Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre

County Down

Situated 2km southeast of Comber, off the Downpatrick road (A22), Castle Espie is a haven for huge flocks of geese, ducks and swans. The landscaped grounds are dotted with birdwatching hides, and are great for fledgling naturalists, with family bird-feeding and pond-dipping sessions.

The best months to visit are May and June, when it's overrun with goslings, ducklings and cygnets, and October, when vast flocks of the 30,000 light-bellied brent geese (75% of the world's population) arrive from Arctic Canada.

There's a rustic children's play area in the woods, with a zip wire, rope swings and tree houses, as well as a good cafe with windows looking out on the ducks.

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