Six things to do on a rainy day in Westport
Go back in time
Head to Westport Quay and step back in time at the Clew Bay Heritage Centre, situated in a 19th-century building on the quayside. Here, you can discover wonderful gems about the history of the planned town and its surrounding area from pre-Christian times.
A true treasure trove of artefacts, documents and photographs that create an awesome tapestry of local history, customs and traditions. The centre also offers a genealogical service, guided tours of the centre and group walks by appointment.
The Custom House Studios and Gallery was set up in the 1980s, when a group of locally based artists put their creative heads together to push for a centre for the arts that offered both studio space and a dedicated exhibition space.
The old Custom House at the Quay was subsequently carefully restored, conserving its historical architectural features, and it now houses seven studios, a printmaking workshop and a beautiful two-storey, light-drenched gallery space. Check out the www.customhousestudios.ie to find out what’s on when you’re in town.
Westport has become a bit of a yoga mecca in recent years. The Yoga Root is Westport’s first dedicated yoga studio tucked away in a beautifully restored 18th-century mill at Westport Harbour. The studio hosts lots of drop-in classes and workshops suitable for all body types and flexibility. The state of the art studio is spacious, warm and welcoming. It's the perfect spot to meet the locals and to unwind while on your hols.
See how the other half lives
No historic house is complete without a good set of dungeons. Westport House does not disappoint: In its dungeons, you’ll find the foundations of one of Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley’s castles.
The house itself was first built in 1650 by Colonel John Browne and his wife, Maude Burke, Grace’s great-great-granddaughter. Over the years, it underwent several expansions under the sure-handed guidance of several celebrated architects. Over 30 opulent rooms are on show, containing original furnishing and fittings, fine decorative plasterwork, period antiques and works of art.
Okay, if you’ve kids, they might get a bit bored with ‘the cultural stuff’. Don’t panic! There’s a wide choice of kiddie-friendly fun in Westport too. Aside from the town’s cinema and fantastic municipal 25m swimming pool (with separate 12m children’s pool), there’s the Wild West Indoor Play Village, where they can get stuck into everything from arts and crafts to storytelling and face painting.
Westport House also has an indoor play facility – the Pirate’s Den soft-play area, perfect for younger kids and toddlers. Outside in the Pirate Adventure Park (open from April), there’s always the Pirate’s Plunge log-flume water ride – hey, it’s raining anyway, so you may as well let them get wet!
Go to the spa
Many of the hotels in Westport boast world-class spas, each offering their own signature treatments. Head to Westport Plaza’s Spa Sula thermal suites and find a tranquil sanctuary – and an outdoor hot tub. Knockranny House Hotel’s Spa Salveo offers everything from lavender floatation therapy to its Scandinavia-inspired Sami Zen treatment package.
Senses Spa at Hotel Westport offers a taste of Turkey with a hammam experience and traditional mud and steam treatments. Feel like a little bit of India in the west? The Spa at the Westport Coast Hotel offers a range of rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments.
You can find out more info on the best spas and places to stay in Westport here.