So, whatever floats your boat this summer, lets hop aboard
Host to some of the most beautiful coastlines and bodies of water anywhere in the world, Northern Ireland offers an incredibly diverse selection of unique experiences, whether you are an adrenaline junkie, a foodie, or someone looking for a more sedate activity.
From the epic surf scene on the world-renowned Causeway Coast, to the peace and tranquillity of the idyllic Fermanagh Lakelands or the rugged natural beauty of Lough Neagh and Strangford Lough, your next giant adventure is just a small step away.
Discover Northern Ireland has prepared a list of fantastic experiences that will help quench your thirst for water-based fun.
Sailing in the Wake of Giants, County Antrim: Climb aboard a modern sailing yacht and take to the high seas for an unforgettable giant adventure around the spectacular Belfast Lough. Feel the wind in your face as you rush past the rugged coastline and pull together to work as a team, helping the yacht reach faster and faster speeds. Best of all, no previous sailing experience is required. Sit back and enjoy the view and your guide points out areas of interest, like the imposing cranes Samson and Goliath at Harland and Wolff shipyard, or the Royal Belfast Golf Club, the oldest golf club on the island of Ireland. This experience is currently priced at £100 for adults and £50 for children. To book, visit www.followingseas.co.uk Aquaholics Dive Centre, County Londonderry: Despite coral reefs being associated with sunshine and clear blue water, Northern Ireland has some of the most prolific and varied species of soft coral in the world and wreck diving that is internationally acclaimed. If this piques your interest, then look no further than Aquaholics. Established almost 30 years ago, this Portstewart-based destination is a 5* PADI registered dive centre with an excellent reputation, offering scuba diving experiences for all levels - from beginners courses for children as young as 8 to seasoned divers aiming to achieve divemaster status. Venture along the Causeway Coast from Portstewart or Portrush harbour, along past the Skerries, Dunluce Castle and on to Rathlin Island. Trips to Malin Head and even some Scottish Isles are available on request throughout the year. Another popular choice is the self-catering Aqualodge in Ballycastle, a complete package including equipment hire with accommodation for up to 16 guests. Top diving provided seven days a week; for more information and to book visit www.aquaholics.co.uk
Alive Adventures, County Antrim: Explore the beautiful Causeway Coast in style. The award-winning Alive Adventures provides novice and experienced surfers with a fun-filled two-hour session at the West Strand beach in Portrush. Join Ricky and the team of experienced instructors, who believe surfing is a sport for absolutely everybody and will help you feel at ease in the water and have a laugh. A perfect day out for all the family or friends. Alive also offer a range of activities and rentals, from surfing and SUP, to kayaking and eBikes. Visit www.aliveadventures.co.uk
Lough Neagh Stories, County Londonderry: What better way to explore Northern Ireland’s breath-taking beauty this summer than to experience the wonders of Lough Neagh by boat tour. Savour the panoramic views as your guides, husband-and-wife team Anne-Marie and Gary, regale you with stories of the Lough’s history and legends, tales of the people who have worked and lived in the area for hundreds of years, and explore the landscape, ecology and wildlife native to the area. Visit www.loughneaghtours.com
Sunrise SUP and Island Yoga Experience, County Down: The perfect way to help the stresses of everyday life float away, this slow-paced adventure will refresh your body and mind. Limber up as the sun comes up, and meet your guide Rory who will teach you the basics of stand up paddle boarding (SUP), then coast across to a remote island in Strangford Lough for a chance to reconnect with yourself. Look out for spectacular sights such as ruined castles along the way and see if you can spot some of the local wildlife – if you’re lucky you might see the cheeky bob of a seal. New dates will be added soon; www.strangfordloughactivitycentre.com/experiences
Island Discovery with Erne Water Taxi, County Fermanagh: Explore the unspoilt beauty of Lough Erne in a chauffeur driven boat. The magical journey starts at the historic Enniskillen Castle before venturing off to more remote parts of the lough, to find some ancient ruins, hear some local myths and legends, and see natural at its very best. You will feel as though you have stepped back in time as you arrive at the iconic Devenish Island, a 6th century monastic site with one of the best-preserved round towers on the island of Ireland. Visit www.ernewatertaxi.com
Canoe and Cake, County Down: Combine two experiences into one! Explore the sights of Strangford Lough on board a canoe before heading ashore to indulge in some tasty treats in a traditional Irish thatched cottage. Your adventure starts on beautiful Ballymoran Bay, where you and your guide John will set off on the water to paddle around the little islands dotted around the lough. Immerse yourself in the tranquillity of your surroundings and look out for some marine life along the way. Once you have worked up an appetite you will return to land, where Tracey will be waiting as you disembark. You’ll take a two-minute walk to her home, where she will have delicious warm breads with homemade jams and butters waiting for you to tuck into. Your host will also demonstrate how to make your own soda bread. Tickets are priced at £65. Book now at www.mobileadventureteam.co.uk
Catch and Sea, County Londonderry: This breakfast fishing tour offers a unique perspective of our stunning coastline. Watching the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean, a fishing rod in your hands, you will catch a fish and learn how to fillet it, before proudly presenting it to a local chef. Your catch is cooked for breakfast alongside a selection of award-winning local produce. A truly unforgettable adventure which brings to life stories about our local landmarks, legends, wildlife, traditions, food heritage and people. Adult tickets cost £75, while children’s tickets are priced at £50. Visit www.causewaycoastfoodietours.com
Visitors should be sure to check availability directly with each provider and to be aware of each venue’s cancellation policy when booking.
To help you enjoy your water-based activity safely, here is are some important tips to bear in mind:
Children should always be with a responsible adult when in or around water;
Whenever possible, do not swim alone;
Non-swimmers and children should wear life-jackets;
Beware of cold water shock - anything below 15°C is defined as cold water and can seriously affect your breathing and movement, so the risk is significant most of the year.
Never drink alcohol when taking part in water-based activities
Finally, do not be complacent - respect the water and know your limitations.
Discover more epic water experiences for your next adventure at https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/outdoors-nature-and-wildlife/water-activities
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.