Kites & Castles – Our first Kite Festival with National Trust NI

This summer has whizzed by, so much so that I feel as though we haven’t done as much as I had hoped – by this stage in the school summer holidays, anyway. But during a google search of fun days out with the family, I came across a Kite Festival with the National Trust. Perfect! And to make it even better, it is held at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, which is in our favourite place, Castlerock. 

What did surprise me though, is that this year, 2018, will be the 8th year the Kite festival will be put on. It’s 8th year! And we had only just heard about it – how wrong is that! So we hopped on a train – with our kite packed – to see what a kite festival is all about. 

Once we arrived at the base of the Black Glen, we could already see the huge kites flying over the trees on the hill – it was just me & my girls heading to the kite festival – but the WOW’s & the points to the giant lizard in the sky was amazing. We were still quite a distance away from Downhill Demense, so we knew up close, the kites were going to look incredible. 

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne

The kites were absolutely HUGE! I have never seen anything like it. And for them to be flying in – to me – the most unlikely of places was a sight to see. There weren’t just the kites. There were food stalls, bungee trampolines, inflatables and so much more. As soon as Annabelle spied the non-powered glider, she made a bee-line for it and loved being able to sit inside the cockpit. 

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Annabelle being Annabelle and channelling her gutsy attitude when asked if she’d like to do a super jump during our family holiday in Haven. She asked the guy if she could do one – and he obliged! She loved it and I think I can now officially say that she is an adrenaline junkie. 

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Inside the walls of Downhill Demesne was a petting farm – that I could not get my teenager out of. She is crazy for anything animal related. I think our recent visit to the Animal Farm Adventure Park in Somerset made that quite clear. So while Ellie was in her element stroking continental bunnies and gushing over a snoozy chinchilla, Annabelle went into the craft tent & made her own kite. 

After the crafts, we did a little more exploring and I don’t know about anyone else’s children, but my youngest cannot pass a face painter without getting her face painted. Unbeknown to her, it was Pride day and I just adore that she got a rainbow unicorn rather than the plain pink & purple option. 

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

After kite crafting, petting everything with feathers or fur, it was time to join the skyline of kites with our own. However, ours was quite tiny compared to some kites that were being flown. So the girls have already requested that we invest in a bigger kite for next years festival and I have to say, I agree!

I have my eye on a Dementor one from Harry Potter, though – which may scare small children, but I just think it would look so majestic bellowing in the wind above the castle. 

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

We definitely should have brought more than one kite – you can imagine the “It’s MY turn!”, “No, I’ve only had it for 2 minutes” that went on. But, this was our first time at this event, so I’ll know better for next year.

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

Downhill Demesne - National Trust NI

I cannot believe this was the first time we knew about this event. The fact it’s been running for 8yrs this year is amazing. They had everything from food & drink stalls, stunt kites showing off their aerobatics, crepe stands and they even had portaloo’s on site, too. We really did have a great time at the festival but the only thing I will say is, it is on the expensive side. You’ll need to bring cash with you because there are no ATM machines available, due to the location.

I have 3 younger children, so when it costs £4 for 5mins on a bungee trampoline, £3 for a face paint, £3 for a glitter tattoo and so on, it really does add up. So do bear that in mind. The crafts & petting zoo were free, though. 

We learned a lot from attending this years event and we are already looking forward to next years. It’s definitely a place to bring a good old-fashioned picnic, spread out a blanket, let the kids fly their kites then lay back and enjoy the view. All of those coloured kites of all shapes & sizes, flying in the air is something else. 

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10 Comments

  1. 12/08/2018 / 2:49 PM

    I need to see if we have a kite festival near us, this looks like such a great day out

    • 14/08/2018 / 8:41 AM

      It was such a fun day out! A little pricey, but it was our first time, so I know what to expect next year! lol

  2. 12/08/2018 / 2:53 PM

    oh wow this looks great, my girls love kites and we spotted a couple yesterday at the beach! A whole festival for them looks amazing though!

    • 14/08/2018 / 8:40 AM

      Yeah, the views of all of the kites flying in the air, is something else!

  3. 12/08/2018 / 9:22 PM

    Oh what a fab event! We’ve never been to something like this but my kids are obsessed with kites and would love it Im sure!

    • 14/08/2018 / 8:40 AM

      It’s just such a lovely thing to do, isn’t it? To fly a kite! We cannot wait to look into investing in a bigger one for next years event!

  4. 12/08/2018 / 10:57 PM

    This looks like a brilliant event, all those views are amazing. Your little girls face in that glider is priceless too. Mich x

    • 14/08/2018 / 8:39 AM

      It was such a good event – a little on the expensive side – but the girls {and me} had a BLAST! And she told me she wants to fly a red arrow, so I guess that photo is where it starts! lol x

  5. 14/08/2018 / 11:46 AM

    This sounds like an incredible event. It’s so great that you have managed to find something new to you in your area. I wish we had more going on where I live. Love the pride unicorn, it looks fantastic and I can’t believe how brave Annabelle is!

  6. 15/08/2018 / 1:42 AM

    I didn’t realise there were events like this being held! It looks amazing! I think my two would have really enjoyed it so I’ll definitely be looking out for it next year 🙂

    Louise x

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