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County Down

County Down rings the changes in elegant style, from its affluent shoreline along Belfast Lough - the "Gold Coast" - through the rolling drumlin country which provides Strangford Lough's many islands, and on then past the uplands around Slieve Croob, with the view southward being increasingly dominated by the purple slopes of the Mountains of Mourne.

The Mournes soar to Northern Ireland's highest peak of Slieve Donard (850m), and provide excellent hill-walking and challenging climbing. When seen across Down's patchwork of prosperous farmland, however, they have a gentleness which is in keeping with the county's well-groomed style. In the same vein, Down is home to some of Ireland's finest gardens, notably Mount Stewart on the eastern shore of Strangford Lough, and Rowallane at Saintfield, while the selection of forest and country parks is also exceptional.

Within the contemporary landscape, history is much in evidence. St Patrick's grave is in Downpatrick, while the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra near Holywood provides an unrivalled overview of the region's past. The coastline is much-indented, so much so that, when measured in detail, County Down provides more than half of Northern Ireland's entire shoreline. Within it, the jewel of Strangford Lough is an unmatched attraction for naturalists and boat enthusiasts, while Portaferry has one of Ireland's longest-established saltwater aquariums in Exploris.

In the south of the county, the increasingly prosperous town of Newry on the river inland from Carlingford Lough is – with Lisburn in County Antrim – one of Ireland’s two newest cities under a re-designation of 2003, Newry is responding with enthusiasm to its enhanced status, and the urban regeneration of this interesting canalside centre is intriguing to watch., while the Ship Canal down to the sea has been restored and was re-opened in 2006.    


Local Attractions and Information

Bangor Events Office +44 (0)28 91 278051

Bangor Tourism Information +44 (0)28 91 270069

Bangor North Down Heritage Centre +44 (0)28 91 271200

Castle Espie Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre +44 (0)28 91 874146

Cultra Ulster Folk & Transport Museum +44 (0)28 90 428428

Downpatrick Down Cathedral +44 (0)28 44 614922

Downpatrick St Patrick Centre +44 (0)28 44 619000

Dromore Kinallen Craft Centre +44 (0)28 97 533733

Dundrum Murlough National Nature Reserve +44 (0)28 43 751467

Greyabbey Mount Stewart House +44 (0)28 42 788387

Hillsborough Hillsborough Castle Gardens +44 (0)28 92 681300

Kilkeel Nautilus Centre +44 (0)28 41 765555

Millisle Ballycopeland Windmill +44 (0)28 91 861413

Mourne Mountains Guided Wildlife Walks +44 (0)28 43 751467

Newcastle Tollymore Forest Park +44 (0)28 43 722428

Newtownards Kingdoms of Down Tourism +44 (0)28 91 822881

Portaferry Exploris Aquarium +44 (0)28 42 728062

Rathfriland Bronte Interpretive Centre +44 (0)28 40 631152

Saintfield Rowallane Gardens +44 (0)28 97 510131

Strangford Castle Ward +44 (0)28 44 881204

Strangford Lough Wildlife Centre +44 (0)28 44 881411

Gardens

Rowallane Garden - Saintfield Ballynahinch County Down Northern Ireland
Rowallane Garden
Saintfield, Co. Down
Rowallane is at its most glorious in spring and autumn, thanks to the display of rhododendrons and azaleas and the final blaze of glory of ornamental trees and shrubs, but it is a lovely place at any time of year. The 52 acre demesne near the old ...
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Golf

The 16th
Royal County Down Golf Club
Newcastle, Co. Down
Course Type: Links
Widely regarded as one of the finest links courses in the world, Royal County Down has an appropriate setting at Newcastle, where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. For more than 100 years it had nestled on classic duneland, in the sh ...
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Self Catering

Selfcatering
The Colonel's Lodge
Holywood, Co. Down
The Colonel's Lodge is set in the garden of Beech Hill Country House bed and breakfast. It is a converted grain store with a small double bedroom under the rafters in an open gallery upstairs , a small single bedroom dow ...
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What's On

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Tourist Attractions

Castle Ward House & Demesne - Strangford County Down Northern Ireland
Castle Ward House & Demesne
Strangford Village, Co. Down
This truly beautiful 332-hectare (820-acre) walled demesne with walking trails, exotic garden, stunning vistas and picturesque farmyard, will unlock your imagination through family history, leisure pursuits, events and industrial heritage. Th ...
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Wedding Venues

Wedding
The Old Inn
Crawfordsburn, Co. Down
The pretty village setting of this famous and hospitable 16th century inn - the oldest in continuous use in all Ireland - belies its convenient location close to Belfast. The hotel overlooks the wooded glen of Crawfordsburn Country Park at the ba ...
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Local Recommendations

Hospitality

Self Catering

Farmers Markets

Tourist Attractions

Golf Courses

Gardens

Town Information

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