Castle Ward - National Trust days out

2/10 Castle Ward, County Down

This quirky 18th-century gothic mansion may look imposing, but families will find plenty of fun activities to make them feel welcome. Keen walkers should start with the Secret Shore Trail: a series of woodland obstacles running parallel to the path, designed to help little ones discover more about which creatures make their homes in the woods. Take shelter in the bird hide to spot the seasonal brent geese during the autumn, winter and spring months, and you may even spot playful seals on the shore.

Find your perfect picnic spot, or stop by the tearoom for a sandwich (making sure not to miss out on a good rummage through the second-hand bookshop), then head to the barnyard. Here the kids can race around on pedal tractors, play farmyard games or dress up, while TV fans look around the historic farmyard used as the location for northern stronghold Winterfell in the epic fantasy series Game Of Thrones. There's something for everyone, making it one of the best National Trust days out for the family.

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