Tour and experience the heritage, history and culture of our area with a local guide
Guided Tours 2019, tours, walks, explore Ards and North Down, discover Ards and North Down
Drawing on the local knowledge of our experienced team of guides, we invite you to tap into a wealth of heritage, history and culture in scenic surroundings that resound with historical significance through our Guided Tours programme 2019.
You can sit back and relax on a coach trip to one of the Borough's beautiful stately homes, find out more on a historical walk or take to the water in a boat on Belfast or Strangford Lough.
There's even tours for kids, enabling them to learn about the world around them, whether it be during nature trails, hunting for mini beasts and sea creatures, or discovering the wildlife and birds that make their home in the area. There really is a tour for everyone!
For more information on any of these tours, contact your local Visitor Information Centre on 028 9127 0069 / 028 9182 6846, or download Guided Tours booklet
If you already know what you are looking for, Book your place now
Here is a taste of what this years programme offers...
Kids Mini Beasts Nature Trail
Join local naturalist “Woody” for a creative exploration of Nugent’s Wood. Look out for the ‘mini-beasts’ that make the park their home and find out about the flora and fauna.
Tea with the Lord
Embrace this superb opportunity to visit Ballywalter House, the beautiful stately home of the Dunleath family for over 150 years. Become a member of the gentry for the afternoon as the affable Lord Dunleath guides you around his remarkable home and joins you for a chat over tea and light refreshments in the historic conservatory of Ballywalter House.
Learn about the wealth of maritime history on this coach tour of the Peninsula. Start your day in North Down Museum and discover the links to the sea. Continue your journey to the Eisenhower Pier in Bangor and learn of the important role of the Coastguard in modern day. Heading on through Groomsport and stopping off at Donaghadee where you will visit the Lifeboat station and also the Sir Samuel Kelly lifeboat which rescued survivors from the MV Princess Victoria in 1953. Sit back and enjoy a tasty lunch in Pier 36 before travelling down the Peninsula to Portavogie where you will hear of local legends and tales of the sea before heading back to Bangor.
Bangor Castle Walled Garden Tour
This popular guided tour provides an insight into the garden’s history, its restoration and the vast array of plants, fruits and vegetables which are grown there.
Step Back in Time
Gain an insight into the history of the Ward Family who built Bangor Castle in 1852, and discover what life was like as a Victorian servant. Take this rare opportunity to tour Bangor Castle and the Walled Garden, followed by tea and a treat in Coffee Cure @ The Museum.
Marriages and Mansions
The Hamiltons, Wards, Blackwoods and Kennedys were powerful and important landed families in this area connected through business and marriage (which was sometimes the same thing!). On this tour visit some of the estates and the ‘big houses’ which incredibly still stand today and learn more about people like Sir James Hamilton, 1st Viscount Clandeboye; Robert Stewart Kennedy and Frederick Hamilton-Temple- Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. The tour includes a visit to Bangor Castle, Clandeboye Courtyard and Cultra Manor.
Strangford Lough Boat Tour
Take time away from the fast pace of everyday life and enjoy the magnificent scenery and fascinating wildlife of Strangford Lough. See where Saint Patrick first came ashore, view landscapes used in Game of Thrones filming and hear of Viking raiders.
Gardens and Gin
Join the Head of Gardens of Mount Stewart Estate and explore the botanicals within the beautiful gardens. Continue the tour with a fascinating visit to Echlinville Distillery to experience the fine art of gin making and perhaps taste an aromatic drop!
Kids Sea Creatures Nature Trail
Join local naturalist “Woody” on a beachcombing adventure to uncover the numerous types of sea creatures who live on the shores of the park. See how and where they live, and which salty treats they like to eat.
Nautical Past Short Sea Cruise
Discover the rich maritime history of Belfast Lough. As you head towards Groomsport Bay and then onwards towards Orlock, you will learn about the history of the area and its seafaring past. Learn more about significant landmarks on the coastline and be sure to look out for the fascinating variety of wildlife.
From an Abbey to a Stately Home
View one of the finest Georgian country houses in Ireland. The present Grey Abbey House is the third house to be built on the site. The current owners will guide you around and join you for tea and scones. You will visit the Cistercian Abbey founded by Lady Affreca, the wife of John De Courcy.
Kids Nature Trail
Join this fascinating interactive nature trail led by Patrick Cregg from the Woodland Trust and bird expert Dot Blakely. They will teach you all about the natural habitat of the birds and animals who live in the picturesque grounds of Castle Park.
Bangor Christian Heritage Walk
Trace the steps of canons, priests and pilgrims on a tour that encompasses visits to Bangor Abbey, St Comgall’s Roman Catholic Church, First Bangor Presbyterian Church and the North Down Museum. Within the tour you will learn about Christian Heritage and even have the chance to visit a life-size reconstruction of a monk’s cell situated in North Down Museum.
Woodland and Whiskey
Enjoy a guided walk with the Head Ranger in the estate farmland at Mount Stewart before an intriguing visit to Echlinville Distillery. Discover the skills involved in the art of whiskey making and sample a wee dram!
Halloween Walking Tour Donaghadee
Prepare to be entertained by spooky costumed characters, bringing to life tall tales and fascinating facts of the past and present, as you walk around the dark streets and creepy corners of your local town including Murder Lane... Fancy dress optional - if you dare!
Halloween Walking Tour Newtownards
Take a terrifying walking tour to uncover ghostly goings-on in the run up to All Hallows Eve. Discover, if you dare, dreadful things lurking in the historic town! Fancy dress encouraged.
World Wars Coach Tour
Join us on this half day coach tour and discover the areas deep connections with the Great Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. You will visit three key sites; North Down Museum, Grey Point Fort and the Somme Museum, along with other sites that link to momentous events including the Battle of the Somme and D-Day. Our knowledgeable guide will entertain you with some interesting facts you may not know!
New Year’s Day Historic Ards Walk
Start the New Year and shake off the cobwebs from 2019 by exploring the rich and varied history of Newtownards. The tour will take you on a journey through time, visiting
the Medieval plantation and Georgian periods discovering the many interesting and exciting stories including John de Courcy and Oliver Cromwell. Discover the unique history of Newtownards - one of the oldest settlements in Northern Ireland