The North Down Coastal Path is one of the finest shoreline walks in Ireland

North Down Coastal Path is part of the Columban Way, a heritage trail between Comber and Bangor covering 20 miles (32 km). A trail to experience the area’s rich and diverse history, Bronze Age relics, monastic settlements, Viking attacks, industrial heritage and military influences in both the First and Second World Wars, are just some points of interest you will discover along the way. Find out more about the Columban Way Heritage Trail.

Stride out along one of the finest shoreline walks in Ireland. Stretching from Holywood, Co Down to the rocky outcrop of Orlock, Portavo. On a walk along the coastal path you can enjoy a variety of geological features, some 400 to 500 million years old making them among the oldest in Ireland, or identify the many different wild flowers and shrubs.

This beautiful environment, with its contrasting shoreline, provides a number of differing habitats from rocky shores through salt marshes and mud flats to sandy beaches.  A wide variety of bird species can be observed and a special treat are the grey or Atlantic seals which bask on the rocks at Ballymacormick, Orlock and Rockport.

The seals are from the colony on the Copeland Islands where "Lighthouse Island" is an important bird observatory. In a morning stroll, one can observe numerous wading birds, cormorants and many other species vary season to season, and in winter we are visited by the Northern Divers from the Arctic. The area is perhaps most noted for its colony of Black Guillemots or "Bangor Penguins" which nest in the holes of the Eisenhower Pier. The path boasts two areas managed by the National Trust - Ballymacormick Point and Orlock Point, both rich in wild plant life.

You can park your car at any one of the many access points including Holywood, Seapark, Marino, Cultra, Craigavad, Helen’s Bay, Crawfordsburn and Carnalea or take a bus or train and join the path at one of many places along its 16 mile route.

If you are a keen walker, why not browse the National Trust 'Walks Near You' Guide or download the National Trust 'Little Book of Great Walks Near You: Northern Ireland' (PDF) which details walks along the Coastal Path highlighting the Kearney Coastal Walk and Orlock.

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.

Opening Times

  • Open at all times


  • Free

Contact Details

  • Address Bangor Visitor Information Centre Tower House, 34 Quay Street Bangor Co.Down BT20 5ED
  • Telephone 028 9127 0069
  • Email Bangor VIC
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