Castle Ward is an eccentric 18th-century house with two distinctly different styles, one classical and one Gothic, overlooking the entrance to Strangford Lough. Situated just outside the pretty village of Strangford the grounds include parkland, an exotic garden and farmyard, lake and 15th century Audley’s Castle.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum
Step back in time in and uncover a way of life from 100 years ago. Discover cottages, farms, schools and shops as you wander through the beautiful parkland of the Folk Museum chatting to costumed visitor guides demonstrating traditional crafts. Climb on and off majestic steam locomotives or experience the sensation of flight in the Transport Museum bursting with horse drawn carriages, electric trams, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars.
Saint Patrick Centre
The Centre is an exciting interpretative exhibition which tells the fascinating story of Ireland's Patron Saint. Through Patrick's own words a light is shone on the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and its development through his mission. A series of interactive displays allow visitors to explore how Patrick's legacy developed in early Christian times and reveal the fabulous artwork and metalwork which was produced during this Golden Age. The exhibition also examines the major impact of Irish missionaries in Dark Age Europe - a legacy which remains to this day. Saint Patrick Centre
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Murlough is a fragile 6,000 year old sand dune system, the best & most extensive in Ireland and managed as Ireland’s first Nature Reserve since 1967. It is an excellent area for walking and bird watching, due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. Its woodland and heath support wild flowers and butterflies - one of 330 butterfly species, the Marsh Fritillary, is of international importance. As Strangford Lough, it is of worldwide significance as a wintering site for wildfowl and waders and is a haul-out site for Common and Grey seals. There is evidence of human habitation from Neolithic times through the Bronze Age to the present day. Also visit Dundrum Castle, built circa 1177 on a grassy knoll above the town, with panoramic views across Dundrum Bay and Murlough Nature Reserve to the Mourne Mountains.
The largest sea lough in the British Isles, Strangford Lough is a marine nature reserve and area of special scientific interest. Studded with islands, it is home to 1000’s of overwintering birds, seals, terns and porpoises. BBC’s Springwatch frequently follows the large population of Brent geese, nearly100% of the world population winter in NI, with 26,000+ choosing the sheltered, fertile bays and mud flats of the northern end of the lough. Human history dates back 9,000 years with ancient tombs, cairns, monastic sites, tower houses, castles and magnificent estates.
Mount Stewart House, Garden & Temple of the Winds
After visiting Portaferry continue along the shores of Strangford Lough to one of the finest gardens in the UK and Ireland and ‘one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership’, Mount Stewart with formal gardens, lake & woodlands. National Trust Mount Stewart
The Northern Ireland Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary, is ideally sited on the shores of Strangford Lough. To get there take the ferry across the Narrows at the entrance to the lough from Strangford to Portaferry.
Recommended Local Restaurants
Aldo’s Restaurant, Ardglass – Aldo's restaurant has been owned and managed by the Vinaccia family since 1973, and in that time has built up an enviable reputation for consistently first class cuisine and service - warm & friendly – fantastic seafood, steak, Italian & local cuisine.
Ardglass Golf Club - Delicious food, welcoming atmosphere, fantastic location with sea views.
Curran’s Seafood and Steakhouse Restaurant – Great food and hospitality - awarded Best Gastro Pub in Ulster by the Irish Restaurant Awards.
Mourne Seafood Bar, Dundrum – delectable seafood - sourcing their shellfish from their own shellfish beds.