Looking for things to do in Bray? You’ll find plenty below!
Old-fashioned though they may appear at first, seasides town are still going strong and if you don’t believe us then take a trip to vibrant Bray on the Wicklow coast.
Less than an hour from Dublin, there’s a host of great things to do in Bray if you fancy escaping the capital for a day or two.
The best things to do in Bray
If you read our guide to the best things to do in Wicklow, you’ll know that Bray is home to a number of mighty walks, hikes and places to eat.
It’s also home to what’s arguably one of the best pubs in the country (we’ll get to that in a minute!). Below, you’ll discover what to do in Bray if you’re visiting in 2020.
1. Climb Bray Head
Can you really say you’ve done Bray if you haven’t climbed Bray Head? Looking down over the town’s long promenade and beyond, it’s a big unmissable reminder just in case you haven’t made the trek yet.
A 241-metre high hill located on the south end of the beach, it offers deadly views over Bray and up towards Dublin.
It’s also a good warm-up if you’re planning on further hikes into the Wicklow Mountains. This is the perfect early-morning activity for those looking for things to do in Bray on a fine day.
2. Post-climb ice cream from Gelateria Bray
If you prefer more conventional seaside activities, then look no further than getting a tasty cold treat from Gelateria Seafront. And trust me when I tell you the ice creams are even better after you’ve conquered Bray Head! Take a stroll along the old Victorian promenade, originally the headline attraction back when Bray was known as the ‘Brighton of Ireland’. Cheap package holidays abroad have long since put paid to that moniker, but the promenade is just as elegant as it ever was.
3. Sea Life Bray (perfect for those of you looking for things to do in Bray with kids!)
When the weather isn’t playing ball (as is often the case in this part of the world…) and a rain-soaked ice cream doesn’t sound hugely appealing, head indoors to Sea Life Bray, Ireland’s number one aquarium.
Conspicuously located right on the promenade front, it’s a treasure trove of colourful fish, tropical life and it even contains sharks and octopus.
It’s good value too, with advance tickets online available from €11.25. This is a handy one for those of you wondering what to do in Bray with kids!
4. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk
Hugging the coastline around Bray Head, the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk is a leisurely 7km stroll with some wonderful coastal views along the way.
Running between the towns of Bray and Greystones (obviously), the route actually follows a train line around before it disappears into a tunnel.
The rugged coastline is picturesque and the trek isn’t too long for inexperienced walkers. Top it off with a pint or an ice cream when you reach Greystones (because why not?!).
The need to knows: The walk from Bray to Greystones should take you around 2 hours. You can then get the DART from Greystones back to Bray, if you fancy.
5. A post-adventure pint in one of the finest pubs in the land
While there are a few places to choose from in Greystones, the return leg pint HAS to be sipped in the excellent Harbour Bar.
An institution in Bray since 1872, its quirky shabby-chic interior and great character make it a savage place to sink a few beers following a long walk.
Originally a terrace of fisherman’s houses, it’s now one of Ireland’s finest pubs and even hosts live music and stand-up comedy gigs.
Traveller tip: If you’re looking for things to do in Bray with a group, do the Bray Head walk and then round it off with food and a pint (the Guinness here is exceptional!) here.
6. Killruddery House & Gardens
This seriously stately house lies just to the south of Bray. Dating from the 17th century (although large scale renovations took place between 1820 and 1830), the house is built in an Elizabethan style and the estate covers around 800 acres.
Take a tour of the house between May and October to see how the other half live. And for families with restless kids, there’s the Squirrel’s Scramble adventure tree park for high rise hijinks featuring zip-lines and climbing walls.
7. Bray Adventures
Time to pack the wet suit! It can take a lot to coax some people into the chilly Irish sea. However, the lads at Bray Adventures have been making light work of it for years.
If you’re in search of fun things to do in Bray, this ones for you! From kayaking to surfing and even stand-up paddleboarding, Bray Adventures have you covered.
Also, check out the new activity ‘coasteering’ (don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before, it was new to me too), a heady combination of rock climbing, sea swimming, caving and cliff jumping.
8. Grab a feed in one of Bray’s many great restaurants
Bray’s blessed with some cracking spots to get some food. In fact, the excellent Box Burger and Platform Pizza are both located on the corner of Strand Road and Quinsborough Road, offering quality sea views while you eat.
And if you’re staying overnight in Bray, then don’t miss out on breakfast at Dockyard No.8 where you’ll get a quality feed that’s guaranteed to sort you out for the rest of the day.
Hop into our guide to the best restaurants in Bray to discover heaps of places to eat, from cheap eats to fine dining.
Things to do near Bray
Bray is a stone’s throw from many of the best things to do in Wicklow. If you base yourself in the town for a night or two, you’ll be a handy spin of an endless number of attractions.
From long, lovely walks in Glendalough to a coffee and a ramble near Powerscourt Waterfall, you’ll find a handful of brilliant things to do near Bray below!
1. Powerscourt Waterfall
You’re spoilt for choice in Wicklow for great scenery but among the hills and mountains lies Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest waterfall.
Only a 20-minute drive from Bray, it rises to 121 metres (ranking it a mighty 687th in the world!) and is part of the beautiful Powerscourt Estate. Tickets to see the waterfall cost €6.50 and can be paid for on arrival.
Not only does Glendalough contain some of the finest scenery in Wicklow, its historic Monastic site dates back to the 6th century.
30 minutes from Bray, the monastic remains here include the ruined St Mary’s Church and, most famously, the 30-metre-tall Round Tower.
If you head into ‘the valley of the two lakes’, look out for the abundant wildlife as well as the gorgeous views.
3. The Sally Gap Drive
If you’re going to do the Wicklow Mountains, do them properly, which means heading off on the stunning Sally Gap Drive (or cycle!).
With picturesque stops at the shimmering Lough Tay, the spectacular Military Road and the relaxing Glenmacnass Waterfall, you’ll be kept entertained from beginning to end.
The drive takes around half an hour from start to finish, but there’s absolutely no rush so enjoy the views and take it all in at your own pace.
What to do in Bray: where have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally missed out on some brilliant things to do in Bray in the guide above.
If you know of an attraction (or a pub, restaurant or cafe) that you want to shout about, let us know in the comments section below.