Categories: InspirationChristmas

Gift your loved ones a piece of Ards and North Down this Christmas

We pride ourselves on the wealth and array of opportunities to experience something unique in Ards and North Down, or made to be unique by artists, producers and makers who form our extensive entertainment, food and creative offering. We have gathered a few ideas to help you effortlessly tick off that gift list.

A sprinkle of seasonal inspiration...

Give the gift of time to loved ones. An experience makes for a fantastic gift - be it a family trip to the farm, or a creative workshop, a meal out, concert tickets, attraction vouchers... it cuts down on the 'stuff' whilst enabling friends and family to spend quality time together.

A trio of images including a christmas themed plate, The Portico of Ards venue and a reindeer at Ark Open Farm


Take advantage of our offers on local hotels, activities, family fun attractions and gift cards.
Find an offer

Events and Experiences

Visit our What's On listings for upcoming events and experiences that would make great gifts, from breadmaking to concerts, find out what’s on this season and spoil your loved ones...

Highlights include:
New Years Day Walks, Donaghadee and Newtownards
Start the new year afresh with a chance to learn new things about old places in one our New Years Day walks as part of the Experience Ards and North Down 2023 programme
Donaghadee Walk - Find out more | Newtownards Walk - SOLD OUT

Find more tours

Traditional Breadmaking with Tracey's Farmhouse Kitchen
On the shores of idyllic Ballymorran Bay in Killinchy you will find this little homely gem owned and run by Tracey. She will guide you through the process of making your own breads where afterwards you can enjoy your bakes with tea round the kitchen table. Tracey offers a range of experiences throughout the year too such as Board and Pizza, where you can learn to paddleboard on the bay, refuelling yourself with homemade pizza, afternoon tea experiences and more.
Find out more

Take to the Skies with Heli-Power, Newtownards 
Take the controls of a helicopter with experienced and enthusiastic instructors and experience the thrill of  helicopter flying with a trial flight experience.
Find out more

Get On the Water
Explore our coastline and loughs at any time of year with these fabulouse local experience providers SUP Hub NI, Strangford Lough Activity Centre and Mobile Team Adventure, who all offer unique immersive adventures on our local waters, including Strangford Lough, an officially designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Each provider has a range of experiences,  lessons, and gift vouchers, perfect for those who love the outdoors, the water and who relish trying new things. 


If music or comedy shows are more your persons thing then you will be spoilt for choice here in Ards and North Down. The Portico of Ards in Portaferry offers up an eclectic programme of comedy, family shows and concerts to name a few.
Find out more

The Court House, run by the crew of Open House Festival, is Bangor's newest entertainment venue, home to live music and the arts, offers a fantastic programme throughout the year.
Find out more

Get creative

Eden Pottery in Millisle has such a range of pottery ready for you to paint - making a personal keepsake gift. Or gift someone a chance to create their own masterpiece!
Find out more

Enjoy a jewellery making course with NI Silver. Give the gift precious time together, making some sterling silver jewellery with Ruth and Steve, based in Holywood.

During a courses you will learn the process of old traditional ways of making jewellery, from start to finish, with refreshments along the way.  Guests will take home a lovely shiny piece of silver jewellery at the end, made personally. Guests can make even more of a day of it by enjoying the local surrounds of Holywood, 'historical gem of the lough'. 

There are 3 jewellery making options to choose from including basic jewellery making, to full VIP hosting with Prosecco/cheeses (if you're looking for something really special).  Book one of the packages or a gift card.

Ruth, Steve and their gorgeous dogs will offer you a lovely warm welcome and host you in their cosy, bespoke studio for a personal course, private to your group, so the guest really gets a artist led experience personal to them, making it even more special.  You don't have to be artistic, anyone can do it, even children from 8 years upwards!
Find out more

Farm days

The Ark Open Farm in Conlig, between Bangor and Newtownards, makes for a great family day out! Why not consider gifting a voucher to use on a day at the farm.
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Exploris Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary

Continuing on the theme of nature and family days, Exploris, Northern Ireland's only aquarium, located in Portaferry, offers up a load of fun for the little ones and big ones alike. Consider gifting 'A Night at the Aquarium - A Food and Tour Experience' - an afterhours tour followed by a sumptuous 3 course meal in the Kraken bar and grill.
Find out more

Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster Transport Museum

These two fabulous museums, located opposite each other near Holywood, provide two very different experiences. Visitors can explore either or both. 
Find out more - Ulster Folk | Ulster Transport

Annual passes for each of these individual fantastic attractions are available to purchase directly.

Give the gift of time

For lot's more ideas of what there is to do in the borough, providing even more inspiration for gifting days out, visit

Foodie Favourites

Lay your table with food made from our quality ingredients, fresh from our tide and turf. Or, treat family and friends to vouchers for one of our award-winning restaurants or unique experiences, why not gift a food hamper filled with lots of local goodies and treats?

Restaurant vouchers
Eating out can be a real treat for some, especially when they don't have to pay! Choose from a wide and varied selection of restaurants, many of which are award winning, within the borough; most of whom should offer gift vouchers.
Find a restaurant

Afternoon Tea
Treat someone you care about to an Afternoon Tea at one of the borough locations. Served alongside warm hospitality, relax in one of the lovely settings and enjoy all that the tier provides!

Food hampers
Make your own food hamper using local produce from our local markets, producers and deli's. Our Visitor Information Centre team can help guide you on our local producers and where to find stock.

Distillery experiences
Gin and whiskey lovers will delight in tours and experience days held in our two local distilleries, Copeland Distillery in bustling Donaghadee town and Echlinville Distillery in the heart of Kircubbin countryside.*
Find out more
*For more information on safe alcohol consumption, visit the Drinkaware website.

Food and Drink tours
Local tour companies provide a programme during the year including food and drink tours in the borough, giving the opportunity for visitors to get a taste of our quality ingredients from the tide and the turf cooked with passion and care and also a taste for our renowned warm hospitality in Ards and North Down.
Find a tour

A trio of images including a group on a drinks tours, a couple enjoying breakfast and a family at Exploris Aqaurium

Credit image (Group with drinks, family at Exploris Aquarium): Tourism Northern Ireland

Local artists, makers and producers

Give the gift of buying something unique from one of our talented local artisan makers; supporting passionate people, sharing their personal skill and craft. Shop our upcoming local markets and pop ups shops showcasing our local artists and makers...

Find Seasonal Shopping and Festive Markets this Christmas 2023

A trio of images including the Creative Peninsula Edit, North Down Museum Christmas Shop and two children dressed with santa hats

Gift momentos from home

Our Visitor Information Centresbased in Bangor and Newtownards, can be of help finding something unique in the way of experiences and events, as well as being home to gift shops of local handmade gifts of jewellery, textiles and natural beauty products, as well as local landmark tree decorations and calendars for the new year, ideal to send to loved ones overseas.

Royal Mail Christmas last posting dates 2023

Something a little different...

Ulster Wildlife, a conservation charity whose purpose is to protect and restore nature on land and at sea in Northern Ireland, and who, in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council, maintain Balloo Nature Reserve and Balloo Wetland in Bangor, have wonderful Christmas gift ideas, including adopt an animal.

The Ulster Wildlife is offering a range of nature-friendly Christmas gifts through their online shop, including animal adoptions... The perfect gift for animal lovers, each adoption comes with an awesome adoption pack, plus twice-yearly updates about our conservation work.

All shop profits go to protecting our native wildlife and wild places, with Adopt an Animal proceeds going directly to helping your chosen species. So by choosing a wild gift, you know that you’re making a difference for nature.
Find out more

Calling on tourism providers...

If you have tourism news, festive events, gift ideas and unique experiences for consideration for the Visit Ards and North Down channel. You can share your stories here Share your story and Submit an event.