For me personally, Wexford is one of my favourite places for days out and weekends away with my kids. A fter all, it is the sunny south-east.
Not only is the drive gorgeous, but Wexford also has so much to offer for families of all sizes. If you are planning a trip along Ireland's Ancient East in the next couple of months, here are ten budget family days out that won't cost the earth and come highly recommended by many parents across Ireland.
Wells House & Gardens
Located in the heart of Wexford is a stunning Victorian house dating back to the 1600s. Once owned and built by John Warren, Wells House is now occupied by the Roslers who have since turned it into a working farm with 100 acres of Woodland including a magical fairy trail and adventure playground with swings, slides and a variety of climbing frames and ropes.
Tours of the house take place every Saturday and Sunday but the smaller ones might prefer the other offerings such as exploring the gardens and woodland walks to seek fairies and the Gruffalo who are hiding amongst the trees. Entry fee to Wells House & Gardens is €10 per car and while a picnic is highly advised, they do have a gorgeous little cafe on-site.
Seal Rescue Ireland
Located minutes from Courtown Harbour you will find Ireland's only seal sanctuary which is responsible for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orphaned, sick and injured seals nationwide.
The registered not-for-profit charity deal with on average one hundred pups every year who go to the centre injured, sick or orphaned. The rescue centre aims to rehabilitate the pups back to full health and then return them to the wild when they are fit and ready.
The sanctuary who rely entirely on the public going to the centre to fund their work opens daily for visitors. With the help of volunteer interns, the centre holds guided tours of the facility to inform guests about the rehabilitation process, and the stories about each individual animal in their care. Entry into the sanctuary is free but they do ask for a small donation.
Dunbrody Famine Ship
A family favourite for years, the Dunbrody Famine Ship is a reproduction of the 1840's emigrant vessel with exhibits, guided tours and costumed interpreters who will explain the harshness of conditions taken by famine emigrants many moons ago.
Located in New Ross it offers full wheelchair accessibility to the ship, visitor centre and Captain's Table restaurant. Entry starts at €25 for two adults and two children.
Wexford Lavender Farm
Situated just minutes from Gorey, the lavender farm is a haven for nature lovers and little explorers. Entry during the summer months costs €2 per car, however, there is a bull barrel ride costing €2.50 per child and that can add up quickly depending on how many kids are with you on the day.
On-site there is a beautiful cafe, games rooms, small wooden adventure playground and a woodland walk with a lifesize game of snakes and ladders amongst many other surprises for the kids to enjoy.
Once voted the number one lighthouse in the world, the 800-year-old Lighthouse is a fascinating example of medieval architecture and the tour is just as exciting.
With tales of medieval times and spectacular views from the balcony, it is one of the best experiences on Ireland’s Ancient East. A family pass for two adults and three children costs €20 and children under five go free.
One of Wexford's most popular destinations for picnics on a warm summer's day, this 19th-century castle is an absolute gem for gothic revival architecture.
Explore the stunning gardens, the lake, waterfalls and make sure you leave some time to visit the Irish Agricultural Museum! This year, for the first time, visitors will get a chance to walk through the servants’ tunnel into the Castle and experience what life was really like for those living and working at the castle all those years ago.
A new woodland playground will be opening in April too. A family pass to both the gardens and the museum costs €24, however, under-fives go free.
Secret Valley Wildlife Park
Are the kids crazy about exotic animals? Well, this is the place you need to be. Secret Valley Wildlife Park is a great day out for the whole family with a host of activities and attractions to do and see on the day, including obstacle courses, quad train rides, indoor and outdoor play areas and adventure hunts.
Home to hundreds of creepy crawlies, lemurs, meerkats, alpaca, snakes, dragons and lizards, they have something for everyone. A day at the wildlife park costs a little more than the other locations mentioned at €35 for a family ticket for two adults and two children while under twos go free.
Embrace The Festivals
At present, Wexford is home to over 25 different festivals that take place throughout the year covering everything from arts, crafts, sand sculpting, food and music.
Keep an eye out for Shine a Light Festival which takes place every May bank holiday, the Enniscorthy Rockin' Food Festival takes place the first weekend of August each year while the annual Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival is held over two days in mid-August and makes a great day out for the whole family. A majority of the festivals are free events.
Other Pocket-Friendly Ideas
Grab a bucket and spade and enjoy one of the many long sandy beaches such as Courtown, Kilmuckridge or Curracloe, go crab fishing by the pier in Cahore or why not explore some of the state-of-the-art playgrounds by the sea.
Whatever the weather, Wexford has it all but bring wellies and a raincoat just in case!