15 Aug 2022

Discover Ards and North Down – A land of loughs and luxury

Discover Ards and North Down – A land of loughs and luxury

Discover Ards and North Down – A land of loughs and luxury

Within minutes of Belfast, this is the place to escape to, slow down and feed your spirit.

Discover beautiful countryside walks and spectacular water’s edge views this Spring. Enjoy a host of exciting attractions, outdoor activities and awaken your spirit by exploring 185 kms of scenic shoreline, including Strangford Lough designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the picture perfect Ards Peninsula.

Easy to get to with short travel times direct from major cities

Located right on Belfast’s doorstep, within 2 hours of Dublin by road and with great public transport links, getting to Ards and North Down is also easy by bus and rail. Once here why not hire a car for freedom to explore our diverse towns and villages, stunning landscapes, coastal walks and lough views?

Ours is a welcome warm and embracing

Ards and North Down is the perfect spot for a relaxing short break. Enjoy the beauty of this place with accommodation ranging from distinctive self-catering options, cosy guest houses, glamping and caravanning/camping to three, four and five-star hotel and spa facilities. Why not book a tour to connect with the locals, taste award winning food and drink and learn a creative skill or learn about our rich heritage?

Ours is a place to discover

It is easy to get lost in the beauty of this place, with breath-taking scenery, lush farmed fields and winding roads, it offers the opportunity to escape, reconnect and nourish your spirit. Picturesque towns and villages will surprise you with our rich heritage and embrace you with our warm welcome.

As a leading food region with a famed agricultural and nautical heritage, home to world class ingredients, innovative local producers and many award-winning restaurants, Ards and North Down is a foodie haven.

Some highlights…

Ards and North Down is just minutes from thriving Belfast city – but a world apart. Follow the stunning 26 km North Down Coastal Path on foot or bike along the shore of Belfast Lough from Holywood via Crawfordsburn Country Park with its pristine beaches, to the seaside town of Bangor. Enjoy a seaside revival experience with an ice cream on the pier, admire the yachts at our world-class marina or entertain the family with an afternoon at Pickie Funpark. Continue along the coast to Donaghadee, where the lighthouse stands tall in the harbour and on a fine day the view to Scotland is clear and uninterrupted.


Ards Peninsula, discovering charming villages and quaint fishing towns on your way to Ireland’s most easterly location, Burr Point. In the village of Portaferry, see marine life close up at Exploris, Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal sanctuary. Stop for a spot of lunch at the Portaferry Hotel or how about fish and chips by the water’s edge at recent award winner, Captain Jack’s ?


Continue around the east shore to National Trust’s Mount Stewart. Visit this fine Irish demesne to learn about the 19th-century house and its fascinating history. Stroll along walking trails and visit the unique garden (voted in the world’s top ten). Just a short drive along the beautiful Ards Peninsula brings you to Greyabbey village, a hub for antique shops and thriving eateries.

In Newtownards, climb up to historic Scrabo Tower to take in the panoramic lough views. Just 10 minutes drive away, you will discover the taste of Ards and North Down at artisan food shops and eateries and a weekly farmers’ market in Comber. For stunning estuary views visit nearby Castle Espie wetland centre or explore the surrounding villages of Lisbane and Killinchy.

Rich heritage and history

Visit The National Trust’s magical Mount Stewart. This fine example of an Irish Demesne is steeped in history, and includes the recently restored 19th-century stately home, world class gardens and extensive walking trails. Enjoy a unique day out to learn about the estate’s rich heritage and wander through the beautiful grounds. Stop off in nearby Greyabbey village, visiting quaint tea rooms, award winning eateries and antique shops followed by a stroll around the historic Abbey.

Water’s edge

Ours is a land of lush fertile fields and sweeping lough shores. Boost your wellbeing with Enjoy fantastic views at the water’s edge, or book a paddleboard or kayaking tour to truly escape and experience beautiful Strangford Lough from a whole new perspective.

Great food and drink

Enjoy our finest local foods in one of the many award-winning restaurants (Noble (Holywood), Balloo and Poacher’s Pocket (Killinchy). Tuk Tuk Bistro(Newtownards and Greyabbey) and artisan food shops or sample a ‘wee dram’ of local ale, gin or whiskey in our cosy pubs. Why not book a foodie tour to sample our produce, learn artisan bread making (e.g. NI Food Tours) or experience spirits production at local distilleries? Echlinville & Copeland

Make memories with friends and family

Step back 100 years at the Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster Transport Museum in Cultra and visit Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal rehabilitation centre, Exploris in Portaferry. Get up close to Ireland's largest collection of native and migrant birds at Castle Espie Wetland Centre or spend the day at Bangor’s Pickie Funpark, with family favourites the ‘Pickie Puffer’, giant pedal swans and more.

Stay a while and relax in the beauty of this place. to plan your short break today.

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.