We took a drive down to Castlewellan Forest Park last Sunday, our first visit to the park despite being told by friends and family that it was an excellent place for a day out.

We weren’t disappointed. The forest park is full of things to do. There are excellent forest and lakeside walks, the picturesque castle set in the hillside and probably lots more that we didn’t see after the rain came on! Oh, did I forget to mention that it also hosts the world’s largest maze? Well it does.

As you drive into the grounds of the forest park, you’ll see the castle set up on the hillside, against a backdrop of trees. We parked the car and walked down to the lakside, where there was a boisterous array of ducks and seagulls. We stopped at one of the picnic benches and enjoyed a picnic before walking on up toward the castle.

Casetlewellan Castle really is a remarkable sight. Described as a Scottish bronial castle, it was a breathtaking to behold – strangely, we weren’t expecting to see a castle in the forest park grounds. Today, the castle is used as a Christian Conference Centre and isn’t generally open to the public.

Admittedly, we took a quick walk around the outside of the castle, before taking a short walk back down via the forest path. Once back down, the rain started pelting down, so we headed back to the car for shelter. We missed out on quite a bit as a result, but we’ll be heading back again the next chance we get – I’d like to take in more of the walks around the grounds, and to see the maze and the Grange Yard, and maybe even have a drink in that wee tea shop!