Here are some ideas to help you experience Ards and North Down from the comfort of your home
With enhanced restrictions in Northern Ireland, we have to stay safe and stay at home. However, we look forward to welcoming you back to discover all we have to offer when the time is right, in the meantime here are some ideas to experience the area from home.
For up to date information on restrictions please check the NI Executive website.
Ards Art Centre and North Down Museum
Even though Ards Arts Centre and North Down Museum are currently closed you are still able to enjoy some recent exhibitions online.
Ards Art Centre
'Fragments of Memory' by Millie Moore Artist. In the video you can enjoy a tour of the exhibition, a short artist's talk from Millie where she explains the inspiration behind her paintings and charcoal drawings made in response to reflections and memories of her daily walks during the first lockdown last Spring.
North Down Museum
The 'What We Wore' exhibition showcases the museum's small but fascinating clothing collection, it originally opened in The Long Gallery at the end of September 2020 and includes garments ranging from civic ceremonial robes to wedding dresses and children's clothes.
If you missed it here is the chance to view a virtual walkthrough of the exhibition along with some images and more detailed information on selected items.
Eden at Home, pottery decorating boxes are available to order via the website, you can pm, call or email.
- Choose the pieces for your box there's lots of choice, from mugs to plates, bowls and more.
- Confirm what theme you would like your sponge packs to be.
- Pick up, take home and enjoy creative fun. (A courier service can also be arranged).
Minimum four items per box, collection or courier service available to your address, box contents with exception of your pottery remain the property of Eden Pottery and are rented.
Exploring Ards and North and what makes us unique
Explore some of the shared history of the borough of Ards and North Down with Blue badge guide Lolly Spence and NI Screen film archives in this popular online programme from Ards and North Down Borough Council Good Relations team. Each day from 8.00pm-9.30pm we will visit a different town or village and uncover layers of history from before Christianity to the arrival of Ulster-Scots, the Troubles and modern events.
- Donaghadee – Monday 22 March
- Comber – Tuesday 23 March
- Portaferry – Wednesday 24 March
- Newtownards – Thursday 25 March
- Bangor – Friday 26 March
Programmes will be delivered on Zoom. To register please email email@example.com
Homeschooling ideas from Ards and North Down
Some of our wonderful attractions and organisations in the area have compiled learning hubs and resources to help with homeschooling and ways to entertain the kids.
National Museums Northern Ireland
- Looking for creative and educational ways to entertain the kids? Look no further than National Museums NI's New Museums For Kids hub!
WWT Castle Espie
- Fun indoor and outdoor activities for families with a wetland theme, helping you get away from those screens. From things to make and do to helpful nature-spotting guides, there’s something for every kind of weather. WWT Castle Espie Fun Learning Zone.
Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership
- Have collated free resources available online which can be used at home or in your garden, helping you discover the natural environment. Environmental themed resources.
Moved by Nature Ards and North Down Big Calendar 2021
Provides inspiration to get outdoors, value our natural surroundings and encourages us to look after our emotional health and wellbeing. Even during lockdown this calendar has some lovely ideas to help you pause and connect with the nature around you.
Here are a few to get you started:
- Step outside, be still for 3 minutes and listen to your surroundings,
- Listen to stories of coastal life around Strangford Lough from the people who live and work there, part of the legacy of the Turn O' The Tide Programme by Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership. Listen now on YouTube
Developed as part of The Big Plan for Ards and North Down, you can read more about how it was developed and download from our News section
Mount Stewart History
Mount Stewart has been the home of the Stewart family, Marquesses of Londonderry for over 250 years. After a major restoration project, it now reflects the era when Charles, 7th Marquess of Londonderry, and his wife Edith, made it their much-loved Irish home from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Read more about the history of Mount Stewart, the beautiful rooms and treasures at the National Trust Mount Stewart website
Gardeners' tips: Hear from National Trust gardeners and get lots of gardening inspiration and ideas to make the most of your outdoor space from winter gardening inspiration, how you can help the birds to making your own compost.
Peter Rabbit™ activities and games to try at home: the National Trust have downloadable activity packs to for you to enjoy at home, the packs include puzzles, things to make and fun ideas to spark your imagination with your favourite Beatrix Potter characters. Get to know Peter and his friends with some baking, crafting and inspiration to keep the kids entertained.
Open House Festival - The Court House Sessions
From Friday, 26 February 2021, until mid-March the Open House Festival will be presenting a series of short videos showcasing some of Bangor’s very best musical and literary talents – including The Florentinas, The Darkling Air, and Colin Bateman. This is just a sample of our local artists, writers and poets.
The performances, which will last from ten to twenty minutes, will be recorded in the old Court House and released from Friday 26th February through to mid-March.
Sustainable Journey's Ireland
Learn more about the region and add some wonderful places to your list for when we can travel again. Our friend Brigid Watson from Sustainable Journeys Ireland has shared some stunning footage and insights to this beautiful place. Learn about some hidden gems in the region which will provide inspiration for when the time is right to travel. Keep an eye on the Visit Ards and North Down Facebook page or check them out on YouTube via the link below.
Tracey's Home Cooking Online
Join Tracey in her Farmhouse Kitchen (via Zoom) where she'll be cooking her family favourites.
Dishes are very easy to follow and interactive. You can ask questions as Tracey guides you through the recipe. It’s the next best thing to being in her kitchen! You’ll get the recipes as soon as you register which will give you plenty of time to get your ingredients. Or you can choose to sit back, watch and enjoy the session then cook your dishes another time.You’ll soon be cooking lots of delicious savoury and sweet recipes, from meatloaf to apple and blackberry crumble and from carrot fritters to baked rice pudding.
The first session is Saturday 23 January from 5pm - 6pm. Sessions will take place twice a month.
Cost (includes recorded Zoom session and recipes) - £20. You’ll also have access to a closed Facebook group - “Tracey’s Home Cooking Sessions” where Tracey will share recipes, post about upcoming sessions and more.
Ulster Folk Museum
Superstitions quiz from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
How well do you know your Ulster superstitions? Superstitions are an important part of Ulster's history and often passed down through generations. The Ulster Folk Museum delved into their archives to uncover superstitions that some Ulster folk once lived by, and might still today.
Take the quiz at the Ulster Folk Museum website
Virtual Visit Tours
Even though we can't travel at this time, you can still immerse yourself in some of the wonderful places and spaces we have in Ards and North Down by 360° virtual tours.
You can journey with us, virtually, discovering places you may not have visited before and adding them to your list for when we can travel again.
We would love to feature any virtual or online experiences that would help people enjoy and experience Ards and North Down from home, please get in touch via email, firstname.lastname@example.org