We’re just home from our wonderful holiday down in Westport, County Mayo. There’s so much to see and do in this lively town, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of our adventures in another few blog posts soon.
The adults may have been looking forward to those usual holiday delights; a cheeky glass of wine, maybe a spot of sunshine, the odd pub lunch, and of course, the great escape from housework! But the kids, well, Amelia in particular, only had one thought in mind; Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park! Arrrr (yes, I’m trying to sound like a pirate!)
What a fantastic day we all had! For starters, the sun shone. All day. Gloriously. It just made the whole experience even better, as we weren’t battling the usual ‘Irish weather’ which can be so unforgiving. The Adventure park was a stone’s throw from our accommodation, so we walked in, but there is lots of car parking if we had been coming from further afield, and it is easily accessible if you’re finding it hard to walk, or need assistance. The helpful crew at the checkpoints and queues were fantastic at directing people to an appropriate car park or relevant staff member. Really friendly service which was a sign of things to come throughout the day.
This was the first real ‘outing’ we’d done with Amelia, because up until now, apart from the zoo and the occasional ride at a funfair, she hadn’t been old enough to participate and appreciate an experience like this. But boy, had she done her homework – she knew she wanted to have a go on the swan boats, the little train and the log flume…she had spent HOURS watching this video on the Westport House website, which really gave her a feel for the fun she would have when we went. Because of this, the rides and the various aspects of the park were so familiar to all of us.
After getting our bearings with a useful map and lots of signposts, we headed straight to the swans. I think the G man was more excited than Amelia was about getting a chance to go in one! The queue was fairly big, but it moved really quickly and there were lots of staff to help ‘less flexible’ (ahem) folk like me in and out of the swan boat without totally disgracing myself! We loved the swans, we felt safe and were able to take our time at pedalling around the lake – which was great for me as it was the most exercize I’d done since….well let’s not get into that.
Next up – the big enchilada in Amelia’s opinion – the Pirate Adventure Park. You could hear the squeals of delight even before you saw the place. Up and round a little pathway nestled in the trees and bushes of the grounds of Westport House – a great selection of rides and activities for kids – and grown ups! I realised all too late that I’m not a massive fan of rollercoasters after I’d already gotten on the Pirate’s Plunge Log Flume with Amelia and the G Man…let’s just say my screams turned a few heads when we came splashing down into the water. I’ve never seen Amelia so excited – she instantly wanted to go on again. Which we did. I’d like to think my screams were mildly more restrained the second time though. One tip…bring towels!! Thankfully it was sunny so we dried off quickly, and there are some helpful hairdryers in the toilets down at the main reception, but towels would have been handy! There’s also a bouncy castle (very organised, fair system of letting kids on and off and only allowing the right amount of kids on at a time – I was very impressed by that) and there’s a sandpit for little ones as well as some hot and cold food options and drinks for everyone.
The place has so much to offer for all ages. Zipwire, archery, zorbing; as well as an indoor soft play area, go karts, cannonball run (30 foot slide), table tennis, playpark, not to mention the more historical aspects of the main house – I could actually go on forever. You could quite happily have a holiday in Westport every year until your kids were finished school, and there would always be something for them to enjoy. I really would recommend it to anyone.
As we left, Amelia enjoyed a ride on Arthur North’s 19th century carousel and helter skelter, and as we watched her enjoying the carousel, we could smell the delicious pizza being cooked at Gracy’s bar. We will definitely have to try one out the next time we go, and Amelia was too little for the pirate ship so we will have to make that the first ‘port of call’ next year!
This was our first real holiday with an element of adventure, now that she is old enough to understand the excitement and fun of a holiday; and I can’t thank the staff at Westport House enough for helping to make it just that little bit more magical for all of us.