Ards and North Down
Embrace the natural landscapes and seascapes as you journey the 115 miles (185km) of scenic coastline winding your way along the edge of Belfast Lough, on to the Ards Peninsula and Strangford Lough.

Explore water’s edge beauty spots and heritage sites, savour our award-winning local food and drink, be inspired by our creative makers and experience exhilarating activities and events – it’s all waiting for you!

Family fun

Ours is a promise of adventure, from the nooks in the woods to award-winning beaches and country parks, we’re home to some of Northern Ireland’s top attractions.

Step into life as it was a hundred years ago at the Ulster Folk Museum, where passionate craft makers in authentic town and country dwellings demonstrate traditional skills. At the Ulster Transport Museum enjoy one of Europe’s most comprehensive transport collections.

Visit Northern Ireland’s only aquarium and seal rehabilitation centre, Exploris (Portaferry). Get up close to Ireland’s largest collection of native and exotic waterbirds, bats and migrant birds at Castle Espie Wetland Centre (Comber) or spend the day at Pickie Funpark (Bangor) to enjoy family favourites, the ‘Pickie Puffer’, giant pedal swans and mini golf.

There are activities a plenty to keep the kids amused. From animal antics to karting, skate parks to crazy golf and water slides.

Adventure awaits

Get behind the wheel of a racing car or go-cart to curb your need for speed, or enjoy a bird’s eye view as you take to the skies by plane, helicopter or microlight.

Explore the beauty of our lough shores by paddleboard or canoe, slow down the pace with a yoga session, self-discovery or guided walking tour.*

Ards and North Down is also a haven for golfers with a rich heritage dating back 125 years with 12 diverse courses all within a 1-hour drive from Belfast, including parkland and links as well as being home to Ireland’s oldest club, The Royal Belfast. 

Whatever adventure you choose, a warm local welcome awaits!

Experience hidden gems and create lasting memories...

Be surprised and awakened with immersive experiences and guided walking tours

Take in the natural beauty of our countryside, encounter water’s edge wonders, charming towns and villages and our delicious food and drink.

Our local people are ready to welcome you and share their skills.

Be captivated on a historic guided walking tour, or try something new on our stunning coastal waters and loughs.

*Find out more and pre-book your adventure today via our Experience page or Summer Guided Walks page.

Time depth

Discover the stories, embrace the folklore and indulge in our rich heritage. Explore ruined castles, holy wells, abbeys and military forts where tales of Bronze Age communities, Vikings, our early Christian and Ulster-Scots heritage and the role of this area in the Great Wars all come to life.

Local museums each have a unique story to tell. North Down Museum in Bangor, travels back to the Bronze Age through a series of rooms, each dedicated to a particular era. The Somme Museum, Conlig, transports you to the trenches for fascinating insights into life during the First and Second World Wars.

Uncover the magic of the National Trust’s Mount Stewart. Tour the 19th century stately home, stroll in world-class gardens or wind along idyllic woodland and farmland walking trails in this magnificent Irish demesne.

Water’s edge

This is the perfect base for water sport enthusiasts, with wonderful coastal waters and passionate providers to help as you give kite surfing, paddleboarding, canoeing or scuba diving a go.

Our scenic shoreline is yours to escape to and explore with a boat trip around the loughs, or a coastal walk or bike ride.

Creative spirit

A region brimming with creativity, with more makers per head than anywhere else in Northern Ireland. Awaken your creative spirit with a visit to our galleries, workshops and studios dotted across the landscape, where their unique skills are shared and crafts and artworks are showcased for sale.

Meet the makers, hear their stories, or why not take a class?

Food and drink

Savour the tastes of our region with the finest and freshest ingredients found at our traditional markets, artisan food shops and dishes across the region’s award-winning restaurants.

See how fine gins and whiskeys are produced at Echlinville and Copeland distilleries.

Ards and North Down is the ideal location to escape, relax and have fun.

Many of our providers are 'We're Good To Go' registered, committed to operating safely so that you can enjoy a visit with confidence.

Find out more about the uniqueness of this place, Why Ards and North Down must be on your list of places to visit.

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***Travel restrictions apply and Covid-19 regulations in Northern Ireland may differ from other regions.  Visit the NI Direct website prior to booking for up-to-date government information. Re-opening dates vary, if you are planning a day out, please check individual provider websites before you leave the house to confirm if they are open or closed and avoid any disappointment. Many providers have pre-booking systems and new regulations in place to keep you safe, to enjoy your visit safely please adhere to the public health guidance, found on the Public Health Agency website.