Explore St Patrick’s Trail
Leave Belfast for Cultra, Holywood
Stop off at the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum, Cultra, Holywood BT18 0EU
Tel: 028 9042 8428
(Award winning Museum) Admission applies
Stroll the Folk Museum, thorough yesteryears countryside with its farms, cottages, crops & livestock and the Transport Museum which has a fantastic transport collection and includes the Irish Railway Collection, X2 Flight Experience and Exhibitions.
Enjoy Tea / Coffee and light snack!
Head towards Eddie Irvine Sports Centre
41 Balloo Road, Bangor BT19 7PG
Tel: 028 9145 1457
Experience the excitement and thrills of high speed racing at their indoor Karting track, located on the Balloo Road, 5 Mins from Bangor Town Centre. Run by local racing legend Eddie Irvine, also available indoor Astroturf football pitches and paintball.
Hidden Gem – Travel towards Scrabo Country Park, Newtownards (Finalist in Britain’s Best View 2007) – Overlooking Strangford Lough, Scrabo Tower provides visitors with some of the finest views in the country – totally breathtaking! View Strangford Lough and most of Down from this spot!
Tel: 028 9181 1491
Travel down the Ards Peninsula and stop of at the Beautiful and Stunning National Trust Property ‘Mount Stewart’. A fascinating 18th Century Property with exquisite architecture including the Temple of the Winds as well as magnificent Gardens and lake – Not to be missed!!
Then have late Lunch in the Bay Restaurant situated in Mount Stewart where you will find an excellent standard of cuisine and tantalising desserts!
Tel: 028 4278 8387
Back on the coast road and head for Portaferry. The Portaferry Hotel offers guests good cuisine and excellent accommodation with stunning views over Strangford Lough. Have a walk around the Marina or check out Exploris Aquarium – with a seal sanctuary! Exploris Tel: 028 4272 8062 – A fun time for all!!
Admission Fee applies.
Tel: Portaferry Hotel 028 4272 8231 – 14 ensuite rooms in total. Have evening dinner in the hotel, looking out over the Lough where excellent fresh seafood and other excellent cuisine is on offer. Enjoy!
Stay the night at the Portaferry Hotel or catch the Ferry Boat (5 min) and check in the Cuan Liscensed Guest House in Strangford!
If you stayed in the Portaferry Hotel – you can catch the Ferry Boat to Strangford. The Ferry Boat leaves Portaferry quarter past and quarter to the hour.
Admission applies (Approx 5 min journey)
Head towards another stunning National Trust Property ‘CastleWard’. An 18th Century Mansion with opposing facades in different styles set in 820 acre walled estate running down to the shores of Strangford Lough. The west front of the mansion is Classical, the east front Gothic. The Gardens are stunning and the walk breathtaking. You will also come across a Cornmill and sawmill! Have morning coffee & a traybake in the Tea Room, browse around the gift shop and 2nd hand Bookshop.
Tel: 028 4488 1204
Also at Castleward is ‘Clearsky Adventure Centre’ offering a wide range of Adventure breaks and courses situated on the shores of Strangford Lough such as Archery, Mountain Biking, Orienteering – just to name a few!!!
Back on the road, travel towards Downpatrick
Stop off at The Saint Patrick Centre – the perfect place to stop and explore St Patricks Country – Have Coffee / Tea or a light snack in The Saint Patrick’s Centre:
Tel: 028 4461 9000
Next stop in Downpatrick – Down Cathedral & St Patricks Grave’, built in 1183 as a Benedictine Monastery, Magnificent stained glass windows and beautiful organ case, enhances this interesting building. Visit the grave of the St Patrick! Souvenir shop & toilet facilities. Tel: 028 4461 4992
Don’t leave Downpatrick without a visit to Down County Museum which is located in the Old County Gaol of Down, with fascinating exhibitions on the history of Down. It has special exhibitions and events throughout the year.
Tel: 028 4461 5218
Travel towards Newcastle – stopping off at the historic village of Dundrum and have a delicious lunch at The Mourne Seafood Bar. Indulge in the vast array of local seafood and of course caught from local boats from their own shellfish beds in Carlingford Lough.
Tel: 028 4375 1377
Once lunch is finished, why not stroll along Murlough Nature Reserve, Dundrum. There is a network of Paths and boardwalks through the Dunes, woodland and heath. Stunning Scenery!! Next Stop is Newcastle, Co Down.
Check into the magnificent Slieve Donard Hotel Resort & Spa (4*)
178 Rooms all ensuite
Tel: 028 4372 1066
Nestled at the foot of the Mourne Mountains! Stands in Six acres of private grounds and located next the to world renowned Royal County Down Golf Course. Try out the luxurious spa, where you can re-vitalise and re-energise your body & soul ! Swimming Pool, Steam Room, Rock Sauna and Drench Showers all available.
Enjoy evening meal at the Percy French Restaurant or The Oak Restaurant (all in the grounds of the Slieve Donard Hotel).
Try Soak Seaweed Baths, 5a South Promenade, Newcastle – which offer hot sea water and rich oily seaweed baths – each private bathroom has its own Steam Cabinet, Bath & Shower!
(Contact Claire Dickinson for opening times & cost
Tel: 028 4372 6002)
(5 mins walk from Slieve Donard Hotel)
Hidden Gem – Head for Silent Valley, a mountain park situated in the Mourne Mountains .Features a Dam ringed by dramatic mountain panoramas and the famous Mourne Wall, located in a u shaped valley at the Kilkeel River. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The Information Centre tells the story of the Silent Valley. Restaurant available.
Contact The Water Service directly for opening times.
Tel: 0845 744 0088
OR Maybe its Golf that you enjoy – Well then head to the Royal County Down Golf Club, a Championship Course, located in the picturesque setting of the Mourne Mountains & home to the Walker Cup 2007 on its final day! Please contact Club directly for Rates, Dress Code & Times
Why not stop for a quick lunch at the Mourne Café, Newcastle.
Stop of at Painted Earth, Newcastle – Craft & Art Shop selling high quality locally produced pottery & ceramics, printed textiles, original paintings and greeting cards. Tel: 028 4372 2510 – bring home a little piece of Armagh & Down!
Head back to Belfast
Hidden gems along the way Grey Abbey 12th Century Church and cloister of a Cistercian Monastery – located in Greyabbey Village
Tel: NIEA (Northern Ireland Environment Agency) 028 9054 3037 for Opening times (Vary) & Admission free WWT Castle Espie Wetlands Centre, Comber
Only 12 miles from Belfast, Castle Espie is a place apart, perfect for families, Coffee Shop, Scenic Walks, Picnic and Play Areas – stunning views over Strangford Lough Ballycopeland Windmill, Millisle The only windmill in Couty Down still in working order . Contact NIEA 028 9054 3037 ‘Temple of the Winds’ at Mount Stewart