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Local attractions in Down

Attractions County Down Northern Ireland

Killyleagh Castle
County Down
BT30 9QA
028 44828261

Situated on the beautiful shores of Strangford Lough, Killyleagh is a picturesque town located approximately 20 miles south of Belfast and 5 miles north of the historical cathedral town of Downpatrick.

Killyleagh Castle dates from 1180 when the Norman Knight John de Courcy built a series of castles on the East and West of Ireland, to protect the inhabitants from raids by Vikings and is the only one remaining that is not a ruin.

In the middle ages the Castle was owned by the heads of various sects, mainly the Whites and the McCartans.

Killyleagh Castle is claimed to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland, now a private family home, it has been the home of the Hamilton family, who have owned and occupied the castle since 1640, since the 17th century Plantation of Ulster.

The Castle acquired its fairy-tale silhouette in the 1850s when it was redesigned by Charles Lanyon, who added the turrets and battlements to this amazing Loire-style chateau, which completely dominates the small village.

In the 19th Century Killyleagh was no more than two streets and the town of Killyleagh has grown up around this magnificent 'fairy tale' castle which looks out over Killyleagh and Strangford Lough; offering a rare and unusual treat for visitors to the region, who can enjoy tours inside the Castle or can stay in one of the number of historic battlement self-catering apartments.

The castle hosts occasional concerts; with past performers including Van Morrison, Glen Hansard and Bap Kennedy.

The Castle provides excellent facilities for Private Functions, Weddings and Conferences which are professionally catered for.

Please contact for further information.

Downpatrick Railway Museum
The Railway Station
BT39 6LZ
028 44615779
A visit to this railway museum will give hours of enjoyment for those interested in the history of trains.

The station is situated 150 metres from Saint Patrick's Centre and is the only Irish Standard Gauge 1600mm (5'32) working museum and houses steam and diesel locomotives, century old carriages, a rebuilt signal cabin and engine shed.

Passengers can take a journey over 1km, which is currently being extended to 11km, which will eventually travel both southwards to Ballydugan and northwards across the marshes and River Quoile to the historical 12th century ruins of Inch Abbey.

The railway operates on Saturday and Sunday during July and the first two weeks in September.

There is a train ride along a restored section of the BCDR Belfast-Newcastle line to the grave of Magnus Barefoot, who was a Viking King, as well as a footplate driving course.

Please contact for further details, or visit the website.

Seaforde Tropical Butterfly House
Seaforde Demesne, Seaforde Village
BT30 8PG
028 44811225
A truly wonderful experience, which will delight all ages, is on offer at Seaforde Gardens.

Visitors will be able to see many hundreds of exotic free-flying butterflies as well as a wonderful display of parrots, reptiles, insects and amphibians from Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas amidst the tropical landscape which houses them behind glass.

Enjoy themselves in the maze and follies and walk around the walled gardens which contain a large collection of shrubs and trees, many of which are rare.

Please contact for further details, or visit the website.

The Saint Patrick Centre
53a Lower Market Street
BT30 6LZ
028 44619000
A Personal Journey into the Irish Spirit

This centre uses 21st Century technology to tell the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint and reveals a wealth of information about the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and its development through his mission.

There are a series of interactive displays and exhibitions of wonderful artwork and metalwork which was produced during the Golden Age.

Why not take a guided tour which will take you through twelve stages of Saint Patrick's life.

There is an area for children, Saint Patrick's Kid's Corner, where children of all ages can learn more about his quest by following the animated story, as well as games to play, puzzles and competitions.

Facilities are also available in this area to email a friend.

The centre also has a Tourist Information Centre, Internet Cafe, Crafts and Gift Shop, and a lovely Terrace Restaurant offering a wide choice of food and beverages to relax in during your visit.

Please contact for further information.

Ballycopeland Windmill and Millar's House
Windmill Road
BT22 2DS
028 90546552

Ballycopeland Windmill is located 1 mile (1.6km) west of Millisle on the B172, signposted from Newtownards.

Millisle, as the name implies, once had around 100 windmills recorded in the grain-rich county of Down and, although there are several remains left, this is the only one surviving.

It is estimated that 'Ballycopeland Windmill' was built around the 1780's or '90s, appearing on the first Ordnance Survey maps of the area in 1830s.

'Ballycopeland' Corn Mill produced flour and animal feed and was worked by the McGilton family until the 1914-18 War and afterwards lay disused for many years.

The Mill is a tall, tapering tower of stone, plastered and whitewashed; with its four sails being turned by a fan-tail on the revolving cap, so that the sails could always face into the wind.

It has two entrance doors; a West door to allow access should the main East door be blocked by the sails.

The windmill has now been restored to full working order, after painstaking repair and reconstruction by the Department of Environment in Northern Ireland, and the Mill ground its corn again in 1978.

As the machinery is now in working order again, the milling process can be best followed by climbing to the top floor and working downwards to the ground floor; although the Mill is not normally operational during visiting hours.

Between the road and the Mill is the Millar's house and the kiln-house; where the grain was dried before being ground.

The Millar's House, now features an audio visual theatre presenting the working and history of the Mill, together with a fully reconstructed grain store, which forms part of this unique visitor attraction.

Facilities include:

Car Park
Windmill Model
Guided Tours of the Mill

Wheelchair users will find some parts of the windmill inaccessible.

The windmill is open to visitors in July and August at the following times:
Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm
Sunday 2pm to 6pm

(Children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult)

A small cover charge is levied for entrance to the windmill in order to assist with maintenance costs.

Please contact for further information.

Coco's Adventure Playground
27a Central Promenade
028 43726226
Coco's Adventure Playground is a large, indoor adventure playground which guarantees hours of enjoyment for children under 14 years of age.

Enjoy the varied selection of slides, including Free Fall, Astra Slide, Snake Slide, Tube Slide, Assault Course, Activity Tower and Cable Ride.

There is a soft play area for toddlers.

Birthday parties and group bookings are catered for.

A fully supervised Disco with dance competitions are held throughout the year.

Please contact for further details and bookings, or visit the website.

Mount Stewart House and Gardens
Portaferry Road
BT22 2AD
028 42788387

Mount Stewart House is a remarkable 18th century house with some of the finest architecture to be found amongst stately homes in Britain.

The house is situated on the shores of Strangford Lough with spectacular ornamental gardens which are based on European designs.

Visitors touring the house will see authentic furnishings, great paintings and hear stories about the fascinating array of prominent political leaders and society figures to whom the Londonderry family played host.

House and Garden information:

Embroidered chairs used at the Congress of Vienna in 1876
World famous painting of ‘Hambletonian’ by George Stubbs
Famous gardens of international importance
European Garden of Inspiration 2003
New garden shop
Suitable for picnics
Facilities for families
Available for functions
Access for visitors with disability
Dogs welcome on leads in grounds/garden only

The famous gardens at Mount Stewart were created in the 1920s by Edith, Lady Londonderry, who affectionately called the gardens; her 'green fairyland'.

The garden has a balustrade terrace, leading to an Italian parterre garden, a Spanish garden, a sunken garden, a Shamrock garden, a woodland garden; containing many rare plants which thrive in the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula, to the grandeur of the lake.

The picturesque lake is surrounded by enchanting mixed woodlands and the Temple of the Winds has dramatic views across Strangford Lough.

Excellent facilities are available for wedding ceremonies and receptions which can take place in the Temple of the Winds, the Central Hall, or in a Marquee in the gardens, all beautiful locations offering a unique backdrop for your perfect day.

The fully licensed Bay Restaurant offers waitress service to visitors with a choice of delicious main and light meals using finest local ingredients and a children's menu is available.

Gourmet evenings, summer safaris and special events are catered for outside normal hours, by prior arrangement.

Opening times:

Lakeside Gardens
Open all year: 10.00am to sunset daily

Formal Gardens
10th March - 31st March:
10am - 4pm week-ends/Bank and Public Holidays
1st April - 30th April: 10am - 6pm daily
1st May - 30th September: 10am - 8pm daily
1st October - 31st October: 10am-6pm daily
November - February: Closed


10th March - 29th April: 12-6pm week-ends/Bank and Public Holidays
(and between 6th - 15th April daily)
2nd May - 31st May:
1-6pm daily (except Tuesday); 12-6pm week-ends
1st June - 30th June:
1-6pm daily; 12-6pm week-ends
1st July - 31st August: 12-6pm daily
1st September - 30th September: 12-6pm daily (except Tuesday) 6th October - 28th October: 12-6pm week-ends
November - February: closed

Last admission to House & Formal Gardens 1 hour before closing

Please contact for further information.

The Brontë Interpretative Centre
Church Hill Road, Drumballyroney
BT32 3NB
028 40623322

Visitors can learn more about the life and works of Patrick Bronte, father of the famous literary sisters Charlotte, Anne and Emily, who was born in Banbridge District in 1777, at 'The Bronte Interpretative Centre' which is located at Drumballyroney Church and Schoolhouse, near Rathfriland; ten miles south of Banbridge.

This is where Patrick taught as a young man, and where he later returned to preach after being ordained. The church and schoolhouse have been restored and now include displays about the Brontë family.

The centre also marks the start of a 10 mile scenic drive through Brontë Homeland, where you can easily follow the story of Patrick Brontë and his family through the buildings that survive.

Alice McClory's Cottage was the childhood home of Patrick's mother, Alice McClory, and Patrick’s birthplace and memorial. Alice and Hugh used to court secretly and some say they eloped to their wedding in Magherally Church, near Banbridge.

The Birthplace Cottage Although little remains of the family's two-roomed cottage, in the fairy glen at Emdale, the remains have been in the care of the Brontë Homeland Trust since 1956.

Glascar School is where Patrick taught in the 1790's. He is said to have used 'enlightened teaching methods' to bring out the best in his pupils and he was later dismissed for forming a romantic attachment with one of them.

The original schoolhouse was replaced by a more modern building in 1844.

Brontë Homeland Picnic Site is situated at Knockiveagh, along the Lisnacroppan Road, and is an ideal place to stop and enjoy the views of the rolling hills with the Mountains of Mourne in the background, where Patrick Brontë grew up.

The picnic area occupies the ruins of a former 'shebeen' - an illicit drinking house.

The river valley, running from Banbridge to Rathfriland, is now called 'Bronte Country'.

There is a programme of events available and Brontë Heritage Talks and Homeland Tours.

Opening Dates and Times:
April - September:

Friday - Sunday (including Bank Holidays)

12 noon - 4.30pm
Open by appointment at other times

Admission: Adult £3.00 & Child/Concession £2.00

Please contact for further information.

Number 42

This restored listed building offers visitors spacious accommodation, which is beautifully furnished and decorated, and has every modern facility to ensure your stay is enjoyable.

Number 42 is located in Strangford village, an area of outstanding natural beauty, and is within easy walking distance of shops, bars and restaurants and harbour with its ferry service to Portaferry.

Facilities include oil fired central heating, comfortable lounge with coal fire, colour television and VCR, a fully fitted kitchen with washing and ironing facilities, microwave, two bedrooms which sleep up to five people, bed linen, electric shower and bath and off road parking.

The large private South facing fully enclosed rear garden has a patio area, garden furniture, and BBQ facilities for your enjoyment, with lockable rear gates.

Number 42 is situated in a peaceful area of outstanding natural beauty and is an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities including, golfing, fishing, mountain, forest and coastal walks, horse-riding, cycling and sight-seeing.

There are also lots of attractions and places of historical interest to visit close by.

Please contact Number 42 for further details and bookings.

Number 42
42 Downpatrick Road
BT30 7LZ
028 90403640

Tory Bush Cottages

Tory Bush Cottages are situated in a lovely rural location with wonderful views of the Mourne Mountains and only four miles from the lively resort of Newcastle.

There is a choice of two, three, or four bedroomed cottages, some have wheelchair access and most have downstairs bedrooms and bathrooms.

Each cottage is traditionally styled and have gas fired central heating, a fully equipped kitchen, bed linen, and a comfortably furnished living area with colour television and video.

Pets are welcome outside and there is a garden and private parking.

This is an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities as there is, golfing, fishing, mountain, forest and coastal walks and horse-riding close by.

There are lots of attractions and places of historical interest to visit in the surrounding area.

Please telephone Tory Bush Cottages for further information and bookings, or visit the website.

Tory Bush Cottages
79 Tullyree Road, Bryansford
BT34 5LD
028 43724348

Tollymore Cottages

Tollymore Cottages offer a choice of self-catering properties which are situated in a beautiful part of County Down; the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Rose Cottage has an entrance hall with pay phone, a fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher & microwave, a sitting room with open fire; cloakroom and wc, and downstairs double bedroom. Upstairs are two bedrooms each with a double bed, a single bed and vanity unit, a cot is also provided. The bathroom has a shower in addition to the bath and there is a large garden.

Beverley Cottage is entered from the front 'stable' door and the sitting room has a traditional fire place (with an efficient wood burning stove). The kitchen/dinning area is well equipped and has a dishwasher and microwave. An automatic washing machine and shower are in the utility room. The ground floor is tiled throughout and extensive pine sheeting adds to the charm of the cottage. The bedrooms are all neatly fitted into the sloping roof space and there is restricted headroom in places (which may not suit tall people). There are three bedrooms; a bunk room, a twin bedded room, and a double bedroom with a cot and ensuite bathrooms. There is also an additional wc and wash hand basin.

Beverley Annex is a ground floor flatlet which is comfortably furnished and has a fully equipped kitchenette/dining/living room, double bedroom with ensuite bathroom, with shower and bath.

The accommodation has central heating and french windows which lead to an enclosed lawn and is ideal for visitors who may have moderate mobility problems.

Corner House is a self-contained ground floor flat, sleeping 2-4 people in a rural farmhouse location.

All properties have garden furniture and BBQ facilities, small hairdryers and colour television.

Electricity and bed linen is included.

Safe off road parking is available adjacent to each property.

These properties are an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy sight-seeing and visiting attractions and places of historical interest.

Please contact Tollymore Cottages for further information and bookings.

Tollymore Cottages
72 Tollymore Road
BT33 0JN
028 43722018

Strand Apartments

These newly built luxurious apartments are situated centrally in the lively resort of Newcastle and are heated by Economy 7.

The accommodation comprise of a fully equipped kitchen/dinette, bathroom, utility room, two double bedrooms, one with a double bed, one with two twins and a comfortably furnished living room. Sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers are supplied.

This is an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities as there is, golfing, fishing, mountain, forest and coastal walks, horse-riding and cycling close by.

There are many attractions and places of historical interest to visit in the surounding area.

Children are welcome, cots and a babysitting service are available.

Secure parking is also available and advice is given about scenic tours.

Please contact Strand Apartments for further information and bookings, or visit the website.

Strand Apartments
53-55 Central Promenade
028 43723472

Rocklea Seaside Cottage

This delightful cottage is nestled at the foot of Slieve Donard and has spectacular sea views over the bay with a private path leading to the waters edge which is ideal for fishing.

There are three bedrooms, one family with a double and single bed, one twin bedded room, one single and a bathroom with bath and electric shower.

The living accommodation has two reception rooms, one with a snooker table, and a well equipped kitchen with separate laundry facilities, cot, playpen and highchair.

Bed linen and towels are provided.

The premises are non-smoking.

The gardens are mature and well maintained and there is a BBQ area for the use of guests.

In the surrounding area there are many outdoor activities, including golfing, fishing, mountain, forest and coastal walks, horse-riding and cycling as well as attractions and places of historical interest to visit.

Please telephone or email Rocklea Seaside Cottage for further information and bookings.

Rocklea Seaside Cottage
22 Ballagh Road
028 43723721

Cranfield Caravan Park

Cranfield caravan park is family run and boasts the 5 star Award from NITB and British Holiday and Home Parks Association. The park has direct access to Cranfield’s sandy beach with blue flag status.

The location is idyllic and has views of the surrounding Mourne Mountains, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The pitches have hard standing bases with individual tower units providing electric hook up (16 amp), water, waste water point and TV outlet. 19 pitches have main sewerage connection.

Other facilities include electric point for shavers, gas cylinders for hire, laundry facilities, games/sports area, a children's playground, public telephone, a food/mobile shop and a cafe/restaurant.

There is a modern heated toilet and shower block with key access which is well maintained with wall and floor tiles.

Modern power showers are preset and operate by tokens available at the office.

A second shower block and laundry room is situated in the centre of the static park which is also available to tourers.

Both buildings have excellent disabled facilities.

There is also a covered sink area with hot and cold water for washing dishes and outside showers for hosing down wet suits.

Close by there is an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, golfing, a boating lake and supermarket facilities.

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead.

This is an ideal spot for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities as there is fishing, walking, cycling, golfing and horse riding close by as well as sight-seeing some of the many places of historial interest and attractions in the surrounding area.

Please contact Cranfield Caravan Park for bookings, which are recommended in the summer months.

Cranfield Caravan Park
123 Cranfield Road
Kilkeel, Newry
BT34 4LJ
028 41762572

Swallow Cottage

Swallow Cottage has an idyllic location, with both mountain and sea views, and offers first class self-catering accommodation which is decorated and furnished throughout to a high standard and has modern amenities.

There is a spacious lounge/dining area, fully fitted kitchen with modern facilities, spacious bedrooms, which sleep up to four plus a child, and mature gardens for the enjoyment and relaxation of guests.

There is a private entrance and car parking.

This is an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy outdoor pursuits, including, horse-riding, tennis, golfing, fishing, water sports, cycling or walking along some of the beautiful coastal and countryside paths in the surrounding area.

There are also many attractions and places of historical interest close by; Castlewellan Forest Park, Tollymore Forest Park, Mount Stewart House, Dundrum Castle and Dunluce Castle.

Please contact for further details and bookings.

Swallow Cottage
14a Leestone Road
BT34 4NW
028 41765661

Mountains of Mourne Country Holiday Cottages

These cottages are situated close to the Mountains of Mourne, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and visitors who enjoy self-catering have a choice of seven fine old heritage holiday cottages, known as Hanna’s Close, with three further cottages a short distance away which have been refurbished and adapted to provide excellent self catering accommodation

All cottages are spacious; tastefully decorated and furnished throughout, have central heating and pine furniture. The cottages are unique in appearance and the modern facilities consist of a lovely lounge/dining area, fully fitted kitchen with modern amenities and two bedrooms which sleeps up to four people.

The cottages are an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy outdoor pursuits, including, horse-riding, tennis, golfing, fishing, watersports, cycling or walking along some of the scenic coastal and countryside paths in the surrounding area.

It is also a great place to stay for touring some of the many attractions and places of historical interest close by, including Castlewellan Forest Park, Tollymore Forest Park, Mount Stewart House, Dundrum Castle and Dunluce Castle.

Please contact Mountains of Mourne Country Holiday Cottages for further details and bookings.

Mountains of Mourne Country Holiday Cottages
Hanna's Close, Aughnahoory Road
BT34 4AH
028 41765999

Braeside Country House

Braeside Country House is nestled in the Holywood Hills with panoramic views over Belfast Lough and offers guests unique Luxury Self Catering Accommodation.

The spacious accommodation consists of one main self-catering cottage which comprises of two twin bedded en suite rooms, both with television, together with a large sitting room/dining room and a fully fitted kitchen.

An additional extra fold up bed or cot can be supplied.

There is a further double bedded en suite room, also with television, available at first floor level.

All bed linen and towels are provided.

The accommodation is accessed by its own entrance from a large secure parking area and guests also have use of a garden area.

Unlike most self-catering accommodation in the area the facilities are particularly attractive for short stay guests, who may require accommodation ranging from as little as three days, to a week or a month, although at certain times of the year a minimum rental period of one week applies.

Holywood is only two minutes away and is renowned for its collection of boutiques, art galleries, traditional bars and gourmet restaurants.

There are many places of historical interest to visit in the surrounding area and this is an ideal choice for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities as there are excellent golfing facilities close by as well as fishing, hiking, cycling, horseriding and much more.

Please contact Braeside Country House for further details and bookings.

Braeside Country House
10 Browns Brae, Croft Road
BT18 0HL
028 90426665