If you’re looking for things to do in Navan and nearby, you’ve landed in the right spot!
Navan is the county town of County Meath and, while it’s close to many of the best things to do in Meath, it’s often overlooked.
However, there’s some excellent restaurants in Navan and there’s plenty to see and do around the town, too!
Below, you’ll find a clatter of things to do in Navan, regardless of the time of year. Dive on in!
Our favourite things to do in Navan (and nearby)
The first section of this guide tackles our favourite things to do in Navan, from walks and coffee to food and tours.
Below, you’ll find everything from the brilliant Navan Adventure Centre and the mighty Athlumney Castle to some fine spots for a feed.
1. Kick-start your visit with breakfast from Room 8
Situated at 8 Watergate Street, Room 8 is the perfect place to kick-start your day with a delicious breakfast. This restaurant has received multiple awards including the 2019 Irish Hospitality Award to the 2018 and 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
If you’re looking for a hearty feed, the Irish breakfast (with eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, roast tomatoes, homemade hash brown, black and white pudding) will do the trick!
If you fancy something lighter, try the nutty crunch granola served with Greek yoghurt or the Room8 energizer smoothie.
2. Then give one of the many activities in the Navan Adventure Centre a crack
After making your belly happy, head off to the Navan Adventure Centre. Here you’ll find tons of different activities to entertain both children and adults alike. Try football golf, or play a game of the more traditional mini golf.
There’s also human foosball, archery and off-road pedal go-karting. The centre also offers activities for kids, such as the junior Einstein science workshop, the adventure obstacle course and an amazing inflatables area where they can run wild.
While each activity has a different price, there are several special family offers available. For example, the Multi-Activity package gives you access to four different activities for an hour and a half is €15 for kids and €5 for adults.
3. Step back in time at Athlumney Castle
Athlumney Castle is situated within walking distance of Navan town centre on Convent Road. The oldest part of the castle is the tower house, which dates back to the 15th century while the Tudor-style house attached to it was built later, during the late 16th and the early 17th century.
In 1649, during the Siege of Drogheda, the owner of the castle, Maguire, burned it down to stop Oliver Cromwell taking it over. Then, in 1686, the castle was owned by the high sheriff of Meath, Sir Launcelot Dowdall, who burned the castle again before leaving for France.
Nowadays, Athlumney Castle can only be accessed through the nearby Athlumney Manor B&B located on the Kentstown Road.
4. Or soak up views for days at the Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is an important archaeological area dating back to 3,000 BC, and it’s a handy 15-minute drive from the centre of Navan. The Hill of Tara has been used for centuries as an assembly site as well as a burial place.
Tara plated an important in Irish mythology as it was the legendary inauguration site of the High Kings of Ireland. From the Hill of Tara, you can enjoy breathtaking views out over the surrounding countryside.
There’s a parking area next to it and, if you like, you can take a guided tour which leaves from the visitor centre.
Related read: Check out our guide to 9 of the best hotels in Navan (and nearby) in 2022.
5. Followed up by a ramble along the Ramparts Canal & River Boyne Walk
The Ramparts Canal & River Boyne Walk is an 8 km linear walk (16km each way) that’s one of the more popular walks in Meath. The trail runs from Stackallen to Navan Ramparts (or vice versa).
It takes those that saunter along it past everywhere from Babe’s Bridge and Dunmoe Castle to Ardmulchan Church and more.
Other popular things to do in Navan (and nearby)
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Navan out of the way, it’s time to see what else this corner of Meath has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from more walks and ice cream to some ideas around what to do in Navan when it rains.
1. Head for a spin out to Dunmoe Castle
Dunmoe Castle is beautifully situated on the banks of the River Boyne, around a 10-minute drive from Navan. This castle was built in the 15th century for the D’arcy family and it originally had four turreted structures even though only two remain nowadays.
Unfortunately, Dunmoe Castle was destroyed by a fire in 1798. Next to the castle, you will find an overgrown chapel and a graveyard with the D’arcy family’s crypt.
2. Then take a tour of nearby Slane Castle and its distillery
Slane Castle has also been the stage of many concerts, with everyone from Queen and the Rolling Stones to Eminem taking to the stage. The estate is also home to a whiskey distillery along with one of the more unique places to go glamping in Meath.
When you finish up at the castle, take the short drive up to the ancient Hill of Slane, a place steeped in legend.
3. Spend a rainy evening at the Solstice Arts Centre
If you’re looking for things to do in Navan when it’s raining, drop into the excellent Solstice Arts Centre in Navan town centre. The centre programmes a mix of visual arts, cinema, theatre, music and dance from both local and international artists and musicians.
The Solstice Arts Centre features a theatre and several rooms where local and international artists regularly exhibit their art. If you fancy a coffee, nip into Solstice Cafe – this is a big, bright space that’s perfect to kick back in with a book.
4. And a dry one exploring Brú na Bóinne
It’s believed that these passage tombs were used as places for rituals and most of them are aligned with either the equinoxes or the solstices. Two out of the three passage tombs, Newgrange and Knowth, can be accessed from Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, situated in Glebe.
The third, Dowth, can be easily reached by car and you won’t need a ticket to visit it.
5. Visit the brilliant Bective Abbey
Bective Abbey is a handy 10-minute drive from Navan. This abbey was founded in 1147 and was the second Cistercian abbey in the whole of Ireland. In the past, it included several granges, as well as a fishing-weir and a watermill built on the River Boyne.
Scholars have recently discovered the existence of a large-scale cereal processing and a garden used by the Cistercian monks who once lived here.
6. Followed by a stroll around the mighty Trim Castle
Trim Castle is situated in the heart of Trim, around 15 km from Navan town centre. This is the largest Anglo-Norman fortification in the whole of Ireland and most of what can still be seen nowadays was built in 1220.
The most impressive feature of Trim Castle is its three-storey keep, characterised by 20 corners!
A visit to Trim Castle is quite cheap – an adult ticket will cost you €5 while a child or student ticket will cost you €3.
What to do in Navan: What have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to do in Navan in the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about places to visit in Navan
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to visit with kids to what to do near the town.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What are the best things to do in Navan?
Navan Adventure Centre, Athlumney Castle and the Ramparts Canal & River Boyne Walk are hard to beat.
What are the best places to visit near Navan?
You’ve many of the Boyne Valley’s top attractions a short drive away, like Brú na Bóinne, the Hill of Tara, Slane and plenty more.
What are some good things to do in Navan with kids?
There’s plenty on offer for kids in Navan Adventure Centre, like the junior Einstein science workshop and the adventure obstacle course.
Cristina fell in love with Ireland’s breath-taking landscapes, quirky folklore and traditional music while studying in Limerick. Many years later, her love for all things Irish is just as strong.