A review of our day out at Killruddery house and gardens: follow us as we try out the activities and attractions that make Killruddery perfect for a family day out in Wicklow!
Our weekend explorations of the Irish countryside recently brought us to Killruddery house and gardens, at the foot of the Wicklow mountains.
Killruddery is a large, beautiful estate comprising of a historical home, stunning gardens and a small farm and it is one of our favourite places to visit as a family because of the many activities available and a laid back atmosphere.
The kids love it because it has chickens (Mr M, in particular, is obsessed with chickens and chicks!) and the amazing Kilruddery sandpit, while we adults are always attracted by the tea rooms in the formal gardens, that serve scones with homemade preserves from the trees in the orchard.
KILRUDERY IS ONE OF THE MANY FAMILY ATTRACTIONS IN THE AREA. CHECK HERE OUR GUIDE TO WICKLOW WITH KIDS FOR MORE IDEAS!
Killruddery house and gardens: where they are and what to expect
Kilruddery House is in Bray, in Co Wicklow, about 20 minutes by car South of Dublin.
When you first arrive at Killruddery, you don’t see the house or the gardens but rather a large parking space just below the Little Sugar Loaf, one of the green slopes that form the Wicklow mountains.
It is a beautiful setting but the vast sprawling lot can be, at first sight, intimidating. The space is so large and it is so popular with families that at weekends kids are literally everywhere, running between cars nervously trying to reverse. Voices fill up the natural surrounding piercing what would otherwise be quiet woodlands.
My first instinct in this kind of situation is to run away: as much as I love kids, hordes of them terrify me!
However, Killruddery estate is big and well designed and, once inside, people spread in such a way that even on busy occasions you don’t feel pressed for space or time.
The easiest way to think of Kilruddery estate is to see is as divided into two parts. One, on the right, has the walled gardens, the picnic area and access to the farm, while the one to the left of the entrance has the formal gardens, tearoom and house.
This distinction doesn’t exist on paper and your ticket will allow access to the whole of the estate (organised tours of the house and of the gardens aside) but I find it useful so you can choose where to go depending on your party.
Kilruddery orchard, walled garden and farm
If you are visiting Killruddery house and gardens with kids, the most interesting parts of the estate are the orchard and the farm, where seasonal events take place (more about it later).
The orchard is quaint and beautiful: apple trees, tall flowers and free roaming chickens make you feel like you are walking in a beautiful secret garden, in a fairy tale land out of time.
Secluded from the formal and elegant gardens at the other end of the property, this area of the estate seems designed for kids: they can run around and play safely here, have a picnic in the designated areas or on the grass and they can play in the large and well-equipped sandpit.
The famous Killruddery sandpit
Can a sandpit be famous in its own right? The one in Killruddery shows it can: ask any parent what the best part of the day at Killruddery was and they are sure to reply: the sandpit!
I first heard about it from another mum and her words were echoed by so may others, it soon became clear that the Kilruddery sandpit is the best thing you can possibly do with kids in Bray!
This sandy box is indeed lovely and the proof that you really don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to keep the kids happy.
Killruddery house and the formal gardens
You access to the formal part of the garden turning left right after the ticket area. This area is beautiful and immaculately kept and walking across the gates makes you feel like you stepped into the gardens of a grand European castle.
High hedges, fountains, statues and beautiful woodland surround the stunning Kilruddery house. The orangerie, built in the same fashion as London’s Crystal Palace, stands out with its glass domes adding that touch of elegance glass and steel buildings embody so well.
Seasonal family events at Killruddery
Killuddery is very active organising famiiy events and during the main festivities they go the extra mile and offer full on days out to suit all ages.
Lately, we have attended their Halloween weekend and had a fantastic time. For the day, the orchard had been transformed into a pumpkin patch and kids could choose their own pumpkin and draw scary faces on them with markers and pens.
Then, they would bring their creation to a master carver and their Jack o’ lantern would come to life! In less than half an hour, easily filled with the nice burger from the nearby stand and finger licking ice cream, we had our own pumpkin professionally carved and were ready to decorate our house.
If you are interested in finding things to do with kids in Killruddery, check out their website for current events
Zip Lining Wicklow: Squirrel Scramble ziplining at Killuddery
On the grounds of Killruddery, just outside the main entrance and separate from the house and gardens there is a ziplining tree adventure open to children and adults alike: Squirrel Scramble
Mr M adores ziplining and while I am not the most adventurous of mums (understatement of the year!) I decided to try to do the course with him. We got all geared up and in few minutes we were ready to go!
The tree adventure is a lot of fun: it is open to all ages but kids must be accompanied by an adult and very little ones may find it too difficult (little Miss E had no intention of trying!).
The ziplining course has four different levels and the simpler one is not too challenging even for people like me who don’t like heights. If you’ve never done it let me tell you, it is tiring but it is also fun.
Mr M found the ziplinig the best part of all and had more difficulties balancing on ropes.For me, it was the opposite: balancing was OK but voluntarily throw myself off a tree, even with a harness, did not come so natural!
Still, we did it and Mr M asked if we could do it every time we go. At 16 euro per person,I don’t think we can do it every time, but it is a great way to spend the day and we are sure to do it again!
Overall, Killruddery is a fantastic day out with kids and if you are visiting this area of Ireland with kids, a place you should add to your itinerary!
Please note: this review is unsolicited and unbiased and we received no compensation for it. We paid our tickets in full and all opinions are our own.
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