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Ballyholme Beach Bangor: History, Swim + Where To Grab Coffee

Ballyholme Beach Bangor: History, Swim + Where To Grab Coffee

Arcing crescent-shaped Ballyholme Beach in Bangor is home to some beautiful views and even better sunsets!

This sandy beach is a cracking spot for a stroll and it’s only a few minutes from the delights of Bangor town centre, making it convenient for eating, parking and just about everything else!

Below, you’ll find info on everything from where to grab a coffee and where to park to what to look out for while you stroll.

Some quick need-to-knows about Ballyholme Beach

Ballyholme swimming

Photo via Shutterstock

Although a visit to Ballyholme Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Ballyholme Beach is located on Bangor’s northeast coast and is just a short walk from Bangor town centre. It’s a 20-minute spin from Hollywood, a 30-minute drive from Belfast and a 15-minute drive from Newtownards.

2. Parking

There’s a fairly large car park at the end of Bank Lane on the beach’s eastern side. It’s got easy access to the beach from here, and also features public toilets and a children’s play area. There’s another car park at the western end just north of the Ballyholme Yacht Club, but it’s a longer walk to the beach from there. 

3. Swimming

No lifeguards operate at this beach and we can’t find any official information about whether swimming is safe, so check locally when you arrive. And if you’re into watersports, then there’s ample room for canoeing and windsurfing. 

About Ballyholme Beach

Ballyholme Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Ballyholme Beach is curving, sandy and around 1.3 km in length, while most of the beach is backed by a seawall and promenade. 

While this beach is popular these days with walkers, families and windsurfers, back in 1944 a very different scene greeted those on the shores of Ballyholme Beach. In fact, the whole Ballyholme area was a hive of activity, providing a base for American GIs and the US Navy!

Massive naval vessels filled Belfast Lough and the people around the Co. Down coast grew accustomed to seeing large military ships offshore. Before the famous D-Day Landings in Normandy, US troops even rehearsed amphibious landings on the Co. Down coastline. 

Things have quietened down now almost 80 years later thankfully, but few beaches around the country have wartime stories to tell quite like Ballyholme!

The western end of the beach is home to the Ballyholme Yacht Club, the Royal Ulster Yacht Club and definitely no warships!

Things to do at Ballyholme Beach

There’s a handful of things to see and do in and around Tyrella Beach in Downpatrick. Here are some suggestions:

1. Grab a coffee from Groomsport Road

They say variety is the spice of life, right? Well, on the corner of Groomsport Road and Sheridan Road, there are a couple of cracking coffee spots vying for your attention! 

On the western side of the road, Suburban Coffee offers a host of quality coffees and some delicious sweet treats. And when the warm summer months come along, you can refresh with one of their colourful ‘slushee’ drinks. 

Then over on the eastern side, Baylands Coffee Co have some cracking coffees and food on offer, which you can enjoy al fresco in the summer when they put their tables and chairs out front!

2. Then head to the beach for a paddle and some views

But whichever coffee joint you choose, the important thing is that it’s then just a short stroll to the beach! 

Grab yourself a warm hit of caffeine and make the handy 5-minute ramble down to Ballyholme Beach’s sandy shores. If the weather’s nice then kick off your shoes and go for a paddle while admiring the lovely views towards the town and beyond to Belfast. 

Speaking of views, don’t forget to head up to Ballymacormick Point for the pick of the vistas! Time your visit right on a clear late afternoon and you’ll be treated to a gorgeous orange sunset that dips below the Bangor skyline. 

Places to visit near Ballyholme Beach

One of the beauties of this beach is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Down.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Ballyholme Beach in Bangor!

1. North Down Coastal Path (5-minute walk)

Orlock Point

Photo via Shutterstock

Running from Holywood in the west to Orlock in the east, the North Down Coastal Path passes Ballyholme Beach so feel free to jump on here or begin at either end. If you’re going to do it all, then be warned that it’s a long old hike at 16 miles, but the beautiful views and wind in your hair makes it totally worth it!

2. Drumawhey Railway Junction (10-minute drive)

Drumawhey Junction Railway

Photos via Drumawhey on FB

Ballyholme Beach is a great spot for the kids to play, but they’ll also love Drumawhey Junction Railway. The longest Miniature Railway in Ireland, these charming little trains follow a variety of routes and journeys last around 12 minutes.

3. Helen’s Tower (20-minute tower)

Helen’s Tower

Photo via Shutterstock

While Helen’s Tower looks Medieval, it’s actually a 19th-century folly. But don’t that put you off seeing this curious landmark. In fact, you can actually spend the night at this enchanting three-storey stone tower nestled deep in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate! 

4. Belfast (30-minute drive)

belfast castle

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s always loads going on in vibrant Belfast and the Northern Irish capital is just a half-hour drive from Ballyholme Beach. As well as all the great bars, pubs and restaurants, the fantastic Titanic Belfast museum is very accessible when heading in from Bangor and that will make for a brilliant afternoon if you’re with kids. 

Ballyholme Beach Bangor FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do you park?’ to ‘When is the tide out?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Can you swim at Ballyholme Beach?

Although we’ve tried our best, we can’t find official information that confirms or denies how safe it is/isn’t to swim here, so check locally.

Is there toilets at Ballyholme Beach?

if you head to the car par at the end of Bank Lane you’ll find some public toilets (note: opening hours for the toilets are unknown).

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