Boyne Valley

Holidays in Ireland

10 Great Boyne Valley Breaks for Couples, Families & Groups

Thatchers Rest Cottage (1)

From beachfront cottages to luxurious country houses, great value hotels to glamping sites, I’ve got 10 great Boyne Valley breaks to suit all tastes and budgets.

We had the pleasure of enjoying some Boyne Valley breaks recently and loved the wide variety of activities available. We visited Newgrange, Trim Castle, Slane, and enjoyed a fabulous boat trip on the River Boyne – and that was just in 24 hours! So many of the Boyne Valley’s top attractions are located close to each other, making it possible to visit many attractions over a short stay. Its close proximity to Dublin makes it an ideal overnight escape for Dubliners, or a good choice for those looking to visit the Capital, but prefer a countryside location.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Top family attractions such as Tayto Park, Causey Farm and the Royal Canal Greenway are located in the Boyne Valley, as well as a host of heritage sites including Brú na Bóinne and Trim Castle. There is a host of attractions for young and old, and there is a wide variety of places to stay in the Boyne Valley. I was delighted when Boyne Valley Tourism asked me to highlight some of the great accommodation options available.

Read: Family activity breaks less than an hour from Dublin

I have selected a small sample of Boyne Valley breaks below, to show you how you can choose to stay in luxury five star accommodation, award-winning self catering cottages, glamping sites, or great value hotels.  

 

1. Bellinter House – The Spa Break for Couples, Friends and Groups

Boyne Valley Breaks in Bellinter House

An 18th Century Country House set in 12 acres of grounds, with a luxury spa on site – sounds like heaven to me! I love that all bedrooms are uniquely-styled, and the outdoor hot tub looks particularly inviting. The Bathhouse Spa is renowned for its signature Seaweed Baths, and has seven rooms with a wide selection of treatments to suit spa lovers.

There is a choice of dining options including the fine dining Eden Restaurant, relaxed dining in the Drawing Room, as well as Afternoon Tea in the Library. There is also a choice of accommodation options – the stunning Loft Residence can accommodate up to 11 guests. Bellinter House is pet-friendly too!

With prices from €60 per person sharing including breakfast, this is a great choice for a spa break in the Boyne Valley.

See more here

 

2. Trim Castle Hotel – The Great Value Break for Couples or Friends

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We stayed in Trim Castle Hotel recently and loved its superb location, great service and dining options. Located next to Trim Castle, the views are fabulous from its roof-top bar. There is a lovely atmosphere in it’s lively lounge and it offers a great casual dining menu too.

You can also enjoy a swim at the Aura Leisure Centre, just pre-book it with the hotel, and make sure you take time to enjoy the Trim Castle River Walk – it was one of the highlights of our trip.

With prices from €40 per person sharing including breakfast, this is one of the best value Boyne Valley breaks.

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3. Kiltale Holiday Homes – The Choice For Large Families & Groups 

cottages to rent in Ireland for large families

The award-winning 4-star Kiltale Holiday Homes are eight individually designed homes set within a working farm. I love the diverse range of homes available. The Stone Cottage and The Dairy – which was originally a Milking Parlour, both caught my eye, but there are also two and three bedroom homes as well as a large six bedroom home that is ideal for groups or extended families.

Family operated, the owners will greet you with tea and coffee and some home made cakes, and are on hand to help you to discover the Boyne Valleys top attractions. Located just five minutes from the heritage town of Trim, and 20 minutes from Tayto Park, you will be spoilt for things to do. 

Tayto Park rollercoaster close to Dublin
Cu Chulainn Rollercoaster at Tayto Park

Children will love meeting the animals at Kiltale Farm and they can even pet the lambs, bottle feed baby goats, or ride a donkey! Rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor, these are a great choice for groups or large families looking for Boyne Valley breaks.

See more here

 

 

4. The Cottages – The Beach Lovers Break

cottages beside the beach in Ireland

These beachside cottages are on my own personal wish list – I dare you not to fall in love with them!  Over 300 years old, these delightful thatched cottages offer luxury holiday accommodation in large organic flower gardens, beside Bettystown Beach.

You can expect a warm Irish welcome, with hot, home-made scones and jam, as well as a welcome pack on arrival. And if this doesn’t impress you, the vaulted oak beamed ceilings, solid oak flooring and feature fireplaces will. The cottages have been beautifully renovated and are well equipped with bathrobes, slippers, Nespresso coffee machines, and usually offer twice weekly housekeeping.
beach holidays in ireland

There are six cottages to choose from, in various sizes and design. The charming Honeymoon Cottage sleeps two, while the gorgeous Thatcher’s Rest Cottage, that won an award for best beach cottage in Europe, accommodates up to six. These exclusive self catering cottages in Meath are rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor and are booked well in advance, particularly for summer months, so my advice is book early!

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 5. The Glenside Hotel – The Great Value Family Break

Glenside Hotel, Louth

Situated in the countryside, yet just 2 km south of the historic town of Drogheda and 7km from Laytown Beach, the 17-bedroomed Glenside Hotel is ideally located to explore the Boyne Valley. The hotel is family-run, with comprehensive children’s menus in the Restaurant and Bar.

Funtasia Waterpark and White River Karting are close by and it is only 20 minutes drive from Tayto Park. It is also a good choice for a beach break with the beaches of Laytown and Bettystown close by.

Children stay free during the summer months, with prices from €130 per room per night including breakfast, this is a great value family break in the Boyne Valley. 

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6. Rock Farm Slane  – The Glamping Break

Rock Farm Slane is one of Ireland’s most popular glamping sites. Stay in one of the five yurts or two shepherd huts on their 150 acre farm along the the banks of the River Boyne. Children will love the chill out zone with iPad docking station, as well as the wood burning stove, clay pizza oven, and large communal fire pit. 

If you fancy a dip, you can choose the private river access for wild swimming, or the outdoor hot tub for a more relaxing experience. Surrounded by a wild meadow and overlooking Slane Castle, it is a wonderful ecotourism destination that will give you a back to nature experience in the Boyne Valley.

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7. Scholars Townhouse Hotel – The Foodie Break

Afternoon Tea at Scholars Townhouse Hotel, Boyne Valley

Originally built in 1867, this charming town house has been tastefully renovated in a modern style. With only 16 bedrooms you can expect a warm welcome and personal service from this family-run hotel. However, the Scholars Townhouse Hotel is probably best known for its award-winning food, where the majority of ingredients are sourced within the Boyne Valley region.   

The Scholars Restaurant is a two AA Rosette Restaurant, while the Gastro Lounge offers more casual dining as well as fine wines, craft beers, local spirits and cocktails.  Afternoon Tea is also available in the Drawing Room, and there is an outdoor area for summer dining. See all menus here.

Located in the heart of Drogheda Town, with the Boyne Valley Camino on your doorstep, why not walk off all that delicious food by walking the 25km loop. With prices from €90 per person including breakfast and dinner, this is the ideal overnight escape.

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8. Decoy Country Cottages – The Self Catering Break with Family Facilities Onsite

Boyne Valley family breaks in Decoy Country Cottages

The eco-friendly Decoy Country Cottages offer all the advantages of a self-catering holiday with the added bonus of having superb onsite facilities. As well as a Day Spa with two treatment rooms, there is a fitness suite, an indoor games room and a BBQ area. And if you fancy a home cooked meal delivered to your door after a day exploring the Boyne Valley, that can be arranged too! 

Children will love the Indoor Den with pool table, air hockey, giant chalkboard, Playstation and board games, as well as the play area outside with giant swing, balance beams, swing bars, sand pit, giant Jenga and boules alley. Every possible need for babies and toddlers can be supplied free of charge, including a stair gate, high chair, steriliser, baby bouncer etc – see more here.

The Den at Decoy Cottages

The cottages are set in a landscaped courtyard and they range in size from one to four bedrooms, the largest sleeping up to eight guests. A complimentary welcome basket is supplied on arrival filled with locally sourced fresh products, and basic food and cleaning products are provided in the cottages. The Decoy Country Cottages are rated as Excellent on TripAdvisor are also pet-friendly too! 

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9. The Hamlet Court Hotel – The Royal Canal Greenway Break

Boyne Valley breaks near the Royal Canal Greenway

The Hamlet Court Hotel is a great value choice if you want to hike or cycle the Royal Canal Greenway. Located on the border of Kildare and Meath, it is just 2km from the Enfield Trailhead. TripAdvisor reviewers praise the food in the new Bistro 61 restaurant, as well as the pub grub in Murty’s Bar.

With prices from €50 per person including breakfast, this is superb value.

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10.  Tankardstown House – The Luxury Break

The best hotels for foodie breaks in Ireland

Tankardstown House is a superb choice for a luxury break away. The 18th Century Manor House exudes elegance and it sits on a massive 80 acre estate. Food lovers will love its choice of dining options. You can enjoy a casual lunch and fine dining in its award-winning Brabazon Restaurant, or Afternoon Tea in the Cellar Restaurant. Guests can dine on the Terrace in the summer months or inside with an open fire in the winter.

You can choose to stay in the one of the Heritage Bedrooms in the Manor House, or a courtyard cottage suite, but make sure you take time to enjoy the outdoor hot tub and enjoy a treatment in The Hideout.

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It is important to note that some hotel facilities may have restrictions in place. Check directly with accommodation for clarification. This post on Boyne Valley breaks was sponsored by DiscoverBoyneValley, but all views are as always, my own.

 

Sarah

 
Holidays in Ireland

5 Family Activity Breaks Less Than An Hour From Dublin 

Boyne Valley activities.

From glamping to greenways, castles to cruises, I’ve got five family activity breaks close to Dublin for the perfect overnight adventure.

I’m pretty sure when you think of the Boyne Valley that Newgrange is the first thing that springs to mind – at least it was for me, until my eyes were opened recently. I was asked by Discover Boyne Valley to look at some family activity breaks that might be of interest to me, and I was amazed by the sheer volume and diversity of activities available.

I’m not just talking about cultural attractions – even though it would be remiss of me not to mention that the Boyne Valley is the birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East. But there is much more to discover in the Boyne Valley than mythical landscapes and Ireland’s legendary UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Newgrange, Brú na Bóinne, Boyne Valley.
Brú na Bóinne

Did you know that Ireland has its very own Camino in the Boyne Valley, and that it is officially recognised and can be included in the 100km required to receive an official Compostela Pilgrims Certificate? – You can read more about this below.

It is also worth mentioning that Ireland’s longest greenway, the newly opened Royal Canal Greenway passes through the Boyne Valley too, a 130km walking and cycling amenity that stretches along the historic canal, with 22kms in Meath at Enfield, Longwood and Hill of Down.

family activity breaks in the Boyne Valley along the Royal Canal Greenway.
Royal Canal Greenway

The Boyne Valley is also home to some gorgeous beaches such as Baltray and Bettystown, and let’s not forget Ireland’s only theme park, Tayto Park is located here. I’m sure a visit to Tayto Park is a regular day out for many families in Dublin, but instead of visiting Tayto Park for a day, why not combine it with some of the other wonderful things to do in the Boyne Valley?

Zoo at Tayto Park
Tiger at Tayto Park

I’ve got boat trips, farm yard adventures, and forest trails, as well as cultural experiences and theme park thrills, all put together with hotel stays for the ultimate family activity breaks.

I have priced these family breaks in the Boyne Valley based on overnight stays during July or August for a family of four, but prices and availability can be checked for larger or smaller families by clicking on the links provided below. Note there may be restrictions in place so please check the latest facilities with hotels and attractions directly.

family activity breaks close to Dublin.

The hotels below have been chosen for close proximity to attractions, but if you prefer glamping to a hotel stay, or would like a hotel with a swimming pool or a games room, simply swap around the hotels and activities to suits your needs.  

 

1. A Knight to Remember: Kayaking & Trim Castle With Knightsbrook Hotel & Spa

The Boyne Blueway has over 35km of rivers to explore. You can enjoy rafting trips or family kayaking, passing through medieval abbeys, castles and bell-towers. Boyne Valley Activities have a wide range of guided and self-guided activities available, most with no experience required. Kids will love listening to stories of brave knights, while passing through walled towns and floating under stone bridges – this is Ireland’s Ancient East at its best. 

family water sports in the Boyne Valley.

Price kayak rental: €130 per family including paddles, helmets and buoyancy aids. See website for prices on other activities.

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Why not start your river adventure in the town of Trim and enjoy the 30-minute Trim Castle River Walk, which provides a glimpse of life in the Middle Ages. You can visit Trim Castle too, the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Europe, which also happens to be the location for the movie Braveheart.  

Trim Castle

After an action packed day, what better than a relaxing stay at the Knightsbrook Hotel. This multi-award-winning hotel won Hotel of the Year and Best Hotel Spa Ireland, at the 2019 Hotel Awards. It boasts an 18-hole championship golf Course, four restaurants and a leisure club and spa onsite. A kids club usually operates during school holidays, as well as a games room, and some of the family rooms can accommodate up to five. 

The Knightsbrook Hotel is a great choice for family activity breaks as it has a swimming pool onsite.

Price: Overnight family break (2 adults & 2 children) with breakfast, and a 2-course evening meal, and full access to the leisure centre: from €199 

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2. Rollercoasters and Relaxation – Tayto Park With Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa

Tayto Park and Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa are two destinations that are worthy of a visit on their own, but combine the two and you have the holy grail of family activity breaks – one that both parents and children will love! Dunboyne Castle also offers two and three-night family activity breaks with meals included – this would allow you to enjoy some of the Boyne Valley’s other attractions, such as Trim Castle, Brú na Bóinne or the newly opened Royal Canal Greenway.

Tayto Park rollercoaster close to Dublin

Tayto Park is Ireland’s only theme park, and is one of the top things to do with kids in the Boyne Valley. If you haven’t already visited, now is your chance. There are attractions for all ages, including Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster, Cú Chulainn, and the Viking Voyage flume ride for thrill-seekers, as well as dedicated junior zone for younger guests.

Tayto Park theme park is located in the Boyne Valley in Ireland

There is also a fabulous zoo with a diverse collection of mammals, including big cats and farmyard animals. Children will love the World of Raptors display featuring birds of prey from around the globe, and depending on restrictions you also take the Tayto factory tour to see how Ireland’s favourite crisps are made.  

Price: All access day pass €35. Junior zone day pass €31. Under 3 have free entry only.

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After a long day out at Tayto Park what better than a relaxing evening at the 4-star Dunboyne Castle Hotel & Spa. Set in 21 acres of gardens and woodlands, with fairy trails for children and a spa with outdoor hot tub for adults, it offers the best of both worlds. Family rooms are spacious with floor to ceiling windows, a HD TV with interactive entertainment system an tea and coffee making facilities. Interconnecting rooms are also available. 

Dunboyne Castle Spa.

Children receive a welcome pack on arrival, and movie nights, family afternoon tea and picnics can be arranged.  You won’t even have to leave the hotel for dinner, as the award-winning Ivy Restaurant is the perfect choice for an evening meal.

Price: Overnight stay (2 adults & 2 children under 12) with breakfast from €145. Two-night family activity breaks with breakfast and 3-course dinner on one evening: from €365

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3. Two-night Glamping, Boating and Camino Adventure 

Always wanted to try the Camino in Spain? Try the Boyne Valley Camino instead! This self-guided, 25km looped walk is ideal for active families who are looking for a challenge, as well as stunning scenery. This can be walked on one day or over a few days, the choice is yours.

Official Camino Passports (order in advance) can be used to collect beautiful stamps created by local artists en route, and if you continue the Camino in Galicia, from A Coruña to Santiago de Compostela (75km), you will complete the 100km required to receive an official Compostela Pilgrims Certificate. Download Boyne Valley Camino Map & Guide here. 

Boyne Valley Camino is a 25km looped walk in county Louth, Ireland.

If the Camino is a stretch too far for you or your children, Littlewood Forest is a great alternative. This gorgeous family-friendly walk dates back to the retreat of the glaciers from Ireland. The forest has diverse woodland areas with huge varieties of trees, fungi and plants – you may even spot the rarest of all orchids – the Broad-leaved Helleborines. You are also likely to encounter some red deer and maybe a rare Pine Marten – a small cat with a bushy tail that were almost extinct in Ireland. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Swap the walking boots for wellies this time, and enjoy an afternoon along the Boyne River. Paddle the route that Stone Age farmers travelled, in a traditional Irish currach – incidentally these are the same boats that were used in Game of Thrones series.

You will be accompanied by Ross, a legendary boat-builder and storyteller who will share insights into the making of Game of Thrones. He is brimming with stories and will also recount tales from the battlefield during the Battle of the Boyne. This fascinating tour combines outdoor activity, mythology and history into one magical family experience. 

 

Price: Family of four €79, or €99 for family of six, for a 90-minute tour.

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Complete this outdoors family adventure with a two-night stay at Rock Farm Slane – one of Ireland’s most popular glamping sites. Stay in one of the five yurts or two shepherd huts on their 150 acre farm along the the banks of the River Boyne. Children will love the chill out zone with iPad docking station, as well as the wood burning stove, clay pizza oven, and large communal fire pit. 

roasting marshmallows at Rock Farm Slane glamping site, close to Dublin.
Rock Farm Slane

If you fancy a dip, you can choose the private river access for wild swimming, or the outdoor hot tub for a more relaxing experience. Surrounded by a wild meadow and overlooking Slane Castle, it is a wonderful ecotourism destination that will give you a back to nature experience in the Boyne Valley.

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4. Ice Cream Adventure at Causey Farm & Girley Bog Eco Walk With Headfort Arms Hotel

Causey Farm is renowned for its family-friendly events at Halloween and Christmas time, but their Ice cream Adventure was also a great success last summer. Reopening in July and August, families will follow the trail, solving puzzles and playing games along the way, as well as meeting some of Causey’s farm animals. Of course an Ice Cream Adventure has to have ice cream too! 

 

Prices are €11 for adults and children, under 2 are free.

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Located just eight minutes from Causey Farm is the Girley Bog Eco Walk. This 5.6 km walk is ideal for children of all ages, where they will discover forest and raised bogland – a habitat that is becoming increasingly scarce in Ireland and the E.U. Watch out for a variety of animals, birds and plant life, and there are interpretive panels along the walk. Walking boots or wellies are recommended! 

Girley Bog Walk in the Boyne Valley

The family-run 4-star Headfort Arms hotel is located in the village of Kells, just 10 minutes drive from both Causey Farm and Girley Bog, and is an ideal choice for family activity breaks in the Boyne Valley. It has an award-winning restaurant, as well as its own Wood Fired pizza oven, so you have the choice of casual or fine dining. You will also find treatment rooms if you need some pampering. 

Headfort Arms Hotel, Kells.

Price: Overnight family stay (2 adults & 2 children) with breakfast from €149

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5. The Cultural Choice – Brú na Bóinne With Trim Castle Hotel

Brú na Bóinne is one of only three Unesco World Heritage sites we have in Ireland – Skellig Michael and the Giants Causeway are the other two. We should feel duty bound to visit. I mean, when we go abroad we visit the world’s top attractions, so why not do the same at home? 

Brú na Bóinne means ‘mansion’ of the Boyne and refers to the area within the bend of the River Boyne which contains one of the world’s most important prehistoric landscapes. 

Brú na Bóinne, Boyne Valley.

The new state of the art, immersive visitor centre transports visitors back 5000 years to the pinnacle of passage tomb building, when Brú na Bóinne contained some of the largest buildings in the world. In case you didn’t already know, Newgrange pre-dates the pyramids of Giza by 400 years and Stonehenge by 1000 years!

Over three hundred decorated stones make up Knowth which represents the greatest concentration of Megalithic art in Western Europe. The lesser known Dowth makes up the third site, but you are unable to access its interior.

The visitor centre is the starting point for all visits to Newgrange and Knowth – you can not gain entry to the monuments without visiting the centre first.  Tickets are limited so it is vital you book in advance. 

Prices: Family tours from €28 – €48 depending on whether you want to visit the interior of the Newgrange tomb or the exterior.

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To complete this cultural activity break why not pay a visit to Trim Castle? It is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Europe, and also happens to be the location where the movie Braveheart was filmed. After your visit make sure you take 30-minutes to enjoy the scenic Trim Castle River Walk too.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Price: Family admission to the castle: €13. No charge for river walk.

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Finish off your day with an overnight stay in the highly rated Trim Castle Hotel. With a choice of dining options and free access to the Aura Leisure Centre located just five minutes away, this four-star hotel is a super choice for family activity breaks close to Dublin. Some of the family rooms can also accommodate up to two adults and four children.

Rooftop lounge at Trim Castle Hotel.

 
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The Boyne Valley is a land of legends filled with round towers and ancient castles, but it is also full of family adventures that are waiting to be discovered. Book one of these family activity breaks this summer and go experience them – I might see you there!
 
This post was sponsored by DiscoverBoyneValley, but all views are as always, my own.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah
 
 

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