Ards Peninsula and Strangford Lough – Northern Ireland

The more places I visit in Northern Ireland the more I feel in love with this beautiful country. This gorgeous island offers you such a variety of places to discover from breathtaking mountains to magnificent beaches with long white sands and blue-green waters, hectares of woodland forests where you can go for a walk and discover the fauna and flora, lakes for angling lovers or to have a boat experience and admire the outstanding landscapes, caves to explore…

If I haven’t convinced you yet to visit Northern Ireland here are some more amazing places I visited recently and that I hope will delight you as much as they delighted me.

The Ards Peninsula separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel on the north-east coastline of Northern Ireland. This is an area of outstanding beauty with pristine beaches, picturesque fishing villages, abbeys, castles, lighthouses and a windmill. Plenty of reasons to visit this spectacular region.


At the entrance of Strangford Lough we found this beautiful small town where you can visit a tower house from the 16th century. There is also a ferry that connects Portaferry and Strangford which are 1 mile away. For more information regarding fares and timetables for the ferry click the link In Strangford you can visit Castle Ward a beautiful mansion from the 18th century and explore the gardens, trails, fauna and flora the place offers. This was also one of the locations for the worldwide famous series of Game of Thrones.


 Portavogie Beach and Harbour

This is a small fishing village very famous for its sea food, particularly prawns and herrings though most of it is for export.
The harbour is filled with fishing boats. Around here you will also find seals that come here in search of fish. If you are a fish lover this is the place to taste a good sea food meal. We had lunch at the Quays, Ireland’s most Easterly Restaurant. The choices are plenty: crab, salmon, haddock, mussels, prawns, seabass…

Northern Ireland has plenty of beautiful beaches and this area is no exception. Very close to the harbour you have Portavogie Beach, the ex-libris is a fishing wrecked boat and the stunning huge and colourful sea shells.


Millisle Beach

A beautiful beach to stroll along and explore. This beach is a man-made sea lagoon that is refilled with seawater every high tide. There is also a picnic area where you can have a meal whilst enjoying the striking views.



Located on the Irish sea coast here is another picturesque town with a beautiful harbour and a stunning lighthouse, 16 metres tall, built in 1836 and it was the first Irish lighthouse to be lit by electricity. Donaghadee is the place in Northern Ireland closest to Scotland. The town offers a range of shops, places to eat and relax.

This town is the birthplace of the well-known Bear Grylls.


Ballycopeland Windmill

The only working windmill in Northern Ireland, this beautiful historic windmill was built in the late 18th century beginning of the 19th century stopped working by the time of the 1st world war. It was restored between 1950-1978. It was used to produce oatmeal and wheat meal as well as animal feed. The windmill is the landmark of Millisle. Visits are possible only in July and August from 10am to 5pm but is advisable to book in advance due to the limited space inside.


Grey Abbey

Here you can visit the ruins of a Cistercian monastery founded by Anglo-Normans during the 12th century.

The building was burnt in the 16th century by Sir Brian O’Neill to prevent the English from taking ownership of it. It was granted to the Scottish Sir Hugh Montgomery who restored the abbey.

There is an exhibition center that illustrates the life of the Cistercian monks, a life of poverty and simplicity, dedicated to worship and work. There is also a small garden with medicinal herbs.

Admission is free of charge. During the week it’s open from 8.30am to 8pm and from 10am to 8pm during the weekends.


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