There’s plenty of things to do in Rostrevor at any time of the year!
Situated a stone’s throw from the Mourne Mountains with Carlingford Lough, parks and forests on the doorstep, Rostrevor is a hub for outdoor recreation.
Below, you’ll find heaps of places to visit in Rostrevor and loads of things to do a short drive away.
Our favourite things to do in Rostrevor
The first section of our guide is packed with what we think are the best things to do in Rostrevor – these are things one or more of our team have done and enjoyed.
Below, you’ll find everything from food and hikes to forest walks, unique attractions and one of the most scenic places to visit in Northern Ireland.
1. Kick-start your visit with breakfast/coffee in The Old School House Cafe
Stroll along to the Old School House Coffee House and Bistro in the centre of Rostrevor village on Church Street. As well as being a charming restored building, it serves amazing food.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with a delectable breakfast menu and full range of speciality coffees and teas. You’ll be sorely tempted by the full Irish with perfectly cooked eggs just how you like them.
Those with a sweet tooth can tuck into pancakes and freshly baked goodies all washed down with a fresh cup of coffee. Lovely!
2. Then head for a stroll around Kilbroney Park
Kilbroney Park is a lovely place for a ramble on the shores of Carlingford Lough. Now a public forest park, this 97-acre former estate has riverside walks, mountains, streams and valleys and an arboretum of exotic trees, some planted over 100 years ago.
The well-established forest includes the Narnia Trail inspired by the creatures and characters in C.S. Lewis’ novels.
Look out for the Lamp Post, Beaver’s House and Aslan’s Table and take a selfie to remind you of your visit.
3. Head up to Cloughmore Stone and soak up the view at sunrise
The mighty Cloughmore Stone is a huge granite rock deposited, according to geologists, by the meltwaters of the glacier from an earlier Ice Age.
Legend has it that the “Big Stone” was tossed from the Cooley Mountains by the Giant Finn McCool. It’s part of the Kilbroney Park estate and weighs about 50 tons.
It’s a popular landmark to walk up to and the views across the lough and Rostrevor village are amazing. It’s said that if you walk around the stone seven times you’ll have good luck!
4. Or head over to ‘Kodak Corner’ and see what all the fuss is about
A visit up to the magnificent Kodak Corner is one of the more popular things to do in Rostrevor. It earned its nickname as the views are frequently photographed, published in magazines and of course, shared on Instagram in this post-Kodak era!
Located within Kilbroney Park, it’s a short walk or mountain bike ride from Rostrevor in an area known for its stunning natural beauty.
Follow the path past the Cloughmore Stone through established woodland. Turn a corner and the trees part to reveal spectacular views.
5. Tackle the lovely Fairy Glen walk
If you’re looking to easy-going things to do in Rostrevor, give the Fairy Glen Walk a bash (it starts right next to the entrance to Kilbroney Park).
This enchanting walk follows the river and got its name as the area is said to be inhabited by fairies.
The 6-mile trail has a variety of landscapes including roads, off-road trails and areas of woodland, riverside and estate parkland.
Start in on the Kilkeel side of the bridge and follow the river upstream to Forestbrook. Just before the bridge, turn right and follow the path which is signposted across fields to Rostrevor Forest.
Return through the park enjoying wonderful views of Carlingford Lough.
Other popular things to do in Rostrevor and nearby
Now that we have our favourite things to do in Rostrevor out of the way, it’s time to see what else the area has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from rainy day attractions and hikes to heaps of things to do near Rostrevor.
1. Take a tour of the Killowen Distillery
What could be more Irish than touring a whiskey distillery? Killowen Distillery produces some of the best pot-still Irish whiskey, poitin and gins in small batch.
The guided tours explain the process but also provide a wealth of local information about this beautiful area of the Mourne Mountains. See the gleaming copper stills and worm tub condensers that help create their quality spirits.
Browse the gift shop for drinks and bespoke branded Tuath glass and then visit the megalithic Kilfeaghan Dolmen (tomb) that is an ancient landmark in this beautiful area.
2. Explore Silent Valley Mountain Park
Just a 25 minute drive from Rostrevor, the Silent Valley Mountain Park is a remote landscape surrounded by a ring of mountain peaks near Kilkeel.
Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the valley was well-named as it is a place of quiet solitude and peace. Start your visit at the Information Centre, which also has a picnic area, tea room and toilets.
Walking trails explore the surrounding mountains, lakes and parkland offering scenic hikes with birds and wildlife. Admission is £5 per car.
Walk alongside the reservoir which collects water from the Mourne Mountains and feeds the main supply of drinking water to Belfast.
3. Spend a morning conquering Slieve Binnian
Fourteen miles from Rostrevor, Slieve Binnian offers a superb 7-mile circular hike along a stony track that follows the incredible Mourne Wall all the way up the rugged slopes of Slieve Binnian to the summit at 747m.
You will need to use your hands and scramble in the steepest places. Views of the surrounding peaks are breathtaking.
The hike continues between the spectacular north and south tors and then descends down a clear but steep path. It continues past the Blue Lough and Annalong Forest before returning to the Carrick Little car park.
This is one of our favourite things to do in Northern Ireland for good reason!
4. Or give the Slieve Bearnagh hike a crack
On the north side of Slieve Binnian, Slieve Bearnagh is a must-do for those who enjoy the outdoors. It’s one of the most challenging hikes in the Mourne Mountains and delivers incredible views in all directions from the 739m summit.
The walk is 6.2 miles total and takes 5 hours to complete. It starts and ends at Meelmore Lodge or alternatively from Trassey Car Park.
Take the clearly defined path up to a stone wall which can be crossed using a stile or gate. Follow the Mourne Wall on the steep and tricky ascent to the summit of the North Tor before tackling Bearnagh’s South Tor.
5. Or Slieve Doan, Slieve Donard, Slieve Meelbeg or… you get the picture
There are so many hikes in the Mourne Mountains, each with their own particular challenges and views. Slieve Doan is less well-known as the Mourne Wall does not run over it but it offers a moderate 5-mile hike starting and ending at Ott Car Park.
A 5.5 mile hike up Slieve Meelbeg (708m) also starts from here. Slieve Donard is better known as the highest peak in Northern Ireland (850m) but the ascent is more of a Grade T2/T3 climb than a hike.
It incorporates dense forest, grassy slopes and many streams and delivers superb views of the Irish Sea.
Mini road trips from Rostrevor
So, you’ve ticked off the various things to do in Rostrevor – not to worry – there’s plenty more to explore close by.
Below, you’ll find more scenic drives, hikes, trails and one of our favourite places to visit in Co Down.
1. The Cooley Peninsula drive (35-minute drive)
Enjoy spectacular scenery on a pleasant drive around the Cooley Peninsula with several mountains, prehistoric graves and Celtic crosses. It’s about 35 minutes from Rostrevor to the starting point.
You’ll enjoy amazing coastal views across Carlingford Lough and Dundalk Bay on this sensational drive. Not surprisingly, it’s known as the #1 scenic driving route in Ireland, capturing many sites featured in the epic tale of “The Cattle Raid of Cooley”.
The drive takes many different landscapes and passes the impressive Slieve Foye as well as the Omeath to Carlingford Greenway if you fancy a leg-stretch.
2. Tollymore Forest Park (30-minute drive)
Tollymore Forest Park sits at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and delivers panoramic views of the Irish Sea at Newcastle. The 630-acre park is about 18 miles northeast of Rostrevor.
Start your visit in the lower car park which has maps of the four walking trails and other local information. The hiking trails are all signposted and follow a circular route.
The Arboretum Path is 0.5 miles passing a Giant Redwood. The 3-mile Rivers Trail follows the Shimna River and cascades while the 5.5 mile Mountain Trail is the longest and most challenging.
The 3-mile Drinns Trail overlaps with the Mountain Trail.
3. Belfast (1-hour drive)
While you’re in the area, spend a day in the capital soaking up the endless things to do in Belfast. It’s just an hour; drive north (46 miles).
This historic city is packed with parks, museums, shops and historic landmarks. Top of the list is Titanic Belfast within a massive purpose-built museum on the waterfront.
Visit the colourful Botanic Gardens and tropical Palm House and don’t miss St George’s Market. It’s an amazing weekend hub for foodies with live music.
What places to visit in Rostrevor have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to do in Rostrevor from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQ about what to do in Rostrevor
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where’s good to walk?’ to ‘What’s a good rainy day attraction?’.
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.
What are the best things to do in Rostrevor?
In our opinion, it’s hard to beat a ramble through Kilbroney Park, a visit to Cloughmore Stone and the views from up at Kodak Corner.
What are good things to do near Rostrevor?
You’ve endless options, from the various Mourne Mountain walks and the Silent Valley, to Carlingford, Tollymore Forest and much more.
Sunday 30th of October 2022
Hi Gillian, what an informative guide, thank you!! I am travelling to Belfast via Carling Ford and staying there one night. Can you suggest the best places to go, we can drive, walk whatever. Should we go to Rostrevor, what route should we take from Carling Ford to Belfast??