantial mains, as well as a sizeable kids menu. All food is prepared on site using local, organic ingredients, that are in season.
I enjoyed a tasty Chicken Caesar salad and my husband Cormac love his Bresaloa on toasted Ciabatta. There are burgers, wood-fired pizzas as well as pasta and curry, it is safe to say that all tastes are catered for here. The Kitchen is also the proud winner of the ‘Best Casual Dining in Wexford award at the Irish Restaurant Awards recently.
See more at TheKitchenGorey.ie
4. Spend an afternoon on the beach
Wexford is home to plenty of wide sandy beaches, including the famous Curracloe Beach that was used in Steven Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private Ryan. There are six with Blue Flags and eight with Green Coast awards. The hardest decision is which one to choose.
Curraloe is home to the Surf Shack adventure centre, which offers family surf lessons, paddle boarding and summer camps. If you don’t fancy getting wet, they also offer sand boarding. There are also many quiet secluded beaches, if you fancy some quiet beach time. Check out Dollar Bay or better still, go find your own!
Courtown is a lively seaside town which is ideal if you want to spend the day at the beach but have shops and restaurants close by. It is also home to Pirates Cove, and the Seal Rescue centre. This is the only seal rescue facility in Ireland and it rehabilitates over 120 seals a year and returns them to the wild. It is a charity organisation and free tours are available from 10am to 5pm every day. Donations are appreciated.
See more at VisitWexford.ie
5. Visit Hook Lighthouse
After seeing remarkable sunset pictures on twitter I have vowed to visit Hook Lighthouse on numerous occasions but unfortunately didn’t make it this time. However, as the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, I couldn’t leave it off this list of things to do in Wexford with kids. Not only is it one of Wexford’s top attractions, but it is one of Ireland’s too.
The location is enough reason to visit, standing on the top of the Hook Peninsula, in the corner of Ireland’s Ancient East, it is a photographers dream. The tour involves climbing 115 steps to the top of the tower where you can see panoramic views of the Southeast of Ireland. You will also hear tales of life as a lighthouse keeper in Ireland. During the Summer months there are free games on the lawn most days, as well as art classes, BBQ’s and entertainment at weekends. Tours are available 7 days a week, including special sunset and sunrise tours – one for my next visit to Wexford for sure.
For more visit HookHeritage.ie
These are just five things to do in Wexford with kids, there are so much more. Let me know your favourites by commenting below. I hope to get back to visiting Wexford very soon and I will add more to this list when I visit.