23 things to do in NI in 2023
With the days getting longer and the warmer weather on the way (fingers crossed!), many of us will spend time outdoors and plan weekend adventures to enjoy the best of Northern Ireland.
So, whether you are planning a trip to Northern Ireland or need inspiration for your next day out, here are 23 things to do to create that long-lasting memorable experience!
The Great Outdoors
The North Coast
Enjoy a jam-packed weekend at the North Coast with breathtaking views wherever you go. Why not walk along the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge, relax on the Blue Flag White Rock beach, or even visit Northern Ireland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Giant’s Causeway; the path walked by legendary giants!
Rathlin Island (Antrim)
Hop on the ferry to visit the most northernly point of Northern Ireland. For all the eagle-eyed Game of Thrones fans, from Rathlin Island you can view the magnificent views of the Fair Head cliffs where the Game of Thrones series was filmed.
Marble Arch Caves (Fermanagh)
As part of the UNESCO Global Geopark, the limestone caves were formed over 340 million years ago and are most certainly a sight to see! The majestic stalactites that hang down from the ceiling are forever growing but it takes nearly 100 years for them to grow an additional millimetre!
Mourne Mountains (Down)
The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to 12 peaks and Northern Ireland’s highest mountain – Slieve Donard. If you’re up for a challenge, why not take on the mighty beast or perhaps camp under the stars.
The Gobbins Cliff Path (Antrim)
Ready for an adventure? Visit ‘the most dramatic coastal walk in Europe’, taking on tunnels, bridges, and caves!
Glenariff Forest Park (Antrim)
This hidden gem in the Antrim Glens offers scenic trails and beautiful waterfalls; you could be anywhere in the world!
Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail (Fermanagh)
Also known as the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, this scenic walk and climb up Cuilcagh Mountain is worth every minute once you see the magnificent views at the top!
Castlewellan Peace Maze (Down)
Make your way through the meandering maze that once held the world record for being the largest permanent hedge maze ever. A fun day out can be had by all!
Sports & Shows
The Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon (30th April 2023) and Half Marathon (17th September 2023) are back this year. Whether it’s your first marathon, or your twentieth marathon, it is a momentous achievement to tick off the bucket list!
154th Balmoral Show (10th – 13th May 2023, Lisburn)
Northern Ireland’s largest Agri-Food Festival is back this year including livestock, sheep shearing, and show jumping competitions along with live music, and local delicacies. There’s something for everyone.
Almac Belfast City Women's 10k (18th June 2023, Titanic Quarter, Belfast)
Get involved with your friends and family and take on the 10k run, jog, or walk while supporting a fantastic cause - Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
NI International Airshow, Portrush (date in September tbc)
Two days of aviation attractions and family fun, the hugely popular air show offers visitors the chance to see spectacular air formations, close-passes, and dynamic loops. Not forgetting vintage aircraft, live music, trade stands, fun zone, artisan food markets, and arts and crafts stalls.
This year is the 25th anniversary of when the extraordinary film Titanic was released in the UK, so it is very fitting to visit Titanic Belfast to see where the story once began…
Coronation of Charles III (6th – 8th May 2023)
Watch the King’s Coronation live and witness a very rare gun salute in the beautiful setting of Hillsborough Castle and enjoy a day in the grounds of The King’s residence!
Music & Entertainment
Festival of Fools (29th April – 4th May 2023, Belfast)
Come join in the fun and experience the largest street festival of comedy, circus, and arts in the entirety of Ireland! This free day event is perfect for a family day out in the city!
City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival (27th April – 1st May 2023)
Everyone loves a bit of jazz so why not come along to Ireland’s biggest jazz festival!
Belsonic (3rd – 30th June, Belfast)
Get ready as the biggest artists are coming to Northern Ireland! This year’s line-up includes Lionel Richie, George Ezra, David Guetta, Tom Jones, Paolo Nutini, Lizzo and many more!
Music in the Park (Ward Park, Bangor)
Bring along a picnic and enjoy live music every Sunday throughout July and August.
Food & Drink
Harry’s Shack (Antrim)
The North Coast has plenty of restaurants, but have you heard of Harry’s Shack? This hidden gem is situated on Portstewart Strand beach where you can enjoy a bite to eat and soak in the breathtaking views of the serene coastline all at once!
Grace Neills (Donaghadee)
Why not enjoy some Northern Irish pub grub in Northern Ireland’s oldest pub! Established in 1611 as The Kings Arms, it was named after Grace Neill who was given the bar as a wedding present by her father. Grace Neills has been visited by smugglers, pirates, sailors and soldiers over the years, all enjoying a drink or two in the original snugs at the front of the bar!
Tayto Castle Factory (Armagh)
Tayto crisps are Northern Ireland’s most loved snack, so why not visit the land of Tayto situated in Tandragee Castle to experience the journey of the famous crisps. Did you know that Tayto crisps are sliced to 1.2mm for the perfect crunch and the most popular flavour is cheese and onion!
The Old Bushmills Distillery (Antrim)
Established in 1608 and home to Northern Ireland’s famous whiskey, take a tour of the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery!
St. George’s Market (Belfast)
One of Belfast's oldest attractions and recently accredited as the ‘UK's Best Large Indoor Market 2023’, the lively atmosphere, delicious treats and the freshest ingredients is something not to be missed!