Attractions

Top Choice Historic Building in Ards Peninsula

Mount Stewart

The magnificent 18th-century Mount Stewart is one of Northern Ireland’s grandest stately homes. A three-year restoration project has seen the house transformed to how it looked in its 1930 heyday, by unveiling the c…
Top Choice Historic Building in Lecale Peninsula

Castle Ward Estate

Famed for its role as Winterfell in Game of Thrones, 1760s-built Castle Ward House has a superb setting overlooking the bay west of Strangford. The estate's history is relayed in entertaining 45-minute upstairs/down…
Top Choice Wildlife Reserve in Strangford Lough

Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre

Situated 2km southeast of Comber, off the Downpatrick road (A22), Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre is a haven for huge flocks of geese, ducks and swans. The landscaped grounds are dotted with birdwatching…
Top Choice Museum in Downpatrick

St Patrick Centre

This magnificent glass-and-timber heritage centre houses a multimedia exhibition called Ego Patricius, charting the life and legacy of Ireland's patron saint. Audio and video presentations tell St Patrick's story, o…
Top Choice Aquarium in Portaferry

Exploris

Recently reopened after a £2 million remodelling, this excellent aquarium has displays of marine life from Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea as well as tropical fish, otters and a new reptile centre with an African…
Top Choice Forest in Mourne Mountains

Tollymore Forest Park

This scenic forest park, 3km west of Newcastle, offers lovely walks and bike rides along the River Shimna and across the Mournes' northern slopes. Victorian follies include the church-like Clanbrassil Barn, as well …
Historic Building in Hillsborough

Hillsborough Castle

The British monarch's official Northern Ireland residence is this rambling, late-Georgian mansion, which was built in 1797 for Wills Hill, the first Marquess of Downshire, and extensively remodelled in the 1830s and…
Monastery in Greyabbey

Grey Abbey

This Cistercian abbey was founded in 1193 by Affreca, wife of Norman knight John de Courcy (the builder of Carrickfergus Castle), in thanks for surviving a stormy sea crossing from the Isle of Man. The small visitor…
Forest in Rostrevor

Kilbroney Park

This 16-sq-km forest park unfolds 1km east of Rostrevor. From the car park at the top of the forest drive, a 10-minute hike leads up to a superb view over the lough to Carlingford Mountain, as well as to the Cloughm…
Museum in Downpatrick

Down County Museum

Downpatrick's restored 18th-century jail now houses the county museum. In a former cell block at the back are models of some of the prisoners once incarcerated there, and details of their sad stories. Displays in th…