Family breaks in Ireland offer so much to see and do, with beautiful picturesque towns and villages, thrilling activities, and an incredible landscape across the country.
The county of Kilkenny is scenic, fun, and historical, so there really is something for everyone, no matter what age. Whether you are looking for indoor or outdoor activities, want to explore the area at your own leisure, or want more of an exciting adventure, you are sure to find it in Kilkenny.
A getaway here during the school holidays will give you some fabulous memories to look back on and doesn’t have to break the bank. Here is our guide to the top things to do on a family break in Kilkenny.
Boat Trip on the River Nore
The River Nore is 86 miles long and passes through 3 different counties in Ireland. The river starts in Co. Tipperary, west of Kilkenny, and passes straight through the centre of Kilkenny town. The river is perfect for walking by, with many of Kilkenny’s historical attractions on route, however, a boat trip on the river is a great outing for both adults and children. Boattrips.ie offer award-winning boat tours through Kilkenny, which last for around 30 to 45 minutes and are affordable for the whole family.
The boat tours run every 30 minutes from April to October, so you can experience the River Nore for yourself, no matter how long you and your family are staying in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny Castle is one of the most renowned attractions in the area and can make a great family day out in Ireland. Built-in 1195, the castle boasts exquisite decor as well as beautiful gardens, woodlands and a lake.
The castle makes a wonderful family-friendly trip in Kilkenny, with a playground, tearoom and a number of orienteering trails to get involved with! Open from 8:30 until 20:30 from May to August, a trip to Kilkenny castle can easily fit into your itinerary during your Irish holiday. Perfect for those interested in the medieval history of the town, guided tours are also available for families that want to learn about the characters that lived at the castle and the history behind each room.
Castlecomer Discovery Park
Castlecomer discovery park offers outdoor activities that will be sure to add some fun and excitement to your family holiday. Perfect for adventurous kids, there are so many things to do at Castlecomer Discovery Park, including a tree-top walk and climbing wall, zipline, boats, archery, mountain biking and more! No matter what age your children, this adventure park in Kilkenny is a must-see as part of your family break. For those on a budget, the site is completely free to explore and boasts scenic walking trails that are ideal for family walks and picnics.
The site is open every day in the summer, however, activities must be booked before you visit during the Covid-19 pandemic (except boating which can be booked on arrival).
Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum
Stunning Victorian gardens situated just outside of Inistioge village, the Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum are another great family-friendly attraction in Kilkenny. With a children’s playground, picnic area, tea rooms, as well as woodland trails and orienteering, the gardens are perfect on a sunny day during the summer. The house dates back to the 18th century and was created for Sir William Fownes by architect Francis Bindon. Visit the Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum from 9 am to 7:30 pm from April to September.
Kayaking on the Graiguenamanagh Loop
The Graiguenamanagh loop with Pure Adventure runs through the Wooded Barrow Valley on the River Barrow, Nore and Suir. Both half and full-day trips are available for kayaking on the river, so if you are looking for an incredible experience while on your family holiday, look no further. For adventure seekers and those with children that love some fun on the water, river kayaking is one of the top-rated trips in the area. If some of your family want to get involved with kayaking and some prefer a leisurely stroll, the scenery surrounding the river is breathtaking, so there is something for everyone during family breaks in Kilkenny. Don’t forget your camera!
National Reptile Museum
A great activity for a rainy or overcast day, the National Reptile Museum is Ireland’s only reptile zoo, located in Kilkenny city. Come face to face with some fascinating species and get to know reptiles at a close distance in an animal encounter session. The museum is visited by many on family breaks in Ireland and enjoyed by kids of all ages. The National Reptile Museum is open from 10 am – 6 pm Monday to Sunday and is well worth a trip if you are looking for things to do in Kilkenny.
Family breaks at Kilmore Guest House
Our renovated Kilmore Guest House is situated in the centre of Kilkenny, just a few minutes walk from the River Nore and St Canices Cathedral. Self-catering facilities are available throughout the guest house, as well as an apartment with a fully equipped kitchen for families that want to prepare their own meals. We offer king and queen rooms and a luxury apartment with everything to make you feel right at home, including WiFi, washer and dryer, garden and tableware.
The apartment also includes free parking, ideal for those on family breaks with a car. The family-run guest house is perfect for small families taking a holiday in Kilkenny, with the style and surroundings of a premium hotel, but the price of a bed and breakfast.