2020 is the year of the staycation in Ireland. And what better place to holiday than our own beautiful Emerald Isle! From the stunning beaches of Donegal to the spectacular lakes of Kerry, to the live music and arts on offer in Galway, there is a staycation that’s perfect for everyone.
This month, we’re putting the spotlight on County Wicklow. Located just south of our lovely capital, Wicklow has plenty to offer every staycationer with breathtaking scenery, amazing food, and plenty of adventure.
Are you ready to start planning your staycation? Here are our top 10 reasons to choose Wicklow as your next destination.
10. Bray to Greystones cliff walk
This absolute cracker of a walk begins on Bray seafront, a mile-long promenade packed with great spots for lunch, drinks, and amusements to get you started. Officially, the walk starts at the bandstand on the seafront and keeps going for 7km of gorgeous coastal scenery around Bray head, right through to Greystones. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to see stunning sea views, beautiful wildlife, and the occasional dart below you. It takes about two hours and is suitable for most abilities. You can find out more information about the walk at visitwicklow.ie
9. Alpaca walks
If you want to put a smile on your face by spending the day with some unique, furry friends, why not try an Alpaca walk with K2 Farm. You’ll spend your day trekking around some fantastic Wicklow trails with your very own alpaca walking buddy. Enjoy spending time with the curious and friendly animals, all with their own interesting personalities – you even get to feed them! Alpaca treks book out quickly as the K2 Farm’s team don’t want to tire them out, so head to their website to make a booking before turning up.
8. Brittas Bay
The weather may be cooling down, but there’s still time for a bracing swim in the Irish Sea. And what better place to do it, then the lovely Brittas Bay. Heralded as one of the east coast’s best beaches (quite rightly, we think!), Brittas Bay stretches for 5km of pure white sand dunes, and clean beaches, perfect for swimming, sailing, and walking. And if the sea is not your thing, you can always explore the beach’s dunes, which are home to many rare species of wildlife and plants, or try out horse riding right on the beach! Find out more about how to get there and what to do once you do at visitwicklow.ie.
We can’t talk about Wicklow, without mentioning the fabulous Glendalough (or the Valley of the two lakes!). There are few better places in the country for walking, relaxing or exploring. Glendalough is home to some fabulous walks for all abilities, with a range of trails from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes. You can also try your hand at angling, cycling, and horse riding on a variety of terrains. What’s not to love! You can find out more about Glendalough including activities and how to get there on their website Glendalough.ie.
6. Farmers Market at Kilruddery House and Gardens
Want to shop local? Why not spend a Saturday afternoon at Killruddery’s Farmers Market. Together with various local producers, Kilruddery co-pioneers an ever-evolving food and shopping space in their Horse Yard within their stunning grounds. The open-air market features top-notch street food alongside great art, crafts, and vintage products. Choose from 15 local vendors including local organic farm An Tairseach, Flip’n Awesome, The Crepe Box and Love Falafel, The Birds & The Teas, Loo Vit Jewellery, Tom Barry Woodwork, Kilcrea Design Studio and many more! The house and its market are located just outside Bray. To find out more details and to get directions, visit their website.
5. The Sugarloaf
Ready for some killer views? Get yourself up the Sugarloaf for incredible views overlooking the coast and inland over the Wicklow mountains. The Little Sugarloaf is a great stroll for walkers of all abilities, while the Great Sugarloaf is a bit of a trickier climb. Once you get to the top, it can be a bit of a scramble due to the rocks that give the Sugarloaf it’s unique look and name, but that scenery is certainly worth it! Find out more about the routes and how to get to the Sugarloaf (you can reach it by public transport from Dublin, success!) check out the Wicklow Walks website.
4. The Wicklow Way
There’s a reason why Wicklow is called the Garden of Ireland, and the Wicklow Mountains have a lot to do with that. Did you know that the Wicklow Way consists of 128km of walking trails right through the Wicklow Mountains? Well, you do now! The walk begins in Rathfarnham at Marlay Park and heads south west across the hills into the depths of the Wicklow Mountains. Along the way, you’ll find a whole variety of trails that will take you through mountains, upland lakes, steep-sided glacial valleys, fast-flowing mountain streams, forests and farmland. It takes about five days to complete the whole walk so you can choose to find local accommodation as you complete it, or have an excuse to keep coming back for more! Find more information about the Wicklow Way here.
3. Wicklow Wolf Brewery
Craft beer lovers rejoice! Our favourite Wicklow-based craft beer makers are now offering tours of their brewery so you can learn everything about how Wicklow Wolf beer is made. Once you finish your tour, you’ll get a guided beer tasting in their taproom. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a day to us! For more details and to book your visit, check out the Wicklow Wolf website.
2. Victor’s Way Indian Sculpture Park
For those filled with curiosity and in search of enlightenment, head to Roundwood to check out Victor’s Way Indian Sculpture Park. Set amongst 25 acres of parkland, just beside the Guinness lake, this unique and unusual sculpture park, privately owned by sculptor Victor Langheld is definitely an adults day out, rather than one to do with the kids. The park is filled with often dark and troubling pieces, cast in black granite and bronze, which are designed to set visitors on a path of reflection and questioning about their own purpose in life. To find out more and to organise your visit, take a look at the park’s website.
1. Firehouse Bakery Bread School
If you’re still feeling the baking craze of early lockdown days, this one’s for you. Patrick and Laura, the dynamic duo behind Firehouse Bakery in Delgany, have now opened a baking school in their new bakery in Newtownmountkennedy, Wicklow (the original one is in Heir Island, Cork). The school will offer full and half-day artisan bread-making courses where you’ll learn how to make their signature bread, get a behind the scenes tour of a modern Irish bakery, and even go home with a bread-making goodie bag (which includes some of Patrick’s very own sourdough starter!). This is definitely not one to be missed. Get the full lowdown at their website.
With so much to do in Wicklow, you might never want to leave. Make your trip last longer with an overnight stay at the beautiful Druids Glen Hotel and Golf Resort.
At the five-star Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, nature and luxury meet to create a memorable escape. Nestled in 360 acres of countryside between the Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Sea, yet only thirty minutes from Dublin, Druids Glen provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort offers 145 spacious guestrooms and suites, eight conference and event spaces, dining options to include Hugo’s Restaurant, which holds 2 AA rosettes, the Garden Rooms and Bar, with 1 AA rosette, the Sycamore Lounge along with a Spa, Health Club and two championship golf courses, Druids Glen and Druids Heath.
All vegan dishes on the Garden Rooms and Bar menu are created in partnership with their neighbours at The Happy Pear. You will also find Elevation Pale Ale from Wicklow Wolf and Móinéir Wine from Wicklow Way Wines available at the resort.
If you’re thinking of booking a trip to Wicklow this autumn, Druid’s Glen is offering a fantastic, two night Autumn Getaway from €179 per person sharing. The offer includes bed and breakfast on both nights, dinner on one night, and access to the hotel’s health club. Click here or call 01-2870877 to book your Autumn Getaway at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Wicklow staycation today!