Forests to run around, jetties to jump off, castles to explore – if there was ever a place to put away the screens and embark on some free-spirited fun, it’s Lough Erne. From underground boat tours through some of the best show caves in Europe to cycling around a sun-dappled forest park, there couldn’t be a better destination to capture the imagination…
Enniskillen Water Activity Zone
A brilliant addition to town, the Enniskillen Water Activity Zone sits just beside the Erneside Footbridge and brings a whole host of watersports to an urban location. Get your endorphins going by getting out on the water with a bout of kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding. The Erne Water Taxi and Erne Boat Hire can both be found here, too, making it an excellent destination for getting on the water, no matter what your preferred way to go. After your adventure, nip across to Café Mauds for a well-earned cake and hot chocolate.
Share Discovery Village Lisnaskea
It’s got a water park, it’s got 55 acres to play in and it’s got a whole wealth of amazing watersports from windsurfing to paddleboarding. Share Discovery Village is a huge outdoor activity centre set on the shores of Upper Lough Erne, and a great place to spend a day out. Land activities include mountain biking, combat corps, archery, a climbing wall and bush craft, while water-wise expect sailing, raft-building, kayaking, canoeing and banana boating. The village even has a creative side, with a wide selection of arty activities including t-shirt painting, film-making and pottery.
Paddleboarding along a quiet river, kayaking out to Devenish Island, bouncing on a water trampoline – when it comes to watersports for kids, Lough Erne certainly has things covered. From excellent watersports-based locations such as Castle Archdale Marina and the family-friendly Tudor Farm, to utterly riveting boat tours around the lough to self-drive boat hire – there’s so much to keep you entertained here, it’ll be a wonder you ever stay dry.
Bicycle trails, Florence Court
Sun-dappled trails? Check. Stunning views? Check. Welcome to Florence Court estate, the stunning National Trust mansion and grounds with a wonderful array of cycle trails. You’ll find both gentle cycle paths and forest park trails for the more adventurous cyclist with hills, bumps and downhill stretches. Pack a picnic and enjoy an alfresco lunch in the heart of nature. Cycling around the estate is a wonderful way to explore it and adult bikes are available to hire from the visit centre.
Corralea Activity Centre
There’s so much going on at Corralea, it’s hard to know where to start. Do you spend the day orienteering? Do you take off on an e-bike adventure? Or do you head to the coast for a spot of surfing? The summer months buzz with activities here, from waterpark fun to climbing walls, while the more adventurous can embark on something a little more challenging, such as caving. Can’t decide what to do? Why not stay at the Corralea Cottages in Belcoo, just outside Enniskillen, where you’ll have the best of everything on your doorstep.
Castle Archdale Countryside Centre and War Museum
Immerse yourself in the beauty of a glorious wildflower meadow, take a ferry out to mysterious White Island or weave through the forest along one of the many walking trails at the wonderful Castle Archdale Countryside Centre. With a wealth of different experiences, it’s a great place to spend the day uncovering the role of Castle Archdale during the Second World War, and exploring the on-site museum’s Farm Equipment Through the Ages Exhibition. Down at the Marina, you can hire a rod and go fishing or hire a bike and explore the forest. Too much like hard work? Well, why not simply relax with coffee and cake in the tearoom.
Anchoring the Enniskillen cultural scene, the Ardhowen Theatre is a much-loved contemporary arts venue with a delightful location overlooking the River Erne. The glass-fronted exterior gives way to a buzzing modern space that presents children’s performances throughout the year, as well as workshops on everything from circus skills to comic art.
Marble Arch Caves
Underneath the lush County Fermanagh countryside lies a mysterious subterranean world, long believed by suspicious locals to be home to fairies. The Marble Arch Caves are among the finest show caves in Europe; an intriguing collection of winding passages and echoing chambers, carved out of the limestone over millennia by the rivers flowing down from nearby Cuilcagh Mountain. Kids get a real kick out of the shallow-bottomed tour boats, as guides point out some of the caves’ most intriguing features such as creamy stalactites and stalagmites that take a century to grow just one millimetre.