Every year someone tells me that they’ve booked a holiday in Wexford and asks what there is to do down here. As a lucky resident of one of Ireland’s most popular family holiday destination’s I’m always happy to share some local knowledge. Things change season by season and year by year, so I’ve updated the post I wrote last year with some new bits and pieces that have come on the scene and removed some of last year’s favourites that are no longer with us.
Our top local things to do in no particular order are:
- Kia-Ora Mini Farm (between Gorey & Ballymoney about 3 minutes from each, from Gorey take the signposted turn after Marlfield House on the Courtown Road) which has a working fire engine, real mini-diggers as well as the usual petting farms and toy tractors and gokarts for older kids. You can easily spend the day here.
- Wells House which has great buggy-friendly forest walks including an appearance by the Gruffalo, a good playground, archery, and a constant fairy door hunt, it’s about 15 mins south of Gorey on the coast road to Wexford
- Wexford Lavender Farm is a nice gentle visit, ride the bull quad train, play in the playground and have some cake in the lovely coffee shop, or walk in the adjoining Coillte woods (not buggy friendly, bring babies in sling) Admission is free, there’s a charge for kids’ workshops and the bull quad train
- Pirates’ Cove in Courtown is one of the favourite birthday party venues for local kids, and it’s easy to see why. They offer bowling, karting, crazy golf, slot machines, soft play in the Fun Caves and lots of pirate fun.
- Seal Rescue Ireland operate a sanctuary in Courtown that’s open to visitors on a donations business.
- Gorey Town Park playground is newly extended and includes a skatepark. As you come up town you turn right at Tara Stores and it’s past Paddy Blues pub on the right, if the gates are closed to cars you should be able to find parking nearby, but the local estate where people used to park has new shiny double-yellow lines. Parking is also available at the Showgrounds side (turn at Bob’s bar on the Main St) and you can walk through to the playground. It’s also walking distance from town.
If you fancy some country air, leave town and head for Craanford, take the second right after the village and then keep driving til you see a left turn for Askamore. The tiny village in the hills has a fantastic playground behind the church and is usually very quiet.
My crew love explorey walks and Courtown Woods is perfect for them, trees, hills and a river, lots of running.
There are fantastic views to enjoy from Tara Hill, it’s worth the climb, my boys managed it as 4 and 6 year olds. It’s possible to bring the buggy too. You park in the entrance on the road between Ballymoney and Tara Hill village on the left.
Beach wise avoid Courtown it’s always overcrowded on hot days, Ballymoney beach is fab, the one over the cliff walk from the sea road carpark has lifeguards and is very safe, and further north Kilpatrick, Clone and Clogga is lovely, past Tara Hill head for Castletown and most right turns will bring you to a beach.
For wet days there’s a cinema on the Courtown road with very cheap kids’ club deals for the 11am-ish shows and a Kidzone soft play in the business park which is signposted from opposite Tesco. For kids aged 7 up Adventure Alley also in the business park offers indoor ice-skating and trampolining (no jeans or zipped clothing allowed on the trampolines).
There’s a good pool in Courtown with a kiddie pool with a slide and a big flume, and there’s a zipwire course too and Laser Tag. If you’re staying at the Amber Springs or the Ashdown Park Hotel, they both have pools too.
Enniscorthy Castle is also a good way to spend an hour (going slowly), make sure to get out onto the roof for the views, staff will oblige.
Gorey Library often has events that are worth attending, and if you’re around town on a Tuesday morning they’ve pre-schooler storytime. Their facebook page has more information.
Worth the Journey
Farther afield the National Heritage Park at Ferrycarrig outside Wexford town is definitely worth a visit. If you go register the kids when you are going in and you’ll get a map with a quest, have to pan for gold (it looks more like silver mine say) and they get a certificate at the end. The coffee shop there is good with homemade carvery and desserts and there’s a recently added playground at the top of the hill near the archery worth the walk uphill.
For a big daytrip Hook Head
is about and hour and a half south, it’s possibly my favourite place on the planet, the scenery is stunning, the lighthouse the “world’s flashiest” and the kids love the drop-in art workshops and the cliffs, and the café is lovely, try the chowder. It’s out on the Hook Peninsula, allow about 90 minutes from Gorey. If you’re down that far check out my beloved Duncannon
Down south the famous Curracloe beach (of “Saving Private Ryan” move fame)
Our favourite restaurant that’s kid-friendly is The Kitchen just off Gorey Main St (turn at Tara Stores), it’s a very cool atmosphere and they serve local and seasonal food and while there are chips etc they’re handcut and homemade. I always struggle to decide what to order
Eco Pizzeria at the top of the Main Street opposite AIB is always popular too especially with the kids and large groups.
The Duck at Marlfield House is also child friendly with a “ducklings” menu and is lovely, the cocktails are fabulous for the adults.
Katy Daly’s is more traditional pub grub so lots of deep fried everything but they do a good steak, and their sister restaurant Chill on McDermott St is fancier pub grub and excellent sharing plates of tapas in their new wine bar.
If you fancy fish and chips King Cod (near the Little Theatre) does great old school Italian fish and chips, you might meet me there.
Partridges opposite Supervalu on the Main Street do the best breakfast in town, served til 11.30.am (they’re very strict on the time). They do excellent pancakes and great Eggs Benedict too, and the bitesized rockyroad that’s served with the coffees is very moreish.
The Cosy Cottage at the top of Esmonde Street is another favourite of ours. They have picnic tables in an enclosed garden out the back which is great to keep the noise levels down. We recommend the soup or pancakes with nutella, and they have an excellent selection of cakes.
For a big treat check out Primmy’s Bakehouse at the bottom of Esmonde Street- cupcake heaven, and gorgeous retro decor.
For traditional family fare, a cream bun or a sandwich or self service breakfasts, sausage and chips etc local business Joanne’s has been serving the people of Gorey for decades. It’s a big treat to go to Joanne’s for a “funny face bun” or a cream donut.
The kids will love Munchkins traditional toyshop on the Main Street, they’ve recently moved to bigger premises across the street so you can have a good look around. There’s Toymaster at the Esmonde St end of town. If you’ve forgotten baby bits and pieces then there’s a baby floor in Redmond Electric in the Retail Park opposite Dunnes, Jalanda on Esmonde St has fabulous kidswear, and the brand new Mummy Hub also on Esmonde Street will sort you out for slings and cloth nappies.
And while you’re on that side of the street get someone else to watch the kids and pop in to A La Campagne,
a delightful french shop full of all the pretty house things you never knew that you needed. (but you definitely do). If you want a fabulous souvenir visit The Gaslamp Gallery
Gorey is boutique heaven, my personal favourites for women of my age are Ruby Rouge, Contra, newly renovated Liz Collins (where I bought my outfit for my 40th) and Place and Fifth Avenue. Funges sale is legendary so make sure to check it out if you’re around when it’s on.
If you find yourself with a couple of hours to yourself (this needs to happen on every holiday) get yourself to Oceo Spa Seafield, or for a pint in French’s on Gorey Main St., both are restorative in their own way.
Where to stay
The Amber Springs Hotel and Ashdown Park Hotel are owned by the same family, both have pools, are family friendly and are walking distance of town. The Amber Springs has really amazing facilities, we often say we wish we didn’t live here so we could holiday there. They have soft play, go karts and even a petting zoo. Seafield resort, a few kilometres out the road in Ballymoney is absolutely beautiful, but take note that kids are not allowed in the pool since it’s part of the Oceo Spa. There’s plenty of self-catering accommodation available locally too.
To find out what’s on in Gorey when you’re here check out the Love Gorey
website and sign up to their weekly newsletter.
If you’ve any questions feel free to leave a comment here, or send me a private message on my facebook page.
You might like these similar posts too with holidaying tips in County Wexford
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*None of the businesses featured in this post asked or paid to be featured, in fact, until I tag them on facebook they won’t even know that they are. They’re all local businesses that I’m happy to recommend without payment as I think you and your family might enjoy them as much as we do. Happy Holidays.