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The Mourne coast via Ards and County Down featured in The Guardian - Five unspoiled UK coastlines…

Collage of images, North Down Coastal Path, Donaghadee harbour with boat and houses in distance and Helens Bay.

Date: Monday 1 March 2021

Extract Copyright - The Guardian - Read the full article 'Five unspoiled UK coastlines with spectacular walks' by Kevin Rushby at The Guardian website

Most of us will holiday at home this year, but that needn’t mean busy resorts. These unsung shores offer seclusion and hikes galore.

The Mourne coast via Ards and County Down

The Northern Irish tend to keep this coast to themselves, pretending that the Giant’s Causeway is all they have. But the east coast from Belfast south to Carlingford Lough is a majestic slice of shore, well suited to a road trip, with fine walking and nature-watching opportunities too. Start five miles from Belfast at Holywood (cafes and delis), then head to Bangor (black guillemots in the harbour are known locally as Bangor penguins) and pretty Groomsport, then south down the Ards peninsula: the seaside villages of Donaghadee, Kircubbin and Portavogie are all known for seafood.

Cross Strangford Lough on the ferry from Portaferry and head deeper into County Down. This second stage of the coastal route is rich with heritage: Saint Patrick is buried in Down Cathedral and there are many Norman castles, notably at Ardglas and Dundrum. Murlough nature reserve is a 6,000-year-old dune system at the mouth of Dundrum Bay, a stunningly beautiful place with great birdwatching.

Check out the full article for places to stay and eat when lockdown lifts.

For the latest information on Covid-19 restrictions, go to the NI Direct website