Donaghadee Harbour (Down)
Donaghadee is probably best known for its lighthouse and harbour, which has been a haven for ships since at least the 17th century.
The harbour consists of two independent piers running north-westwards out to sea; parallel nearer the shore, they converge at the outer ends to form a harbour mouth 46 m (150 feet) wide. At low tide the water in the harbour is fifteen feet deep.
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In this 'you may also like' section we attempt to answer what else can I do? Here you have a list by order of being the closest some more beaches, things to see and do, places to eat and upcoming events.
- The Copeland Islands is a group of three islands consisting of Lighthouse, Mew and Copeland Island. The Copeland Islands Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) is located in the north Irish Sea, north of Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland and comprises a group of three islands, The Great Copeland, Lighthouse Island and Mew Island. The islands are important sites for breeding seabirds and waders, in addition to their coastal plant communities and geological features. Great Copeland supports the most diverse range of habitats of the three islands. Communities influenced by the sea are found around the shore with maritime cliff vegetation and pockets of salt marsh also present. The centre of the island is occupied by semi-improved wet grassland with frequent areas of marsh. There is public passenger boat service to the islands during the summer months from Donaghadee harbour, allowing a visit of a few hours.
- Millisle Beach is close to the seaside town of Millisle making it convenient and a perfect spot with its wide, golden sands and lagoon. Having the lagoon makes this beach perfect for families as swimming is really safe and there is a jetty and slipway as well for boats and a further paddling pool for the kids. What we liked is that there are picnic tables and a grassy patch to sit upon and even the car park has locally made sculptures in it! It’s a fun day out with seals and other wildlife being spotted frequently. Facilities include parking, toilets, picnic area and slipway.
- A light station was established on Lighthouse Island in the early 18th century and a lighthouse built in 1815. It has been inactive since 1884 when the lighthouse was abandoned in favour of the Mew Island Lighthouse, but the ruined stump of the 16 m (52 ft) stone tower remains. The ruins of the keeper’s house have been rebuilt to house a bird observatory. The island is managed by the National Trust, although not generally open to the public, weekend and day bird watching trips can be arranged.
- Mount Stewart House and Gardens is an 18th Century mansion house owned by the Londonderry family and situated just a little way from Greyabbey. The estate is 98 acres and the house itself is well worth a visit as it houses one of the most exclusive collections of art collected from all over the globe complemented by incredible gardens that include superb examples of a sunken garden and Italian style gardens as well as a terrace full of fantastical concrete animals and a Temple of Winds! Mount Stewart is one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership. Lady Londonderry is said to have been the driving force in establishing these international renown gardens and famous for experimentation with plants. This opulent home has a fantastic heritage and you’ll marvel at the artefacts and art housed here. It’s usually open from 10am – 4pm daily but check on their website too as times may vary in Winter. Facilities:Gift shop Ice cream shop Restaurant Plant centre Toilets located in the reception area Baby-changing facilities Pushchairs and baby back-carriers allowed Family activity packs and seasonal activities available Hip-carrying infant seats for loan.
- Ballywalter beach is actually two beaches but it is the long south sandy beach that draws most visitors, with rock pools and never too crowded. Ballywalter is a village situated on the east (Irish Sea) coast of the Ards Peninsula. Facilities include small playground nearby, grass areas behind the beach, car parking and toilets.
- Newtownards is the main town in the area at the tip of the Lough or lake. Here you’ll find a wide range of shops, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, gift shops and a fantastic outdoor market in the square! This is an older market town and is considered a gateway to the peninsula. The best landmark here is the Scrabo Tower as it marks the fact that you are now in the borough of Ards. Here you’ll find wonderful crafts and art and many galleries to while away a few hours if you’re tired of the beaches. Walking the many trails here give you ample opportunity to explore and you’ll find many natural spots of beauty and camping grounds as well as bed and breakfasts and hotels. Attractions include:Mount Stewart House and gardens Millisle Beach St Mary’s Church
- Built in 1857 and dramatically perched above the market town, the tower was built as a memorial to the Third Marquis of Londonderry. It stands in Scrabo Country Park surrounded by beautiful woodland walks and parkland. A climb of 122 steps will take visitors to the open viewing level which gives spectacular views across Strangford Lough, the Mourne Mountains, Belfast and beyond to Scotland. Attractions near here include:Strangford Lough North Down Heritage Centre Mount Stewart House and Gardens Millisle Beach
- Ballyhalbert beach is sandy in a small village with a harbour on the east (Irish Sea) coast of the Ards Peninsula between Ballywalter and Portavogie. Just past the harbour is mainland Irelands most easterly point – Burr Point. Ballywalter also has a nature reserve, an old castle mound and the ruins of an old church.
- Strangford Lough is the biggest sea lough or lake in the United Kingdom. It flows into the Irish Sea at the Strangford Narrows but apart from that, is landlocked. There is over 15 000 acres of shore, islands, wetlands, marsh and woodlands here for wildlife to enjoy and it’s a lovely day out in the country if you’re a keen walker, fisherman, biker or just someone who enjoys the peace and quiet! The information centre here provides good knowledge of the wildlife, birdlife and marine life here and you’ll find Bar tailed Godwits, Terns and Brent Geese among the candidates for your attention. It’s all very well set up with a variety of car parking areas and viewing platforms, walks and resting areas to enjoy the scenery from. The walks are great and include a variety of low tide, island and other walks with stunning views. Coast nearby, Nature Reserve, Country walks, Access for visitors with disabilities, Suitable for picnics, Dogs welcome on leads.
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