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Kayaking, Vikings, Gardening and Baking – Discover Ards and North Down!

Date: Thursday 17 June 2021

Kayaking, Viking adventures, gardening and baking – it’s all happening in Ards and North Down with a selection of walking tours and experiences this summer! 

Ards and North Down Borough Council has organised a host of activities from one end of the Peninsula to the other, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some unique days out, breathe in the fresh air, and maybe even learn something new… 
Paddle the Port in Portaferry 
(18 June/9 July/20 August) 
New for 2021 is an evening ‘Paddle the Port’ kayaking experience on Strangford Lough. Taking you to the heart of Portaferry, you will learn about the history of the port while paddling on the water. 
Afterwards, the fun continues at the Slip Inn where you can enjoy a tasty bowl of homemade chowder or vegetable soup, before learning how to make the perfect Irish coffee or pour the best pint of Guinness. 
Tickets are priced at £50 per person (must be aged 18 or over). All equipment is provided and it is suitable for beginners. Ticket holders can even make a weekend of it by availing of some special accommodation rates at the Portaferry Hotel! 
Viking Adventures on Strangford Lough 
(17 July) 
Also in Portaferry, why not enjoy some Viking Adventures?  Go kayaking and learn what it was like to be a Viking. Discover the strength needed to steer the longboats to shore before enjoying a ‘Walk & Talk’ tour along the shores of Strangford Lough. 
Your tour guide will share stories about the Vikings and the legacy they left in hidden treasures, language, sayings, craft skills and surnames. You will have the opportunity to see some Viking artefacts and see how they dressed for battle, before finishing the experience with a drop of Mead at the Slip Inn. 
Tickets are priced at £45 per person (must be aged 18 or over). All equipment is provided and it is suitable for beginners. 
Grow and Graze at Castle Espie 
(24 June/14 August/11 September) 
With feet firmly on dry land, you can enjoy a unique day out with Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen and Castle Espie Wetland Centre. Learn how to ‘grow your own’ food and reap the benefits in the kitchen! 
An expert gardening team at the Gardener’s Bothy will teach you how to take care of your garden in an environmentally friendly way and the session will be followed by a traditional Irish breadmaking experience. 
At Tracey’s Farmhouse Kitchen, you will learn how to make your own potato apple cake using apples picked from Castle Espie’s orchard, before enjoying your delicious sweet treat with a tea or coffee while taking in the stunning views over Strangford Lough. Afterwards, you can enjoy a leisurely walk around the Castle Espie reserve – access for the remainder of the day is included in the price of the ticket. Tickets are priced at £30 per person. 
And more… 
There are a number of different walking tours on offer, including a brand new ‘Waggy Tail’ dog friendly tour of Scrabo Hill in July, plus nature trails for kids, and a host of experiences that include yoga and more! 
All providers will operate the experiences with COVID-19 measures in line with current government guidance. NB; experiences are subject to change based on restrictions in place on the scheduled dates. 
Find out more information on Summer Guided Walking Tours and the Experiences Programme