5 Free Days Out in Dublin

We are finally on another weeks holidays! Thank Pete for annual leave. Working full time really makes B and I appreciate the days we have off with A. We’ve been planning this week since the beginning of July and coming up with ideas and fun things to do each day. Yes, it is another Staycation. And why not? There are so many fantastic things for us to do. Money is a smidge on the tight side as we are getting some essential maintenance and upgrades done on our house. Never fear! We have come up with some really fun and cheap days out for next week. We are blessed with so many things to do! Here are our top five free Fun Days Out in North County Dublin and some ideas if you have a bit of pocket money handy. 

1: Newbridge House and Farm

Newbridge is in Donabate in County Dublin and is a slightly hidden and beautiful part of the county. It is one of our favourite places to go no matter what the weather is like. A had her first go on a swing in the playground and recently chased her cousins through the woods.

Things to do for free –

  • There are beautiful walks all around the Demesne.
  • They have a fantastic playground for the kids.
  • Bring a BBQ or Picnic – there is plenty of space and picnic tables. Don’t forget to bring a ball!
  • You don’t necessarily have to pay into the farm to see the animals. By walking on the outskirts of the farm you can still see all the goats and sheep and get right up close and personal!

Have some pocket money handy? 

  • Pop into the farm – a family ticket costs €14 (2+2). A combined family ticket to see both the farm and Newbridge House is €30.
  • Head back down the road towards the M1 and pop into Mrs Jones Farm Kitchen for a sugary treat.

Top Tip

  • Parking is Free and there’s a small coffee shop under the house which sells Ice Creams and Coffee. Perfect any weather!
Newbridge House and Farm Over Heavens hill Free things to do in Dublin
A Running with her cousins through the wooded walk in Newbridge
Newbridge House and Farm Over Heaven's Hill Free Things to do in Dublin
Feeding the goats some grass on the outskirts of Newbridge Farm

2: Malahide

Malahide in North County Dublin is still one of Dublin’s top seaside destinations for both tourists and locals. With a multitude of things to do, you most certainly can make a day of it in Malahide.

Things to do for free –

  • The beach. Malahide has a beautiful beach. Who can resist building sandcastles and a stroll along the sandy shore.
  • Malahide Castle and Gardens. This is another one of our favourite parks with a playground and beautiful walks.
  • Fancy a 5 km walk? You can walk the length of the coast all the way from Malahide to Portmarnock.
  • Bring a picnic to the beach or to Malahide Castle. And remember that ball.

Have some pocket money handy? –

  • Malahide is littered with restaurants and cafe’s. You are spoiled for choice if you want to grab a cheeky dessert or coffee. We recently reviewed the Scotch Bonnet which is on our list to go back to.
  • Hop on Board Toots! Toots is the Malahide Road Train. A hop on hop off tourism attraction that brings you around Malahide. A family ticket (2+2) costs €12.

Top Tip

  • Parking is free for the first two hours in the car park adjacent to the train station. 
  • Parking is free in Malahide Castle (and plentiful) and is just a short and beautiful stroll to the village.
Malahide Castle and Gardens Over Heaven's Hill Free Things to do in Dublin
Racing Nanny in Malahide Castle! Momma Bear and Granda watched on. Nanny has a lot of energy!
Malahide Beach Free Things to do in Dublin Over Heaven's Hill
Building Sandcastles on Malahide Beach and as Granda says, you have to kick your sandcastles down before you go home for the day!

3: Howth

Howth is one of our favourite places to go and is also along the coast. It can get especially busy in the summer and parking can be a pain because of its popularity. We tend to go on a weekday during off peak season so that we can get parking on the Main Street.

Things to do –

  • A walk along the harbour is lovely in any weather.
  • Choose your day well, and you may get to watch some kayaking and sailing. Always spectacular and fun to watch. 
  • There is a small playground on the main street. During the week, off peak season, it’s usually nice and quiet. 
  • There are plenty of places of historical interest to check out.
  • Howth Market is really popular and a unique experience. It takes place every weekend including bank holidays. 

Have some pocket money handy? 

  • Hurdy Gurdy Radio is a vintage radio museum situated in the Martello Tower overlooking the harbour. Entry is €5 and well worth a visit.
  • The National Transport Museum is an interesting find with a family ticket priced at €8.
  • There is an all time Beshoffs V Burdocks debate in Howth. Who has the best chips? We tend to go to Beshoffs. There’s something about waiting on the pavement for your box of chips that says ‘holiday’ to me. Go on grab some chips, treat yourself. One single to share won’t break the bank.
  • Ice cream in Howth, in Winter no less, is one of our favourite things to do. And it’s cheap as chips too!

Top Tip

  • Do you have your chips? Find some cover! The seagulls are well known for swooping down and pinching them right out of your hands!
Howth Free Things to do in Dublin Over Heaven's Hill
It’s never too cold for ice cream

4: Ardgillan Castle and Demesne

Ardgillan is another beautiful gem in North County Dublin. It is a vast and stunning parkland which overlooks the Irish Sea. I’m not sure where else you’d find such beautiful scenery while the kids play!

Things to do for Free –

  • Another amazing place to go for long walks or run around with a ball.
  • Bring a blanket and a picnic. You’re spoilt for choice in this huge park and are guaranteed to find a quiet spot. 
  • The incredible state of the art playground overlooks the sea. Spectacular views for Momma and Papa Bears while the kids play.

Have some pocket money handy? 

  • Pop into the seaside town of Skerries, just a short drive away, for a  Fresh Cod Fritte at Stoop Your Head, a popular seafood bar and restaurant.
  • Tour Ardgillan Castle. Family tickets cost €13.

Top Tip

  • Parking is Free and they have a dog friendly cafe! 
free things to do in dublin over heaven's hill
The beautiful Ardgillan Castle www.ardgillancastle.ie

5: St Anne’s Park

St Anne’s is an absolutely beautiful hidden gem in Clontarf. A stunning parkland with many recreational facilities. Luckily A gets to visit here quite often with Great Aunt who minds her while we’re beavering away in work. 

Things to do for Free –

  • Take the Native Tree Trail and spot the 15 native trees that belong in the park.
  • Bring a picnic and if you have any bread left over feed the ducks. 
  • St Anne’s is home to a Rose Garden, Walled Garden and beautiful Woodlands. Perfect for long strolls.
  • Knock on the fairy doors and see if anyone is home in the Fairy Door Field.
  • There is also a playground in St Anne’s Park. 
  • The converted Red Stables hosts a market on Saturdays. 

Have some pocket money handy? 

  • Pop into Olives Room in the Red Stables for some tasty home-baked treats.  

Top Tip

  • Don’t forget to watch out for the badgers, hedgehogs, squirrels and bats. 

Our list contains quite a number of parks and picnics. Remember that a free day out works when you create a day around a simple idea. 

Bring a picnic to a beautiful area and embellish on that idea. Play football, bring a twister mat with you or travel scrabble. Be with your family and explore your surroundings. Collect sticks, spot animals and make up stories with everything you see. 

A day out does not have to be expensive.

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