Top things to do in Wexford with kids - visit Wells House & Gardens

Top 10 Things to do in Wexford With Kids

From Meerkat Experiences, to Enchanted Woodland Walks, adopting seals to pirate adventures, check out my top things to do in Wexford with kids.

Wexford in Ireland’s sunny South East, is home to 275km of coastline, with an abundance of wide open sandy beaches. However, it was the animal experiences and woodland walks that captivated us on our recent visit. There are so many things to do in Wexford with kids, we needed a few visits to see them.
 

 

 
A few years ago were invited by Visit Wexford to go for the weekend and enjoy some of the family activities available. We were stayed in Kelly’s Resort Hotel, one of Ireland’s best family hotels. In truth, it was difficult to leave it, but we managed to take in a few of the family activities in Wexford during our short visit.
 

 

 
Luckily we managed to return this year for an overnight stay in the Riverside Park Hotel. This 4-star hotel offers spacious family rooms and superb dining options and is great value for a family stay. We visited some more of the top family attractions in Wexford this year, so I have updated this post to bring you ten great things to do in Wexford with kids.
 

 

 

1. Visit Irish National Heritage Park

Our visit to the Irish National Heritage park was a big surprise for me, and is one of the best 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 well used to leading children on guided tours. Dressed in full costume, he kept all the kids entertained for ninety minutes.
 

 

 
The tour showed us 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.

things to do in Wexford with kids

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

top things to do in Wexford with kids - visit National Heritage Park

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.

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2. Enjoy enchanted walks and animal experiences at Wells House & Gardens

The Gruffalo Walk is one of the best things to do in Wexford with kids

Boasting 400 years of history in 450 acres of gardens, woodlands and parkland, Wells House and Gardens is one of those rare treats that is equally appealing to young and old. We visited recently and my only complaint was I didn’t have enough time to see everything! House tours are available on Saturday and Sunday, but are restricted at the moment due to Covid. However the enchanted walks are cause enough to visit.
 

 

 
The much loved Gruffalo Walk, which is also one of Ireland’s best fairy trails, is superb. Who doesn’t love the Gruffalo? This is not only perfect for toddlers – my 10 year old loved it too. But for older children who may think they are too cool for a Gruffalo Walk – Mogue’s Enchanted Woodland Walk is sure to please. With trolls, bears, wizards and a 20ft high Dragon, it will captivate children of all ages.
 

 

 
But that’s not all…

The animal farm has goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, budgies, meerkats, racoons, and two tortoise! Entrance to Wells House and Gardens includes entry to the farm and Woodland Walks, but you can also book animal experiences. There are two options available, both are priced at a very reasonable €30 per family on top of the admission price.
 

 

 
During the Exotic Animal Experience we learned how the racoons and tortoise are looked after, and how they came to Wells House and Gardens. We were also able to interact and feed them. The Meerkat Experience was another wonderful experience where we got up close to this cheeky family of furry friends – these are superb family experiences that children will love.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I recommend spending at least four hours in Wells House and Gardens, and even longer if you want to enjoy some lunch at Brambles Restaurant, or take a tour of Wells House. 

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3. Adopt a seal at Ireland’s only Seal Rescue Centre

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We had the pleasure of visiting Ireland’s only seal rescue facility and saw first hand the incredible work that these people do – they rescued 170 seals in 2020 alone! It is a charity organisation and tours are available at just €20 per person  – although I would highly recommend adopting a seal too.
 

 

 
For a mere €25 you can adopt one of these gorgeous pups, to help the centre rehabilitate and release seals back into the wild. My daughter and her friend are now the proud parents of Giant Otter ( this year all rescued seals were named after endangered animals).

They got their names on the adoption certificate and will receive updated information and photographs on her progress to ‘fishing school’ and her release back into the wild – 70% of all rescued seals are released back to the sea.

Adopt a seal at the Seal Rescue Centre is one of the top things to do in Wexford with kids
 

 

 
The tour includes a brief introduction on why seals need rescuing, the results of over use of plastics, and why we need to protect our oceans. We were able to see the seal ICU, their kennels, and the pools that the rescued seals are eventually moved to. We were also able to feed the seals – something the kids loved.

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4. Splash about at Pirates Cove

On a fine day, it is hard to beat Pirates Cove in Courtown. We visited here a few years ago when the kids were younger and they loved it. 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 (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.
 
things to do in Wexford with kids
 

 

 
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.

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5. Visit Hook Lighthouse

 

 
 
 
 
 
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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. I have visited the Hook Peninsula, and love its stunning scenery, but I still haven’t managed to take the tour of Hook Lighthouse – I will have to make sure I do this on my next visit to Wexford.
 

 

 
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 seven days a week, including special sunset and sunrise tours.

Note due to Covid restrictions indoor tours are unavailable, but outdoor guided walking tours are available, and the visitors centre is currently open.

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6. Spend a day at the beach

 

 
 
 
 
 
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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. Duncannon beach is another popular choice, and is very popular with kite surfers and sea kayaking. The Irish Experience organise water based family activities here.
 

 

 
There are also many quiet secluded beaches, if you fancy some quiet beach time. Check out Dollar Bay and Booley Bay on the Hook Peninsula or better still, go find your own!

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7. Have lunch in The Kitchen

 

 
 
 
 
 
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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.

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8. Visit Secret Valley Wildlife Park

Secret Valley Wildlife Park, Wexford

The award-winning Secret Valley Wildlife Park is a place I haven’t had the chance to visit yet – but it is on my list! With everything from creepy crawlies to pony rides, alpacas to lemurs, there is plenty here to keep your children entertained. Children are able to interact and feed some of the animals, while outdoor play areas and keeper experiences complete this fun family day out.

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9. Hang out at the International Outdoor Adventure Centre

IOAC family campsite in Ireland is a great choice for holidays in Ireland with teenagers.

A visit to the  IOAC, International Outdoor Adventure Centre, is one of the best things to do in Wexford with kids. Home to high ropes, crate stacking, archery, and kayaking on its purpose-built activity lake – this is a teenagers paradise. You can also choose to stay here, with camping pitches, glamping pods and an RV park on site.  It is also pet-friendly.

Read: Where to holiday with teenagers in Ireland

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10. Go in search of puffins on the Saltee Islands

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A trip to the Saltee Islands is a popular day out for families looking for adventure. Located just 5km from Kilmore Quay, a 20 minute boat ride will take you to these unspoilt islands which are a Special Area of Conservation. You should see a remarkable collection of seabirds and wildlife including puffins and gannets, although it is important to note that the puffins tend to vacate the islands in mid July.
 

 

 
You should also be aware that there are no facilities on the island and there is a chance that you will get your feet wet at the landing point. This trip may not be suitable for younger children, and is definitely not suitable for buggies. However, if you are looking for true adventure in Wexford, with a taste of the exotic, the Saltee Islands might just tick that box. 

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I hope you enjoyed my top 10 things to do in Wexford with kids. Let me know your favourites by commenting below.

 

Sarah

 

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