Late last year, Oxford Dictionary announced that 2020 actually had too many words of the year to just announce one – and of course, staycation was one of them! With thousands of people swapping their foreign holiday for a staycation on the island that we’re lucky enough to call home, a newfound love for all that Dublin’s fair city has to offer was discovered and is certainly here to stay.
Whether you have never gotten around to seeing Dublin Zoo or you fancy trying out something a little different (did someone say kayaking down the River Liffey?); there is something to keep a smile on the face of every family member during a weekend in Dublin!
This is our ultimate guide to a Family Staycation in Dublin.
Day 1 in Dublin
Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo
Up and at ‘em! First up is a trip to the ever-popular Phoenix Park. Visited by around 10 million people every year, this public park is jam-packed with historical sculptures, stunning gardens and of course – the well-known fallow deer. If you’re feeling energetic, why not rent a bike at the entrance to discover all the park has to offer on two wheels.
It would be difficult to mention Phoenix Park without mentioning Dublin Zoo which is located on the grounds. Known as Ireland’s biggest family attraction, the zoo first opened its doors in 1831 and is now home to over 400 animals! Children under 3 go free but there are also family tickets available – with generous savings if you book online. The Phoenix Park is the perfect way to start your family staycation in Dublin!
Little Museum of Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green
It’s time to make your way back into the city centre and prepare to learn almost everything that’s worth knowing about Dublin’s fair city in the Little Museum of Dublin: the museum dedicated to telling the history of Ireland’s capital.
Located on St. Stephen’s Green, the Little Museum of Dublin boasts around 5,000 unique artefacts which were all generously donated by the people of Dublin making it one of the most unique museums in the city. As well as offering classes for kids to learn about Dublin’s history, the museum also offers an award-winning walking tour that begins in the museum. When you’re finished up, take a short walk around St. Stephen’s Green and soak in the atmosphere of this beloved park.
Lunch in Pi, George’s Street
We’re sure some stomachs may be rumbling by now so it’s time to make your way to Pi Pizza on George’s Street for some delicious lunch during your weekend in Dublin. Recently voted the 7th best pizza in Europe, Pi opened to the public in 2018 and has been a steady favourite amongst pizza-loving locals ever since.
The restaurant offers a good atmosphere and great pizza with options for vegetarians, vegans and meat-eaters alike. If you’re not too full after your Pi pizza experience – treat yourself to the chocolate budino: a chocolate pot topped with Achill Island sea salt.
Kayak the River Liffey
Let the fun continue on your family staycation, next up is a unique opportunity to experience Dublin city from the River Liffey on a City Kayaking tour. If you’re interested in seeing a little more, a custom tour can be organised where you’ll have the option to go even further towards Dublin bay.
Beginning by the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship, City Kayaking typically times its tours with the flow of the tides but if you’re interested in a certain time slot – simply get in touch! The tour lasts around 90 minutes with 30 minutes at the start dedicated to taking you through all the necessary safety precautions and paddling instructions.
Day 2 of your Weekend in Dublin
Poolbeg Lighthouse Walk
Start off day two of the family staycation with a visit to the iconic Poolbeg Lighthouse located on the Great South Wall. Established in 1767, the lighthouse was built to aid navigation at the mouth of the River Liffey leading into Dublin City Centre.
The Lighthouse walk begins at the Great South Wall car park and takes around 40 minutes to reach the lighthouse and get back to the car park. The walk will gift you unparalleled views of Dublin Bay, the Poolbeg Chimneys and, depending on when you’re walking, the sunset. The walk is family-friendly and suitable for buggies with a relatively flat surface.
Science Gallery Dublin, Trinity College
Make your way back to Dublin city centre and towards Pearse Street where you’ll visit the Science Gallery Dublin; a part of the Global Science Gallery Network pioneered by Trinity College Dublin and an excellent place to visit during a weekend in Dublin.
The Science Gallery is an interactive space that encourages visitors of every age to think outside the box. From questioning our relationship with plastic to investigating optical illusions, the gallery consistently offers new and exciting exhibitions to get your mind thinking and your creative juices flowing! Although lunch is on the cards next, don’t miss an opportunity to try some fresh bread or pastries from Bread 41 located just across the road.
Lunch in Bunsen, Temple Bar
Take a walk down Pearse Street, past Trinity College and towards Temple Bar where you can chow down on one of the city’s best burgers in Bunsen, Temple Bar.
Bunsen first opened in 2013 and has now expanded to multiple locations across Ireland. Known for offering ‘straight-up burgers’, Bunsen’s business card sized menu makes ordering quick and easy! Think of a good quality ham or cheeseburger, fries on the side and a beer, soda or a milkshake to match.
Guinness Storehouse, St. James’s Gate
Walk 20 minutes from Temple Bar (weather depending) or hop on a bus from Lord Edward Street to get to your next destination: Guinness Storehouse; arguably one of Dublin’s most popular attractions for both visitors and locals alike, a must-see on a family staycation in Dublin.
Located in the heart of St. James’s Gate, the Guinness Storehouse is spread across seven floors and offers an interactive insight into the history of Ireland’s much-loved beer. The end of the tour ends in the Gravity Bar where you’ll experience panoramic views over Dublin city and a free pint (for the adults) of the black stuff!
Ice cream and a walk around St. Stephen’s Green
Take a final short trip to Dublin city centre to finish off your 48 hours in Dublin with a well-deserved treat and a stroll. Grab a crepe in Gino’s on Grafton Street or George’s Street, try out the much-talked-about brown bread ice cream from Murphy’s on Wicklow Street or enjoy one of Dublin’s latest additions to the ice cream scene: Three Twenty Ice Cream Lab.
Treat (of whatever kind) in hand, take a stroll around the city, take a seat in St. Stephen’s Green and start planning your next family staycation in Ireland’s great capital!
Tip: See more things to do in Dublin City with our helpful guide.
Family Hotel in Dublin City Centre
Make the most of your family staycation in Dublin and book into the 4 star Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge. Located in Dublin’s south city, Clayton Hotel offers breakfast, complimentary car parking and a range of special offers for families!