October 19 2020 – Sola Boutique Bantry Admin
When you are planning your trip to explore the wonders of West Cork, there’s a town full of colour and fun that you have to visit. Bantry is a small harbour town with colourful facades, heaps of activities, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
Bantry may be a small town, but it packs a lot in and is a great place for holidays and weekend breaks at any time of the year. Whether you are coming with friends, with children or for a romantic break away, you will find plenty to see and do.
Here are my tips for things to do and see in and around Bantry.
Bantry’s rolling green hills and stunning sea views make it a wonderful place for exploring on horseback. There are a couple of riding schools in the bay area which offer short and long rides for visitors as well as tuition for those staying a little longer.
Bantry Bay Pony Trekking is just 5 mins from the town centre and has ponies and horses available for all experience levels. Their private trail paths weave up through the leafy hills so that you can take in the view of Bantry Bay and across to the mountains on the other side. Experienced and learner riders of all ages are welcomed at Bantry Bay Pony Trekking.
Another pony trekking option, just 10 minutes from the town centre is Bantry Pony Trekking. Here the little ones can enjoy a short pony ride whilst being led by a trainer in the arena or the whole family can head on out for a river valley ride to explore Bantry’s lush surroundings. Bantry Pony Trekking also welcomes all ages and experience levels and can tailor rides as required.
Book your Bantry pony trek experience ahead to avoid disappointment.
Every Friday in Bantry’s Wolfe Tone Square, local traders, farmers, artisans and small business owners pitch their stalls for Bantry’s popular market. Every week brings something new to the market as more and more exciting stallholders come to sell their wares.
Bantry market is a great spot for gift shopping. Pick up some beautiful hand made wooden kitchen utensils or scrumptious handmade soaps. Maybe pick up some original art or delicious locally made chutneys and cheese too. If you are staying in self-catering accommodation, then Bantry market is the place to go for your local fruit and vegetables.
Bantry Market starts at 8 am each week. The fair is bigger on the first Friday of each month, known as fair day.
Go Kayaking or Hire A Boat
Bantry Blueway is part of Ireland’s network of trails designed for enjoying the many lakes, rivers, canals and bays that this little country has to offer. As one of Ireland’s most scenic bays, you can’t come to a place like Bantry and not enjoy at least one water-based activity.
Hiring a kayak or a boat and heading out onto the water is like no other feeling. There is a plethora of wildlife in this area and it is not uncommon to spot a friendly seal or dolphin swimming by you. From the water, you can discover little beaches tucked away on the islands of Bantry bay.
Get in touch with Bantry Boat Hire to book your kayaking or boating experience.
The kids will love this one (the grown-ups will too). Along the bay area, you will find piers and inlets, slipways and platoons, all of which are great spots for whiling away some happy hours crabbing!
Pick up a crab line for a couple of euros and find a spot where you can enjoy the views, and some swimming if the weather allows it, whilst you wait for the crabs to bite. Turn it into a competition to see who can catch the most crabs or the biggest crab.
Watch your fingers and be sure to pop the crabs back into the water when you’re done.
See Bantry By Bike
Cycling in Bantry is a popular pastime thanks to the cycle routes in the area. The Beara Cycling Route takes you through a few of the pretty nearby towns before you head back to Bantry for some hard-earned refreshments. The Beara route is a long one and challenging in places so plan ahead for the most enjoyment.
Cyclists can also enjoy the coastal views from the Sheep’s Head Way cycle route which takes you up through Bantry’s winding old roads. There are a few points of interest on this route too including the remains of an old copper mine, a fascinating piece of local history, and an amazing natural blowhole where the sea sprays up through a hole on the rocky hillside. A must see and only two of the fascinating spots on this route!
For bike hire in Bantry contact O’Donovan cycles in Bantry town.
Visit Bantry House Gardens
At any time of year, the gardens at Bantry house are a must for visitors to Bantry. The 100 acres and seven terraces of formal gardens were restored in 1997 but originally designed and built in the late 1800s - early 1900s. Seeing is believing when it comes to the beautifully landscaped gardens which wouldn’t be out of place at a French chateau.
Grab a coffee and sweet treat from the Bantry House tearooms and head up the 100 steps to enjoy them with a view of the gardens, house and bay.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Bantry and exploring all we have to offer.
P.s. Here are some practical tips for your stay in Bantry.
Where To Stay In Bantry
You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation in Bantry.
For hotels in Bantry, you can choose from the Maritime hotel which is central and has a swimming pool, the Westlodge Hotel which has children’s activities and the Seaview House Hotel & Spa which is pet friendly.
The many Airbnb’s available in Bantry are charming and unique. You can choose from a typical Cork farmhouse, a cabin with sea views or retreats with private saunas and jacuzzis amongst many, many more.
Where To Shop
Bantry is home to a huge selection of brilliant independent retailers which makes it a great location for a bit of retail therapy.
For gifts and crafts - At Forest & Flock & The Craft Shop, you will find gifts galore for friends, family or even yourself. Bantry Yarn wool shop stocks a huge range of high-end yarns and is a great place to pick up some Irish made craft accessories and wool.
For books - Bantry BookShop is the go-to place for international and Irish bestsellers as well as children's books and souvenirs.
For Women’s Fashion - Sola Boutique is my own store on Barrack Street where I have curated key fashion collections each season for 10 years now. Swing by and say hello or pick up a stylish new piece for your autumn/winter wardrobe.
For Makeup & Skincare - Femme Make Up Studio & Shop for all your make up needs and tips. This stylish store stocks the latest cosmetic brands, including vegan skincare options.
For Men’s Fashion & Shoes - Mizen Head Outlet is a few doors up from Bantry bookstore and is a great spot for discounts on Timberland & North Face apparel. A good spot for boots for when you are hiking around Bantry.
Where To Eat
A few ideas for eating in (when we’re allowed), The Snug has delicious food and books out quickly, Brick Oven is popular with families and casual dining, The Fish Kitchen has great food and staff, and the Stuffed Olive & Floury Hands are two cafes that I probably frequent too much but everything is baked or made onsite making them so hard to pass. For takeaway food, nearly all of the above offer a takeaway menu at the moment.