Information on attractions, accommodation, activities and spacious retail

Ards Visitor Information Centre is ‘Good To Go’,  the spacious centre has adapted and has the necessary Covid-19 procedures in place to welcome you.

Please ensure to follow the guidelines in place throughout your visit, to keep everyone safe.


The centre will provide you with information on where to stay, local events and where to eat during your visit to the Ards Peninsula and Strangford Lough region. 

Situated beside the bus station and within a short walk of the town centre and the main shopping areas, the Centre can provide you with local and national tourist information, accommodation booking service, fax and photocopying service as well as an extensive range of souvenirs. 

Staff can help you plan your day out, short break or holiday in the area and offer information and advice for the next leg of your journey with information on every county in Northern Ireland. 

Buy tickets for many local events including Experience Ards and North Down Tours -

Newtownards, locally known as ‘Ards’, is a large town that lies at the northern tip of Strangford Lough.  The Lough is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, of Special Scientific Interest and Northern Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve.

In 1605, Hugh Montgomery was granted the lands around Ards and set about rebuilding what was then known as Newtown.  Official records show that the town was established in 1606.

Montgomery built a residence in the ruins of the Old Priory, the tower of which remains. The Priory is currently not open to the public because of ongoing conservation work.

Newtownards became a market town, with the Market House in Conway Square constructed in 1770. The market still operates each Saturday on a weekly basis.

The town of Newtownards is overlooked by Scrabo Tower, which is one of the dominant features of the area. The tower is 41 metres high, and was built in 1857 as a memorial to Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.

Newtownards located in Co Down achieved a place in the prestigious Sustainable Destinations Top 100 awards.  In 2019, County Down was selected as the only destination in the UK/Ireland to win a spot in the prestigious Sustainable Destinations Top 100!  Not only has the country achieved a place in the top100, but it has also achieved a GOLD Award!

Local Visitor Information Office - Portaferry

Visitor Servicing in Portaferry is changing with the creation of a new Local Visitor Information Office in the reception of the town’s main attraction, Exploris Aquarium.  There is open access to the Visitor Servicing Office, you do not need to pay the entry fee to Exploris to use it.
This new facility will replace the previous seasonal Visitor Information Centre at the Stables and offer year-round provision, with new extended opening hours. New directional signage will be installed to make the location easy to find. 

Read more about this service in our News Section.

Opening Times

  • Monday to Friday 9.15am-5pm and Saturday 9.30am – 5pm (closed between 12pm-1pm)


  • Free

Contact Details

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