A great choice of Beaches in the Borough
With over 100 miles of coastline, the Borough has a great choice of beaches
With over 100 miles of coastline, Ards and North Down offers you a great choice of beaches, from secluded bays for relaxing and catching the rays, to popular paddling and bathing strands to cool off and enjoy a picnic with the family.
At Crawfordsburn Country Park you have a choice of two beaches! Helen’s Bay with its gently shelving sands is surrounded by meadow and wooded headlands; keep an eye out for overwintering eider and tern, porpoise and seals. Crawfordsburn beach, another family favourite, has excellent facilities in the Country Park Visitor Centre and parkland walks, right on its doorstep.
Along the coast, close by the buzz of Bangor, is Ballyholme’s mile long sandy strand backed by a promenade and the seaside villas of the Esplanade. Rocky outcrops mark each end of the beach and on the eastern extreme, Ballymacormick Point challenges you to explore its whin covered crag.
Groomsport is a pretty village with a small sandy beach, beside Cockle Row Visitor Information Centre, where you can enjoy music and activities for children most weekends in summer. Download the programme of events at Cockle Row Cottages.
Millisle is everyone’s idea of a real bucket and spade day out with a safe, sandy beach, play and picnic area, jetty and slipways. The beach park has excellent facilities and, if you have forgotten your picnic, stock up in the local shops, or treat yourself to fish and chips and, of course, an ice cream!
Next is Ballywalter, with rock pools galore and plenty of space for paddling! The children will love the Playship nearby, while grown-ups can enjoy bird watching, even in winter, with golden plover and turnstone amongst the many birds to spot.
Ballyhalbert beach is another to tick off your bucket and spade list, situated in this small village with its row of fishermen’s cottages lining the shore. Along the pier is Northern Ireland’s most easterly point, Burr Point, marked by a weathered metal sculpture so you cannot miss it.
At Portavogie, famous for its prawns, a promenade takes you north from the harbour to East Shore beach. Towards the end of this beach is The Cove, where the fishermen of old would beach their boats on the sand before the harbour was built. The views to Scotland are wonderful and from Portavogie’s other beach, the South Shore, near the Quays seafood restaurant, you can spot the Isle of Man on the horizon.
Cloughey has a gloriously long beach backed by sand dunes – perfect for a sheltered picnic spot. A new boardwalk through the dunes gives good access for buggies and helps stop erosion of the dune system. With ample parking and a picnic area it is great for a family day out.
Further south down the Ards Peninsula, the landscape becomes increasingly rural and the beaches very tranquil. Knockinelder Bay, near Kearney, has a glorious horseshoe of sand which you will often have all to yourself. Millin Bay, backed by a mysterious ancient cairn with stunning views to the Isle of Man, is a peaceful and atmospheric place, while nearby Quintin Bay, a secluded little cove, is a Game of Thrones film location.