Day Trip to Lisburn and Castlereagh
The Lisburn and Castlereagh area lies just 6-9 miles south of Belfast. Visitors can explore historic villages, quaint shops, Ireland's oldest family-run independent brewery and one of Northern Ireland's most magnificent stately homes. The area features an abundance of history and heritage, including the story of the Irish linen industry, as well as plenty of family fun and outdoor adventures. View map of attractions >>
History and Heritage
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
Hillsborough Castle is one of the most beautiful and interesting historic properties in Northern Ireland. The late Georgian mansion, built during the 1770s in Hillsborough Village, is the official residence of the Royal Family when they're visiting Northern Ireland. The 96 acres of beautiful grounds surrounding the castle include ornamental gardens, woodlands and waterways. Look out for the statue of Ossian - a mythical warrior poet - just outside the main entrance, the Lady Alice Temple, the Quaker Burial Ground and the Ice House. Book a tour of the house and gardens to discover more about this fascinating property, or enjoy their Easter celebrations from 15 - 17 April with a Wild and Wonderful Garden Trail.
A glorious example of Georgian architecture, Hillsborough Village is an explosion of colour during the spring and summer months. It was named after Sir Arthur Hill, who built Hillsborough Fort in the area in 1650. Discover Hillsborough Courthouse, home to Hillsborough Visitor Information Centre and an exhibition on the Irish Legal System, and Hillsborough Fort, which dates back to 1630. The surrounding Hillsborough Forest of 200 acres of woodland and tranquil trails provides a peaceful setting for a stroll around the picturesque lake. Stop for a bite to eat in The Hillside, The Parson's Nose or The Plough Inn - all dating from the 18th century. Or if you're visiting during the summer months, make sure to enjoy the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival 5 - 9 September.
Irish Linen Centre and Lisburn Museum
This award-winning museum is based in Lisburn's oldest building, a former 17th century Market House. It brings to life the history of the Irish linen industry and its importance to Lisburn. Made from the stems of flax, a blue-flowered plant, linen has long been seen as a high-status cloth. It was used by the ancient Egyptians and a piece from the tomb of Tutankamun, dating from 1500BC, is on display in the museum. Enjoy daily demonstrations of hand spinning and loom-weaving and browse the damask linen collections. Free entry. Visitors can also enjoy a special Flax to Fabric and Castle Gardens Tour on 12 August and kids can enjoy Easter Workshops from 18 - 21 April.
Ballance House is the restored birthplace of John Ballance, former Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1891 – 1893. John had a great influence on the establishment of the modern welfare state in the country and was instrumental in New Zealand giving women the right to vote - a world first. The house is now home to an exhibition on Ulster and New Zealand links. Take a guided tour and find out more about the fascinating history of John Ballance and Ballance House. Make sure to stop by the tea barn, serving traditional baking, tea and coffee.
Lisburn Cathedral and Castle Gardens
Once the site of Lisburn Castle, built in the 1620s, the 19th century gardens and 17th century terraces have recently been restored. The archaeological works carried out uncovered some significant historical artifacts such as a 17th century gazebo (summer house), terrace walls and a stone perron stairway. Take a tour to learn more about the history of Lisburn Castle and its gardens, and visit the nearby Lisburn Cathedral.
Dundonald International Ice Bowl
Perfect for rainy days, Dundonald International Ice Bowl offers a great family day out. Skate around the Olympic-sized ice rink, try tenpin bowling with a glow in the dark session of Xtreme Bowling, explore the Indiana Land indoor playground or test your head for heights at Ireland's first Clip n Climb - a challenging series of climbing based activities. Kids can also enjoy Cracking Easter Fun on 17 and 18 April with free family entertainment.
Streamvale Open Farm
Experience the hands-on workings of a real farmyard and get up close to traditional farm animals. Kids can feed lambs and pet new born chicks or puppies at Cuddle Time. Other activities include a play area, history trail, quad rides, nature trail, pony rides and tractor rides. Don’t miss the delicious homemade ice cream in the café. Enjoy Easter Animal Fun from 8-23 April.
Lagan Valley LeisurePlex
Boasting the largest leisure pool in Northern Ireland, and the longest waterslide in Ireland, there’s buckets of fun at Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. Pack your swimming costume and bring the whole family to Aqualand for a session by the sunken pirate ship, water cannons and lazy river. Opening hours vary, including dedicated family sessions which last 90 minutes. Kids can also take part in the Happy Easter Activity Scheme from 10-21 April.
Sport and Adventure
Down Royal Racecourse
Established in 1685, Ireland’s oldest horse racing venue, Down Royal Racecourse has brought the "Sport of Kings" to generations of people in Northern Ireland and beyond. You just can't beat a day at the races with thundering hooves, the multi-coloured flash of the jockeys and the roar of a crowd as they spot the winner! The highlights of the racing calendar include the Ulster Derby in June and the two-day Northern Ireland Festival of Racing, with many more inbetween.
Drumbo Park Greyhound Stadium
If you've never experienced greyhound racing before then it's time you came up to speed! Nothing beats the flutter of excitement when you place your bet; the rush of adrenalin as you see your dog sprinting from the traps; or the sheer exhilaration of watching your dog race across the finish line in pole position. Drumbo Park offers two action packed race nights every week, with plenty of opportunity to dine and unwind with friends. Enjoy their Easter Monday Offer for £19.99 including admission, three course meal and two lucky dip bets.
We Are Vertigo
We Are Vertigo features one of Europe's largest trampoline parks as well as an adventure centre, ski centre and spa, making it a thrilling day out. The ski centre offers people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to learn to ski or snowboard, while the adventure centre features an alpine themed play area, high ropes, climbing wall and soft play area. For adults, the spa offers an extensive range of luxurious treatments.
Walks, Tours and Trails
Hilden Brewery Tour
Hilden Brewery is the oldest family-run independent brewery in Ireland. Book a tour and discover the magic of brewing and learn more about this ancient craft from the Master Brewer. Sample some their award-winning beers including Belfast Blonde, Headless Dog and Hilden Irish Stout. Brewery tours are available Tuesday - Saturday 12pm and 6pm. The highlight of the year at the brewery is definitely the Hilden Beer and Music Festival 25 - 27 August with great beers, great music and great craic!
Walking Trails - Wallace Park
Located in the heart of Lisburn and covering 25 acres of mature parkland, Wallace Park is ideal for families, with an excellent children's play area and a variety of gentle walks. The park was given to the town of Lisburn by its landlord, Sir Richard Wallace in 1884 as a public park and recreation ground. Originally known as the People’s Park, it was renamed Wallace Park after Sir Richard’s death in 1890. It has largely retained its original layout and much of its Victorian character.
Cycle and Walking Trail - Lagan Valley Regional Park
Between Belfast and Lisburn
Lagan Valley Regional Park is a mosaic of countryside, urban parks, heritage sites, nature reserves and riverside trails. It's an ideal place to enjoy the countryside, pursue active sports such as cycling, running and canoeing, or to participate in more leisurely pursuits such as bird watching and walking. Discover historical locations such as Lester’s Dam, the Belvoir Motte and the Giant’s Ring, a Neolithic monument.
A Bite to Eat
Afternoon Tea at La Mon Hotel
Perfect as a special treat, indulge in irresistible, handcrafted afternoon tea at La Mon, served Monday to Saturday. Enjoy a selection of delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberries, an assortment of pastries and homemade cakes, and tea or coffee from £18 person. Fancy a glass of bubbly? Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or prosecco for only £4.50.
The Tap Room Restaurant at Hilden
Set in a beautiful and historic Georgian building at Hilden House, the Tap Room Restaurant uses only the best of local produce and, of course, the crafted brews from the Hilden Beer Brewery onsite. The menu serves unpretentious modern Irish cuisine, so enjoy a beer or two over a relaxed lunch or dinner in the converted stables.
Book Your Stay in Lisburn and Castlereagh
La Mon Hotel and Country Club
La Mon Hotel and Country Club is a superb four star venue just 15 minutes from Belfast City Centre. La Mon features 120 luxury bedrooms and a country club which includes a 15m swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis court and beauty and hair studio.
Offer: Family Overnight Break from £155 Per Room
Enjoy a family overnight break in one of their premier rooms, a two course evening meal in Charlie’s Bistro, full use of the leisure facilities and breakfast the following morning.
More Accommodation Options
- Drumlin Lane - 4 star self-catering accommodation in Hillsborough
- Dundonald Touring Caravan Park
- Bunk Campers - campervan hire
- View more accommodation options at www.visitlisburncastlereagh.com