Destination: County Down

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Stunning natural region in Northern Ireland containing Mourne Mountains and NI's highest mountain

County Down

County Down Tours with Great British Trips

Introducing County Down


County Down is a spectacular region of Northern Ireland that has picturesque, low rolling hills which roll directly into the contrasting Mourne Mountaina and Slieve Donard. This mystical and inspiring landscape inspired CS Lewis to create the magical land of Narnia in the well-loved children's story books. The history of County Down stretches back over 7000 years and unsurprisingly plays home to wealth of ancient heritage sites. The most famous of these is Downpatrick, the area in which the patron saint of Ireland is said to be buried. Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland's highest mountain, which sits beautifully in the stunning Mourne Mountains – a range which sweeps directly into the sea. The Mournes are close to Dublin and Belfast and very easy to access yet in contrast to these great cities it is like entering another world. The picturesque gateway to the Mourne's is the popular Victorian seaside town of Newcastle. Newcastle combines high mountain passes with beautiful sandy beaches and has been recently redeveloped making it the perfect base for exploring Murlough National Nature Reserve and the Mourne Mountains.

County Down

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Region: Northern Ireland

Time to spend here: 3 hours - 1 day

More Information: Tourist Information website

What's nearby? Belfast, Donegal

What transport do you recommend? Downpatrick is relatively small and the centre can be navigated on foot whilst a vehicle is highly recommended to explore the county itself

Did you know? General Eisenhower visited Bangor and spoke to Allied troops before they left for World War II.

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What can I see in and around County Down?


Slieve Donard

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Slieve Donard is Northern Ireland's highest mountain, which sits beautifully in the stunning Mourne Mountains – a range which sweeps directly into the sea. The Mournes are close to Dublin and Belfast and very easy to access yet in contrast to these great cities it is like entering another world.
Time to spend here: half day   More information

Newcastle, County Down

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The picturesque gateway to the Mourne's is the popular Victorian seaside town of Newcastle. Newcastle combines high mountain passes with beautiful sandy beaches and has been recently redeveloped making it the perfect base for exploring Murlough National Nature Reserve and the Mourne Mountains.
Time to spend here: half day   More information

Tollymore Forest Park

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Tollymore Forest Park is much more than just a forest and includes follies, grottos and cascades. The Shimna river boasts a walk that has been carefully designed to integrate many curiosities including bridges, caves and rocky outcrops. There are many trails throughout the park and the Cedar Avenue is particularly magnificent.
Time to spend here: 2 hours   More information

Down Cathedral

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Down Cathedral is a Church of Ireland cathedral. It stands on the site of a Benedictine Monastery, built in 1183. Saint Patrick's remains are buried in the graveyard. Magnificent stain glass windows, box pews and a beautiful organ case enhances this interesting building. The Saint Patrick Centre in Downpatrick is the starting point for any visitor who wishes to know more about Ireland's patron saint!
Time to spend here: 1 hour   More information

Bagenals Castle

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Bagenal's Castle is a 16th century fortified house and adjoining 19th century warehouse. It houses Newry Tourist Information Centre and Newry & Mourne Museum. The museum's diverse collections include material relating to prehistory, Newry's Cistercian foundations, Ulster's Gaelic order and the relationship with the English Crown; the building of a merchant town and the first summit level canal in the British Isles.
Time to spend here: 1 hour   More information

Murlough National Nature Reserve

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Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust. 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, and it is reputed to be the best and most extensive example of dune heath within Ireland.
Time to spend here: 1 hour   More information

Mount Stewart House

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Mount Stewart House is a remarkable 18th century house and 98-acre garden that reflects the rich history of the Stewart family who played a leading role in British social and political life. The gardens are part of the most spectacular and idiosyncratic gardens of Western Europe and universally renowned for the 'extraordinary scope of its plant collections and the originality of its features, which give it world-class status'.
Time to spend here: 2 hours   More information

Clearsky adventure centre

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If you want a bit of adrenaline for all ages, Clearsky Adventure Centre situated in the stunning Castle Ward Estate on the shoreline of Strangford Lough can offer plenty of activities from canoeing, kayaking, abseiling, to rock climbing, coasteering, raft
Time to spend here: full day   More information

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