The popular coastal town of Newcastle is just 40 minutes drive from the hotel on the A24. Newcastle lies by the Irish Sea at the foot of Slieve Donard, the highest of the Mourne Mountains. The town offers beaches, amusements, forest walks, the world renowned Royal County Down golf courses as well as many other activities for families and friends to enjoy.
Explore a chunk of the Mourne Mountains. The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, its summits crowned by granite tors. The Mourne upland is dominated by a compact ring of 12 mountains, each rising above 600m, with the highest peak, Slieve Donard, reaching 853m. There are walks and trails to suit walkers or all abilities.
Castle Ward & Game of Thrones Locations
Castle Ward is one of the best things to do in Co Down for Game of Throne fans, located on the foot of Strangford Lough, just 20 minutes from Millbrook Lodge. Castle Ward Estate was used extensively during the filming of Game of Thrones and any keen fan will enjoy visiting the site to see the location of Winterfell Castle. Here you will see sprawling medieval walls, an imposing castle tower gate, gorgeous surrounding landscapes, and never-ending views out across the nearby Strangford Lough.
Some of the tours on offer at Castle Ward include meeting the real-life Direwolf Dogs and exploring over 20 key Game of Thrones filming locations, including Winterfell Castle, the tower window Brian Stark "fell" from, The Winterfell Crypt and the courtyard where the Stark family greet King Robert.
Watch the sun go down over beautiful Strangford Lough. This is the largest sea lough in the British Isles. If you are looking for active adventures why not try your hand at kayaking, diving, canoeing or windsurfing here. If you prefer to explore on foot, there's plenty of walks you can head off on and take in the coastline castles, scenic views and much more. Or, sit back and see the Lough close up and personal, you can also hop on the ferry (it departs on the 1/2 hour) over to the pretty fishing village of Portaferry.
Downpatrick Cathedral – Place of St. Patricks Grave – St. Patricks Centre
Visit Down Cathedral ( the burial place of St Patrick ) You will find the cathedral standing proudly on the Hill of Down, overlooking the historic town of Downpatrick. It's here in the grounds that St Patrick is buried. Although the stone that marks his grave wasn't erected until 1900, it's though St Patrick died in 461. Drop into the Down Cathedral where there is a rare 18th century organ, beautiful stained-glass windows, 2 ecclesiastical stone figures dating back to 1150 and more inside its walls.
Dive into the story of St Patrick at the St Patrick's Centre. Next up and ready for more of St Patrick ! The St Patrick Centre in Downpatrick is the only permanent exhibition in the world dedicated to Ireland's Patron Saint. Here you are given the opportunity to explore the life of St Patrick via award winning interactive galleries and an IMAX experience. The centre also has an art gallery, craft shop, coffee shop and facilities.
Down County Museum
Soak up some more history at Down County Museum. Full of the rich heritage of Country Down is brought to life via fascinating exhibitors, lively events, hand on activities, and award-winning education programmes. This is museum is well worth dropping by.
Head to Dundrum Castle for a walk around. If you are looking for a cracking view and a bit of history, then your next stop has to be Dundrum Castle. The castle , is believed to have been built around 1177 , it was used to control the land routes from Drogheda to Downpatrick. Enjoy the beautiful views of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains.
Head for a ramble along the magnificent Murlough Beach. There's no better way to start a morning or round off your day exploring than with a walk along this finely kept beach and sand dunes. It is a 6 km Blue Flag beach that offers walks with incredible views of the Mourne Mountains and on a good day you can spot the Isle of Man. The Dune fields at Murlough are the most extensive example of dune heath in Ireland , with more than 720 species of butterflies and moths calling this home.
Castlewellan Forest Park
Lace up your walking boots and head for a stroll at Castlewellan Forest park. This forest park is a 12 km walking trail that features breath-taking views out towards the Mourne Mountains. You'll also find one of NI most famous lakes, a Victorian Castle and a maze close to the lively village of Castlewellan. This village is filled with quaint little shops and eateries not to mention some wonderful pubs.
Gulp down the fresh air at Tollymore Forest. A car parking fee of £5 per car applies. Toilet facilities are located close to the car parking area. This park covers an impressive 630 hectares of land at the foot of the Mournes and is the perfect spot for walking, horse riding and orienteering. They is also a large nature play area for the kids. There is 4 different trails that you can head off on from here.
National Trust – Rowallane Gardens
Rowallane Gardens, set in 50 acres, were created in the mid 19th century by the Rev John Moore but were further developed by Hugh Moore, a famous plantsman in the early 1900s. Rowallane Gardens are famous for its large collection of rhododendrons, which can be seen in full bloom from mid-April until the end of May. There is much else to see including wildflower meadows, snowdrops, an interesting rock garden and a walled garden with many rare plants including the National Collection of Penstemon. In the Autumn, the Gardens comes alive with a good display of Autumn tints. There is a farmland trail to the summit of Trio Hill. Worth a visit to see one of the best gardens in Northern Ireland.
Coco's Adventure Playground
Coco's Adventure Playground is an indoor play area located in Newcastle's. They are opened 7 days a week and have activities for all ages of children, from babies to fourteen years old, with slides, ball pools, and play areas where children can enjoy exciting active playtime and exploration inside a safe, secure environment. They cater for birthday parties and have a cafe area. Check their website for seasonal opening hours.
Explore the magnificent Ards Peninsula. The peninsula separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea and is called home to several villages and towns.
Mount Stewart is a 19th century house and garden owed by the National Trust, located on the Ards Peninsula, just 20minutes drive from Portaferry. It is situated on the east side of the Strangford Lough, a few miles outside the town of Newtownards and near Greyabbey. It was the Irish seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family. Booking ahead is advisable. This property hosts a shop, tea room, second hand book shop, a lake walk, Ploughman's Hill, Demesne Walk, Formal Gardens, Rose Garden, Red, Blue, Green and Yellow Trails (including natural play area ) so plenty to do while visiting this beautiful property both inside and out.
Enjoy one of the finest views in the county from Scarbo Hill. Walk to the summit of Scarbo Hill where you'll find Scrabo Tower, which is built in 1857. From here , you'll be treated to spectacular views out over Stangford Lough and North Down.
Portaferry Aquarium located on the shores of Strangford Lough you will be wowed with a diver's view of marine life from around the world. Your journey at Exploris Aquarium will begin with a focus on the lough and the Irish Sea where you will get "hands on " with their native species as you tickle the belly of a small shark and feel the spikes on a sea urchin, along with hearing about the Viking heritage of Strangford Lough. A must visit with the children especially on a rainy day.
Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience and a must-see on any visit to Belfast and Northern Ireland. Titanic Belfast, named the World's Leading Tourist Attraction at the prestigious World Travel Awards in 2016, is located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices and Hamilton Graving Dock, the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912.
Titanic Belfast tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history. The self-guided Titanic Experience extends over nine interpretive and interactive galleries, which explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of RMS Titanic, as well as the city and people who made her.
In order to ensure a safe environment for visitors, Titanic Belfast is required to manage the number of people visiting the museums at any one time. To avoid disappointment and for safety reasons visitors are encouraged to pre-book tickets and timeslots online.