County Down is home to many attractions and activities. From gazing at spectacular views, to learning more about the fascinating history that once took place in the various towns and villages. Whether it be for individuals, couples, or families – there are endless ways you can spend the day here.
Yet, with too much choice, comes hard decisions to make. Never worry – as we’ve rounded up our top five things to do in County Down:
For Views: Mourne Mountains
Known for their extraordinary beauty and challenging peaks – the Mourne Mountains offer an unforgettable day of exploring nature.
Located in Newcastle, County Down, experienced and beginner hikers can tackle a range of heights, with each promising a well-earned reward of excellent views.
The six highest peaks are:
- Slieve Donard (853m)
- Slieve Commedagh (765m)
- Slieve Binnian (747m)
- Slieve Bearnagh (739m)
- Slieve Meelbeg (708m)
- Meelmore (704m)
The best-known and most challenging peak is Slieve Donard, which is the highest mountain in Northern Ireland, standing at 850m. Although it is a relatively short hike compared to other mountains – the steep incline of the path is sure to give you a great workout. Once at the top, you get to enjoy incredible sights of the Isle of Man and the peaks of Wales, Scotland and Donegal.
If you’re looking for a day of true escapism, then the Mournes are well worth the climb.
For History: Ulster Folk and Transport Museums
If you want to revisit times gone by, the Ulster Folk and Transport Museums in Holywood both delve deep into the different eras of Northern Ireland.
The Ulster Folk Museum allows you to discover what life was like over 100 years ago. Here, you can explore thatched cottages, learn about what daily life used to be like, as well as experience it for yourself. The grounds are also extremely spacious, set in over 170 acres of rolling countryside overlooking Belfast Lough, which is also home to farm animals that you can meet.
Ulster Transport Museum is home to one of the most impressive transport collections in Europe. Here, you can see the times change right in front of you, as you discover and admire the many methods of transport that Ulster used to rely on back in the day. There’s also a new exhibition available named ‘The Museum of Innovation’, which offers a wide range of interesting and interactive experiences.
The museums make a perfect day out, whether you’re an individual, couple, or a family.
For Tours: Private County Down Tour
Hosted by Giants Causeway Tours, this unique tour of County Down will give you an up-close and personal look at Ards Peninsula, Saint Patrick’s Trail and Strangford Lough (to name just a few).
The experience is unlike any other, combining stunning views with fascinating history and everything in between. On the tour, you can follow in the footsteps of Ireland’s patron Saint and explore legendary landmarks. Activities include:
- A tour of Ards Peninsula
- Climbing up Scrabo hill to admire the amazing Tower and views
- Driving along the shore of Strangford Lough
- Visiting attractions such as:
- Inch Abbey, the Game of Thrones filming location
- Down County Museum
- The Saint Patrick Centre, Grave and Statue
- Struell Wells
- Saul Church
- Plus ferry tickets to cross the lough
Each tour can last between 5-7 hours, with the main bonus being that you can customise it to suit your party’s needs and interests.
For Walks: Castlewellan Forest Park
Complete with a beautiful backdrop of mountains and sea, Castlewellan Forest Park covers 450 hectares of land at the bottom of the Mourne Mountains.
When visiting, there’s so many activities to choose from – including camping and touring, walking, cycling, horse riding, fishing on the lake, canoeing and orienteering.
Some of the most notable features of Castlewellan is the National Arboretum, which attracts nature enthusiasts from around the world. The garden also displays a mixture of informal and formal design with terraces, fountains, ornamental gates and flower borders.
If you’re looking to simply get a breath of fresh air and stretch your legs – you can walk around the forest park’s mile-long lake, encountering some intriguing modern sculptures along the way.
Another noteworthy aspect of the park is its complex Peace Maze, which makes a fun challenge for visitors of any age. It is one of the world’s largest permanent hedge mazes, which represents the path to a peaceful future for Northern Ireland.
No matter what age or size of your group – you’ll all enjoy your time spent at Castlewellan.
For Families: Pickie Fun Park, Bangor
Pickie Fun Park has long been a popular attraction in the heart of Bangor. For families especially, there are so many amenities on offer to keep your little ones entertained.
Whether it’s playing in the Adventure Playground, enjoying the watery fun of the Splash Pads, climbing aboard the Pickie Puffer or even taking up a spot of mini golf – you are guaranteed to please the whole family on your trip to Pickie.
One of the most famous activities is pedalling the giant swans across the shallow lagoon, a much-loved staple that has been operating in Bangor since the 1980s.
There’s also a cafe and candy shack to grab some refreshments before moving onto your next adventure at the park.
Pickie is also at the gateway to the Marine Gardens, where you can dander down a delightful stretch of coast for a panoramic view of Bangor Bay and the hills of Antrim beyond.
If you’re looking to extend your time in County Down, then we recommend choosing self-catering accommodation so that you can have the freedom to explore and relax on your own terms. Coach Road Cottages offers accommodation in two beauty spots of County Down – The Annex in Comber, and Ninety Seven in Holywood.
To find out more about things to do in County Down, or book your next stay, simply contact us today.