A small picturesque village beside Bangor
Helen's Bay is a small village situated on the coast four miles west of Bangor.
It is named after Helen, Lady Dufferin (née Sheridan), mother of Frederick Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, first Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, and owner of the Clandeboye Estate in Bangor.
Helen’s Bay is a planned village which derived from the building of the Belfast and County Down Railway (BCDR) in the mid 19th century. The local landlord, the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, had aspirations to develop the area as a luxury holiday resort.
The picturesque village is renowned for its nine-hole golf course and the two lovely beaches flanking Crawfordsburn Country Park, which forms part of the North Down Coastal Path. The village can be accessed by rail and bus to Bangor and Belfast (stop Helen's Bay).
The sandy beaches are exceptionally popular and well used. They boast spectacular scenery and views across Belfast Lough. Helen's Bay Beach is part of Belfast Lough ASSI and SAC which was established for the populations on wading birds that spend the winter at the beach. In the summer time visitors may spot Eider Ducks and terns. In the summer they may see Porpoises and seals.
Visitors can also enjoy scenic walks along the North Down Coastal path, accessed from Helens’ Bay. Download the Crawfordsburn and Helen's Bay Walking Trail (PDF)
Also located in Helen’s Bay is Grey Point Fort, the old coastal defence at Grey Point. Grey Point Fort is one of the best preserved early 20th century coastal forts anywhere in the British Isles.
Grey Point Fort houses a most unusual hands-on military museum. Visitors can see the original observation post and three searchlight positions as well as an array of military memorabilia, including medals, uniforms, photographs and weaponry from the First and Second World Wars. There is also a unique collection of radio equipment, together with a section devoted to the Titanic. Expert guides are on hand to assist visitors of all ages.
Throughout holiday periods the Fort is open to the public and re-enactment days are held. It also hosts a number of special commemorative events during the year.
Chef Michael Deane previously owned a restaurant in the village; Deane won his first Michelin star at Deane's on the Square restaurant. Olympic swimmer Andrew Bree is also from Helen's Bay.
Please be aware that sections of the North Down Coastal Path follow private roads. Please respect the Highway Code when walking, cycling or running along these sections where residential traffic will have right of way. Northern Ireland has very few public rights of way and therefore in many areas walkers can only enjoy countryside walks because of the goodwill and tolerance of local landowners. In the interests of your own safety please be respectful when using the area for recreational purposes.