Categories: adventurefamilyFunOutdoors

Buckets and spades at the ready, leave it to us to find you the best beaches to build your sandcastle on!

It looks like summer has arrived and long may it last!  There’s nothing like a long day out at the beach with your family or friends.  So, socks off and try dipping your toes into the cool blue waters of one of our many beaches listed below.

We have 3 beaches in our area that have once again been awarded Blue Flag status this year and that is something to be very proud of!  The categories that need to be met for Blue Flag standards are water quality, safety and public environmental education. 

Cranfield Bay

Not far from the fishing port of Kilkeel, the Blue Flag awarded Cranfield Bay is a sand and shingle beach with superb views of Carlingford Lough.  There is a large children’s play area and if you don’t fancy sand in your picnic, it’s not far for you to travel into Kilkeel to grab a bite to eat.  The beach is mainly used for swimming and water sports and, for peace of mind, there are lifeguards on duty during busier months.  Cranfield is also known as an Inclusive Beach Inclusive Beaches : Mae Murray Foundation which means that, provided you are a member of the Mae Murray Foundation (which is free to join), you can hire beach equipment such as beach chairs or floating chairs to help you move around the beach and enter the sea.  There are also excellent shower facilities including a hoist to help with showering after bathing.

Cranfield West Beach - Kilkeel - Visit Mourne Mountains

Murlough Beach and Nature Reserve

With its golden, sandy beach and network of pathways through grassy dunes, it’s not surprising Murlough has been awarded Blue Flag status.  The nature reserve is smothered in beautiful wildflowers and home to mammals such as rabbits, pygmy shrew, foxes and badgers and there are many species of farmland and coastal birds who make Murlough their home for the winter.  Look out for seals too as they are also frequent visitors to the clear waters there.  When you are not sunbathing or swimming, why not take a walk along one of the Nature Reserve’s trails?

Murlough Beach - Newcastle - Visit Mourne Mountains

Tyrella Beach

Tyrella, with its wide sandy beach also boasts Blue Flag status.  With off beach parking, safe bathing, amenities and walks, it’s a real family favourite.  It backs onto mature dunes located in a conservation area and is known for local fauna and flora.  The beach is popular with canoeists and water sports enthusiasts too.  Horse riders can enjoy a gallop on the wide open space off season.  From Tyrella there are stunning views of the Mourne Mountains. 

Tyrella Beach - Clough - Visit Mourne Mountains

Newcastle Beach

Newcastle Beach is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.  With its beautiful promenade and modern bridge, there is a very pleasant walk to be had along the sea front with the spectacular Mournes laid out before you.  There are several sculptures along the promenade for you to admire on your walk including the sculpture depicting songwriter, Percy French who wrote about the Mountains of Mourne sweeping down to the sea.  You might even find yourself singing along to the lyrics!  Have a look at the plaque mounted on the promenade which commemorates the successful flight by Harry Ferguson in 1910 when he flew a small plane across the beach in one of the first engine powered flights by aircraft in Ireland.   The beach itself is approximately 1.5 miles long and is made up of sand, pebbles and stones.  It is a popular area for swimmers all year round and sunbathing and swimming during the warmer months.  There is life saving equipment on the beach and signage on the promenade.  With its stunning views as far as the eye can see, you won’t be surprised to hear the entire area is within the Mournes and Slieve Croob Area of Outstanding Beauty and the Murlough Special Area for Conservation.

Newcastle Beach - Newcastle - Visit Mourne Mountains

Ballyhornan Beach

Ballyhornan Beach is located on the Lecale Way and is a sandy beach surrounded by cliffs.  Guns Island, a well-known fishing spot, lies in the bay and it is possible to see the Isle of Man on the horizon.  The beach is on the South East Coast Canoe Trail so why not look into hiring a canoe or kayak before you go South East Coast Canoe Trail in Northern Ireland (canoeni.com)

Ballyhornan Beach | Ballyhornan County Down (discoverardglass.com)

Killard Nature Reserve

About a mile further along from Ballyhornan you will find Killard Nature Reserve, a site rich in unique flowers, birds and insects.  Bird watching is the main reason people visit the nature reserve.  You can enjoy a coastal walk here too and relax on the small sandy beach found at the end of your walk.  The effects of the Ice Age can also be seen in the shape of the rocks at Killard Point.

Killard National Nature Reserve - - Visit Mourne Mountains

Warrenpoint Beach

Lining the picturesque town of Warrenpoint with spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains on one side and the Cooley Mountains on the other side, this shingle beach is known for its many organised water sport activities such as jet skiing, kayaking and banana boating.  For those who prefer to walk, there is a lovely long promenade along the seafront with a bird’s eye view of the boats moored in the busy harbour there.

Warrenpoint Beach - Warrenpoint - Visit Mourne Mountains

Newcastle Beach
Beach
Newcastle Beach

Newcastle Beach is a popular seaside resort and tourist destination located on the South Down coast of Northern Ireland. Newcastle Beach comprises of sand, pebbles and larger stones and is approximately 2.5 km in length. The major part of Newcastle Beach is backed by a promenade and the seaside town of Newcastle, which has lots of shops, cafes, restaurants, amusements and other attractions. The beach has a very gentle slope with the Mountains of Mourne in the background. The beach is popular for swimming and sunbathing and there is life saving equipment available with signage on the Promenade.  The beach can be accessed via steps or the slipway.

Cranfield West Beach
Beach
Cranfield West Beach

Cranfield West offers a gently sloping, mainly sandy beach located at the entrance to Carlingford Lough, an area designated as being of Special Scientific Interest.

Murlough Beach
Beach
Murlough Beach

This 5 mile stretch of golden sands is still the essence of the resort and is hugely popular for swimming, sunbathing and other forms of recreation.

Tyrella Beach
Beach
Tyrella Beach

Tyrella beach and conservation area is a small, enclosed dune complex within Dundrum Bay. It is a wide, flat, sandy beach two kilometres long and backed by 25 hectares of mature dunes in a conservation area.

Warrenpoint Beach
Beach
Warrenpoint Beach

Warrenpoint Beach is located alongside the Mourne Mountains on the shores of Carlingford Lough, in County Down.

Killard National Nature Reserve
Walking & Hiking
Killard National Nature Reserve

Situated at the mouth of Strangford Lough, opposite Ballyquintin. The rich wildlife include orchids and other rarities, and interesting rock formations can be seen.