Bangor by the sea
Bangor is a seaside resort on Belfast’s doorstep. It has previously been named the most desirable place to live in Northern Ireland and is easily accessed by train and car.
Bangor is brimming with places to explore; Bangor castle, the Abbey, North Down Museum, Pickie Funpark and a picturesque marina, to name a few. As well as activities, such as karting, sailing and golfing, for those who like the great outdoors.
Bangor Castle is an impressive building that was built for the Hon Robert Edward Ward and his family in 1852. The building is situated in the grounds of Castle Park alongside North Down Museum and is just a short walk from Bangor Castle Walled Garden. Ards and North Down Borough Council presently use the building as their headquarters. Tours of the building are by arrangement only.
The Ward family designed the Castle Park Walled Garden in the 1840s. It was officially opened as a visitor attraction in April 2009. Before that it was considered by many as a secret garden. The Garden opens seasonally from April to October.
Bangor Abbey was founded by St Comgall in 558AD. The Abbey’s celebrated literary work, Bangor Antiphonary -a collection of hymns, prayers and poems - are now kept in the Ambrosian Library in Milan. The churchyard has many old and interesting gravestones including a memorial to the assistant surgeon of the Titanic, John Edward Simpson.
Pickie Fun Park provides an entertaining day out for all the family. Visitors can enjoy the Pickie Puffer steam train, giant Pickie pedal swans and an 18-hole nautical themed mini golf course. It is also the perfect vantage point to sit and enjoy the superb views over Bangor Marina and Belfast Lough.
Bangor's marina is one of Ireland’s largest and has achieved Blue Flag Award status. The McKee Clock and Sunken Gardens are situated on Bangor’s marina. These two venues hold various events/festivals throughout the year. The maritime-inspired Sea Bangor Festival is one of the most popular events held in the summer.
History enthusiasts will love the North Down Museum where you can learn the story of the North Down area from the Bronze Age to the present day through a series of rooms. It also hosts free art exhibitions throughout the year.
The Clandeboye Estate, located a few miles from the town centre, is the largest plot of private land in the area. The Estate is extremely popular for weddings and events. Visitors can tour the estate's stunning gardens which are lead by the head gardener and can be tailored to suit all interests and seasons. In 2007 Lady Dufferin, who owns the Estate successfully launched Clandeboye yoghurt. The infamous Greek style yoghurt won three stars in the Great taste Awards as well as Gold in the Blas na hErieann Irish quality awards.
The town is also home to Northern Ireland’s only 50 metre swimming pool at Aurora Aquatic and Leisure complex, one of Bangor’s most popular attractions.
There are numerous notable people from Bangor. Gary Lightbody from the band Snow Patrol; Zoe Salmon a Blue Peter presenter; and Kelly Gallagher, the first athlete from Northern Ireland to compete in the Winter Paralympics.