Escape, relax and have fun in Ards and North Down
Minutes from Belfast, Ards and North Down offers something for everyone
Enjoy the breathtaking scenery around Belfast and Strangford Loughs with water’s edge driving routes, exhilarating walking and tranquil cycle paths
When choosing where to enjoy a relaxing short break with friends and family this autumn, Ards and North Down is the perfect place. Explore wide open spaces, surround yourself in beautiful scenery and enjoy great attractions. Just minutes from Belfast, it is easy to get to with great public transport links and road network. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery around Belfast and Strangford Loughs with water’s edge driving routes, exhilarating walking and tranquil cycle paths.
Start exploring at the Ulster Folk Museum with authentic period buildings where you can immerse yourself in rich local traditions from the last 100 years. Just across the road, the Ulster Transport Museum tells the story of transport and social change in this part of the world since the start of the modern era. Set in rolling hillside of Cultra, these two gems offer fascinating insights and a day out that will inspire all ages.
From there, follow the stunning 26 km North Down Coastal Path on foot or bike along shore Belfast Lough shore from Holywood via Crawfordsburn Country Park with its pristine beaches, to the seaside town of Bangor. Here you will enjoy a seaside revival experience strolling with an ice cream on the pier while admiring yachts at the world-class marina.
At www.pickiefunpark.com , have a go on the iconic swans and a ride on the famous Pickie Puffer mini train and enjoy a range of family activities to make cherished memories. The town’s North Down Museum and nearby Walled Garden are ‘must visit’ attractions, where you can delve into the rich local history. From early Christian heritage, to Viking invasions and Ulster Scots settlers, you will see the fascinating past brought to life in this compact museum. It’s a short hop of just a few miles to Donaghadee, where the lighthouse stands tall in the harbour and on a fine day the view to Scotland is clear and uninterrupted.
Adventure on the water also awaits, so why not book a paddle boarding from Bangor marina?
Slow down the pace even further as you drive along the Ards Peninsula and take in the tranquillity of Strangford Lough. Discover charming villages and towns on the way to capture your instagram story at Ireland’s most easterly location, Burr Point. In Portaferry, you’ll discover a sunken galleon, friendly sharks and a snappy crocodile all-star in Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal rehabilitation centre at Exploris.
Hugging the east shore of Strangford Lough, a beautiful drive brings you to National Trust’s Mount Stewart. Steeped in history, this fine Irish Demesne features a recently restored 19th-century stately home, world class gardens and walking trails. Just down the road, Greyabbey is a quaint village with a hub of antique shops where you can also learn about the local historic abbey.
In Newtownards, stretch your legs with a gentle climb to historic Scrabo Tower for panoramic lough views take the opportunity to.... just.... breathe!. In nearby Comber, discover great local tastes in artisan food shops and farmers’ market. Just outside the town, explore the wide open space bursting with nature at Castle Espie Wetland Centre
During your stay immerse yourself in the beautiful blue and green landscape, and make cherished memories by pre-booking a unique restorative experience. Escape into wide open spaces with a Sustainable Journeys Ireland guided tour to explore and connect with nature. Learn about our rich and diverse native wildlife in this unique area of outstanding natural beauty and enjoy the craic with our local people. Adventure on the water also awaits, so why not book a paddle boarding from Bangor marina or take a kayak tour with Mobile Team Adventure to glide with the tide on Strangford Lough?
Back on Land
Back on land, feel the warm welcome at Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen Killinchy, and learn traditional bread making skills. Whether you make soda, wheaten, potato or Fadge as it is known here, it is guaranteed to be delicious! Boasting more award winning eateries than anywhere else in Northern Ireland (outside of Belfast), you will be spoilt for foodie choices.
Great accommodation ranges from cosy selfcatering and guesthouses; caravanning/camping, to 3, 4 and 5-star hotel and spa facilities.
With current special offers running until mid October, book your trip today at visitardsandnorthdown.com/offers*
Escape, relax and have fun in Ards and North Down this autumn.
Note –Many attractions are operating online pre-booking systems or reduced times/capacity at this time, please check specific provider websites for up to date information and safety hygiene measures before your visit.
*Please check individual accommodation providers, attractions and experiences for T&C's. All offers subject to availability.
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