Categories: ActivitiesFunFamilies

Family Fun in and around Strangford Lough

The Strangford Lough area is very picturesque and offers lots for families to do and see. Strangford is a small village at the mouth of Strangford Lough, which is the UK’s largest sea lough. The 10 minute ferry links the villages of Strangford and Portaferry and is an exciting experience for young and old as you take in the stunning scenery of this Marine Nature Reserve and try to spot seals, seabirds and jellyfish as the tide rushes past.

Get outside and enjoy some fun

The lough and surrounding areas have lots to offer families of all ages. Clearsky Adventure Centre provide a wide range of outdoors activities.  Get on board and try paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing or hire a bike and go exploring, there’s plenty to keep everyone busy.

Just up the road, heading towards Downpatrick, call into the renowned National Trust Property of Castle Ward, a must for everyone to enjoy. The 18th Century Mansion is famed for two different architectural designs, tour the house and hear all the historic tales.Once you've heard the tales, go and explore the grounds.  There are 21 miles of trails either to walk, cycle or horseride through the estate. Check out the wildlife, you will see butterflies, rabbits, ducks or swans and take some time to visit the restored sunken garden which is an array of colour all the year round.

"Thronies" will revel in the historic farmyard which was featured as the location of Winterfell in HBO’s hit series, Game of Thrones®.

Here’s one for all the family.  Just on the outskirts of Strangford village, on a beautiful estate with sweeping gardens, come and meet your new friends the alpacas, learn some interesting facts, you can feed them and enjoy a walk with them along the shore.

Not far from the village alongside Kilclief Castle is the welcoming beach which treats wild sea swimmers to incredible views of the Isle of Man.

Forage in Finnebrogue Woods

Just on the outskirts of Downpatrick the kids can go wild in the woods, this is a place where you can get back to nature. If you are up for it, get some expert advice and camp within the woods.  Take part in a hands-on immersive bushcraft experience and you will be taught essential survival & woodland bushcraft skills including the basics of fire lighting, camp craft and shelter building. Forage for your dinner on a walk through the woods. Pick some seasonal herbs, fungi vegetables and berries, which can be identified by your guide and then use them in your wild cooking later. Step into the wild with experiences available to book.

Take time out to visit Fodder, the on-site café.  There is also a fabulous farm shop with some delicious food to be had here under the tipi.  Finish your day with a short 2 km walk trail alongside the lake through the woods.

Drop into Delamont

Delamont Country Park on the Killyleagh Road, is a beautiful 200-acre park.  It is home to the Strangford Stone, the tallest Megalith in Ireland.  Delamont offers peace, beauty and tranquillity, together with a variety of accessible walks ranging from 1km to 7km over the many trails.  Be inspired with the stunning views over Strangford Lough. The children’s adventure playground and miniature railway (seasonal) will keep the children happy for hours while you can grab a coffee at Steamers Café and the kids can get their ice-cream later.  Bring a picnic and have a fun day out.

History in the making

Downpatrick, the County town of Down, has many historic attractions and activities for families of all ages.Down County Museum is based in an old gaol dating back to 1796 and here children can enjoy hands-on activities.  There are 10 galleries to visit.  Check out the farming and maritime collections from County Down. 

Just a few steps away is Down Cathedral, St Patrick’s grave and the Saint Patrick Centre (the only permanent exhibition in the World about Ireland’s Patron Saint). Sit back and relax in the Garden Cafe over a freshly prepared homemade breakfast or lunch, by the way, the coffee is their own-brand freshly blended.

Learn about the "Dark Ages" in Ireland when you visit Ballydugan Medieval Settlement

Downpatrick Racecourse, a mile outside Downpatrick, is the oldest racecourse in Ireland. It hosts around 10 fixtures each year and many of them are great “Family Days Out” offering excellent entertainment for all the family.

Keep Healthy

If health and vitality is your thing, right in the centre of Downpatrick with ample parking, is the “state of the art” Down Leisure Centre. It includes 2 pools, 4 sport halls, gym, handball court and vitality health suite where you can use the vitality pool, steam room, heated stone bed lounger and sauna – there is enough there to keep you busy!!

Strangford Lough
Nature and Wildlife
Brent Geese flying over Strangford Lough with Mournes on horizon

Strangford Lough  is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is almost fully enclosed by land. It is the largest sea water inlet in Ireland and the United Kingdom and an important habitat for wildlife.  A regular car ferry links the picturesque towns of Strangford and Portaferry.  Strangford Lough is a significant asset in the Aspiring UNESCO global Geopark.   The Lough was formed at the end of the last ice age. Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland's first Marine Conservation Zone and is a special area of conservation for wildlife. Strangford Lough is a key destination for winter migration for many wading and sea birds.  The lough is home to common seals, basking sharks and brent geese.

Strangford Lough Ferry
Boats & Ferries
Strangford Lough Ferry

The ferry links the beautiful Ards and Lecale Peninsulas and the villages of Strangford and Portaferry across the Narrows of Strangford Lough. The 10 minute ferry journey allows you to take in the stunning scenery of this Marine Nature Reserve.

Strangford Stone
Strangford Stone in Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh

The imposing Strangford Stone is the tallest megalith in the British Isles.  It was quarried from the Mourne Mountains and now stands tall in Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh facing the Mournes.

Strangford, County Down
Strangford Lough Ferry

Strangford is a small village at the mouth of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland, just 20 minutes outside Belfast City.  Strangford Lough is located in both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in an area of special scientific interest.  It is one of the most richly bio-diverse regions in Europe with over 2,000 marine species spread across 150km and with all the birds, badgers and seals, there is an unmistakable tranquillity to this place. Near the village of Strangford is Castle Ward, an 18th-century National Trust property with beautiful scenic trails for walking and exploring.  Game of Thrones, Winterfell scenes were filmed at Castle Ward.

Clearsky Adventure Centre
Activity Centre
Clearsky Adventure Centre

Newcastle and Castlewellan Bike Hire We have a wide range of bikes available for hire. Mountain bikes, electric e-bikes, tandem bicycles, kids bicycles. You name it, we should have it. Free delivery and shuttle bus service.

Castle Ward
The National Trust
Castle Ward

Discover a place of contrasts and creativity at Castle Ward, an eccentric 18th century mansion and estate looking out over the tranquil waters of Strangford Lough in County Down where visitors can explore cultivated gardens, sheltered woodland and the shoreline.

Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft
Craft Workshops and courses
Finnebrogue Woods Bushcraft

Step into the wild with an expert bushman. Do you have the skills to survive in the wild? Do you know what’s good to eat in the woods and how to find it? It’s time to find out. Join one of Finnebrogue’s bushcraft or foraging experiences and put yourself back in touch with nature.

Delamont Country Park
Public Park
Child climbing and another on a slide in the play park, at Delamont Country Park.

Situated on the shores of Strangford Lough in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Delamont Country Park, Killyleagh offers peace, beauty and tranquillity. The stunning views across Strangford Lough and the relaxing atmosphere make Delamont Country Park a place to enjoy that 'away from it all feeling'. It is home of the Strangford Stone - the tallest megalith in Ireland. This beautiful 200-acre Country Park offers a great day out for visitors of all ages. Whether you are a keen walker, a nature lover or simply looking for a great day out for all the family you will find plenty to entertain you in Delamont Country Park.

Down County Museum
Visitor Centres & Museums
Entrance to Down County Museum, Downpatrick

Down County Museum is located in the old county Gaol of Down. It houses fascinating exhibitions on the history of Down as well as restored cells with life-size figures of prisoners and their gaolers.

Down Cathedral and Saint Patrick's Grave
Down Cathedral and Saint Patrick's Grave

Down Cathedral, a Cathedral of the Church of Ireland with magnificent stain glass windows, box pews and beautiful organ case was built in 1183 as a Benedictine Monastry. The patron saint, Patrick is believed to be buried in the nearby graveyard.

The Garden Cafe
The Garden Cafe

Dine out with a spectacular view at Downpatrick’s only roof top terrace with a stunning garden backdrop. Enjoy the finest freshly cooked food using the finest local ingredients in Downpatrick’s hidden gem.

Downpatrick Racecourse
Horses approaching the finish line at Downpatrick Race Course with spectators in the grand stand.

Downpatrick Racecourse is the oldest racecourse in Ireland, dating back to 1685. Today, we host 10 fixtures each year with our feature being the Randox Ulster National which this year takes place on Sunday 2nd April. The Racecourse is a hub of local life and attracts visitors from far and wide

Down Leisure Centre
Swimming Pool
Down Leisure Centre

State of the art facility including 25m 6 lane pool, learner pool, gym & vitality health suite.