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Holywood and Strangford Lough named in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide 2021

Collage of street in Holywood, Seapark and kayakers on Strangford Lough

Date: Wednesday 7 April

Copyright -Best place to live in Northern Ireland named in Sunday Times list, by Sheena McStravick: Full article can be found at Belfast Live website

A picturesque Co Down town has been named as the best place to live in Northern Ireland, according to the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live guide 2021.

The comprehensive guide is released online and it names Holywood, Co Down as the best place to reside in Northern Ireland.

The Sunday Times’s expert judges behind the guide assess a wide range of factors, from schools, air quality, transport and broadband speeds  to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street. 

They look for improving towns, villages or city centres, for attractive, well designed homes and locations bursting with community spirit - which the pandemic has shown to be the most vital quality of all. 

Two other NI areas were also named in the list as great places to live in NI, but are not ranked in order they were: Magherafelt, Co Derry and Strangford Lough, Co Down.

 Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor said: “Holywood seems to be unshiftable as Northern Ireland’s premier address thanks to its unbeatable combination of coast and countryside so close to the centre of Belfast.

“Highlights include swimming and sailing in Belfast Lough, panoramic dog walks in Redburn Country Park and the lively and unusually attractive high street.”

Judges also spoke highly of Holywood saying: "The sandy beach has taken over from the high street as the star attraction, and the coast path has been heaven for dog-walkers, joggers and cyclists.”

As for Strangford Lough, judges said: “Live in Strangford, Portaferry or any of the villages around this beautiful island-studded lough and you’ve got unbeatable wildlife and scenery on the doorstep - and it’s even better if you can get out on the water. Downpatrick, Newtownards and Belfast are all within easy reach, too.”

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Why Strangford Lough, Co Down, is one of the best places to live in 2021

Copyright -The Sunday Times - Why Strangford Lough, Co Down, is one of the best places to live in 2021: Full article can be found at Sunday Times website (subscription fee must be paid to read full article)

Migrating families wanting a tranquil life on the water need look no further than this well-connected lough — just don’t disturb the geese.

Breathtakingly beautiful Strangford Lough, sheltered from the Irish Sea by the friendly arm of the Ards Peninsula, is a magnet for anyone craving an easy life beside one of nature’s loveliest watery playgrounds. It is also where thousands of brent geese from Canada spend the winter.

“It’s like nowhere else on earth,” says Marty O’Neill, 44, who blogs at Dish You Were Here. He lives in a renovated 1950s shoreside bungalow near Portaferry: “It’s magical. Living by the water has such a calming effect. It’s good for everyone — families, kite-surfers, jet skiers, although we don’t like them very much as they disturb the birds.”

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