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Winter Walks (For You & Your Pet)

Clear skies, whooshing winds, glittery pavements – the perfect winter day. Get your sensible shoes on, wrap up in thermals and venture outside.

To help walkers on their way, we have put together suggestions for particularly enjoyable walks across Northern Ireland - as well as ideas of places to stop off for a much needed bite to eat afterwards. 

For You and Your Pet



The Lagan Towpath, Stranmillis to Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park, Co. Down – 6 miles

Arguably, the best time to walk the Lagan Towpath is early on a crisp winter’s morning as the mist hovers just above Belfast’s main river. When sampling this mysterious scenery it is easy to see why C.S Lewis drew so much inspiration from this special place. This section of the towpath begins in Stranmillis. Just minutes from Belfast city centre, there are a number of shops and trendy cafes – a great spot for a quick snack before your walk. 

The walk itself sets off along the river and canal system through a variety of wetland, riverside meadows and mixed woodland. After passing through Lagan Meadows and over Shaw’s Bridge this section of the Towpath finishes at Sir Thomas & Lady Dixon Park, one of Belfast’s most popular public parks, renowned for its ornamental gardens and rose trails.

Once you're there, why not call into the Stables Coffee Shop in the converted barn at the park. It’s open from 10am to 4pm every day and offers hot and cold drinks, soups, sandwiches etc. Other options include the ever popular include Cutters Bar and Restaurant at Stranmillis at the beginning of the walk or the Ramada Hotel at Shaw's Bridge.

Route type: Linear.  Dogs: Allowed on leads.  Terrain: Flat tarmac paths.


Glenariff Forest Park, Co. Antrim – 5.9 miles

Winter creates the perfect backdrop to explore this mature woodland, along the edges of steep sided river gorges with freezing waterfalls and open, frosted moorland.

The trail first takes you down the Inver River gorge, to the edge of the Ess-na-Crub Waterfall. Once you cross the river at the bottom of the trail, you begin a long and winding climb offering views of the Glens and of the Mull of Kintyre across the sea. You cross over the upper reaches of the Glenariff river at the top of the trail. At this point you are on the frozen peat moorland. Your way back gives spectacular views straight down the misty Glen to the coast and the sea beyond.

Located only 10 miles from Glenariff Forest Park, the Londonderry Arms Hotel, a charming coaching Inn in the small fishing village of Carnlough, is an ideal place for walkers looking to spoil themselves and recharge the batteries.

Route type: Circular.  Dogs: Allowed on leads.  Terrain: Some steep paths, suitable for most.


Port Path, Co Londonderry – 6.5 miles

Port Path follows a stretch of scenic coastline between Portstewart and Portrush and can be enjoyed at any time of the year. The winter seascape however is a sight to behold and the with the fresh breeze behind you as you stroll down Portstewart Strand this really is a winter experience not to be missed.

Alongside the magnificent offshore views this route also passes by a number of interesting seasonal features such as traditional ice houses; stone built, turf roofed houses where ice was stored in the winter in order to preserve salmon in the summer. For the brave souls who partake in the ritual of a New Year’s swim the route passes Portnahapple, a natural sea pool offering great opportunities for a ‘quick’ outdoor dip.

Portrush and Portstewart both offer a whole host of top quality restaurants and cafes for a bit of R&R after your walk. Both the Ramone Wine Bar and 55 Degrees North in Portrush are very popular with local walkers in the area.

Route type: Linear.  Dogs: Allowed on leads. Terrain: Flat concrete paths.



Roe Valley Country Park, Co. Londonderry – 7 miles

The Roe Valley Country Park offers a variety of routes along the River Roe or Red River (from the Irish ‘Abhain Ruadh’). This 7 mile walking trail circles both banks of Red River, which originates amidst the peat bogs of the Sperrins Mountains, offering an explanation for its red colour.

With the path running through an enchanting oak forest, combining legend with industrial and natural heritage, the park has great appeal. Winter sees the snow settle on the river’s banks and as walkers pass through the forest it is only the call of mallard ducks that breaks the silence. In winter, Roe Valley is a truly special place.

Roe Valley Country Park is only minutes outside the bustling market town of Limavady which boasts a wide range of eateries, craft shops and many other interesting family run shops.

Route type: Circular.  Dogs: Allowed on leads.  Terrain: Flat paths.

Just For You



Robber's Table, Co. Tyrone – 9 miles

This is an excellent off-road, winter hill walk across rolling hills and frosty moorland. The highest point of this route opens up superb views of the Bluestack and Derryveagh Mounatins of Donegal to the west and the High Sperrins to the north east.

The walk starts and finishes in Gortin Glen Forest Park – only a few miles from Gortin village (hometown of X-Factor contestant Janet Devlin). As the route climbs out of the forest park over Ballynatubbrit Mountain it passes Robbers Table, the site where supposed local seventeenth century Highwaymen (Rapparees as they were known) met up to divide their spoils after raiding the postal carriages that traversed this upland landscape.

For a nice meal after your walk why not call into Foothills Bar & Restaurant in Gortin which prides itself on high class cuisine and fresh local produce.

Route type: Circular.  Dogs: Not allowed.  Terrain: Across open bog, can be wet underfoot.



Slieve Donard via The Glen River, Co. Down – 5.5 miles

Following a popular route leading to the summit of Slieve Donard (850m), Northern Ireland’s highest peak, this is a great winter warmer.

The walk starts in the coastal town of Newcastle which has long attracted tourists to its bustling seafront boasting quaint cafes and quality restaurants including Sea Salt, a small bistro-style eatery popular amongst local walkers.

The trail ascends through the woods along the Glen River and climbs further to the head of the river valley, high on the slopes below Slieve Donard ad Slieve Commedagh (765m). From here the path continues up to Slieve Donard offering views out towards the Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland.

Route type: Same route for ascent and descent.  Dogs: Not allowed.  Terrain: Steep and challenging.

For a full list of over 200 quality walks in Northern Ireland just awaiting your discovery see Walking in Northern Ireland

Why not combine your walk with one of our great Accommodation Offers, starting from as little as £49 per room (based on 2 adults sharing).

Or find the perfect pub for a stop off at

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