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Millisle Beach Park In Down: Coffee, Swim + Walk Info

Millisle Beach Park In Down: Coffee, Swim + Walk Info

Is it a beach? Is it a lagoon? Is it a park? Well, there’s only one way to find out when you visit Millisle Beach Park!

Situated next to the village of Millisle, this spot on the east coast of the Ards Peninsula in County Down is a glorious spot for a saunter.

Below, you’ll find info on everything from where to park and where to grab coffee to what to see while you’re there.

Some quick need-to-knows about Millisle Beach Park

Millisle Strand

Photo via Shutterstock

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

1. Location

Millisle Beach is located on the eastern shores of the Ards Peninsula on the eastern County Down coast. It’s a 15-minute drive away from Newtownards, a 20-minute drive from Bangor and a 40-minute drive from Belfast.

2. Parking

There’s loads of room here for cars and there are a couple of car parks on the shorefront just south of the lagoon. Further south there’s Ballywater Road Car Park which also has a ton of room! Facilities here are good too and public toilets are provided and there is also disabled access

3. Swimming

Although we’ve tried, we can’t find any official information about how safe it is to swim at Millisle Lagoon, so we’d recommend checking locally when you get there.

About Millisle Beach

millisle beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Millisle Beach Park looks a little unusual at first glance as it isn’t a traditional long sweeping sandy beach. The lagoon on the north side is actually man-made and is refreshed by seawater at every high tide.

There is also a large open-air pool located next to the beach, while you’ll also come across a jetty, slipways and rockpools. 

But down on the southern half of the beach you’ll find a 150m-long sandy shoreline ideal for strolling, paddling and making sandcastles!

As well as a Green Coast award in 2008, Millisle Beach received one of eight Northern Ireland Tourist Board ‘Seaside Awards’ in 2010 for its natural beauty and cleanliness.

Watersports take place here too, so don’t be surprised to see windsurfers and canoeists battling the waves!

The curious name of the village actually comes from Ulster-Scots dialect, mill + isle, meaning “the meadow of the mill”.

Things to do at Millisle Beach

Maxemoo Farmyard Cafe

Photos via Maxemoo on FB

There’s a handful of things to see and do in and around Millisle Lagoon. Here are some suggestions:

1. Grab a coffee from Maxemoo Farmyard Cafe

How many Farmyard-themed cafes have you been to? Not that a theme is an essential part of being a cafe, but it certainly adds to the character!

Anyway, I digress. Maxemoo Farmyard Cafe is a friendly little spot on Main St and literally a stone’s throw from the beach. 

With everything from sizzling fry-ups to stacks of fluffy maple-drizzled pancakes, there are loads of options for breakfast here if you’re in the mood for a feed before seeing the beach. They also do sweet treats like waffles and handmade traybakes. 

2. And then soak up the views on the sandy shores

Do you prefer rocky shores or sandy shores? Well, Millisle Lagoon has both so pick your poison and make your way there! 

Whether you decide to go north or south, you’ll be treated to some lovely views up and down the coast and, if you’re lucky and it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to make out Scotland’s Mull of Galloway – the most southerly point in Scotland. 

If the weather’s good and you’re on the sandy side then don’t hesitate to kick off your shoes, hike up your trousers and go for a paddle. On the northern side, there are plenty of rockpools for you to explore. 

Places to visit near Millisle Beach

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

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

1. Ballycopeland Windmill (5-minute drive)

Ballycopeland Windmill

Photo by Bernie Brown via Ireland’s Content Pool

The only remaining working windmill in East Down, Ballycopeland Windmill was built in the late 18th or early 19th century and was worked until World War I when it fell into disrepair. Thankfully, it was gradually restored between 1950 and 1978 to full working order and now is open to the public, with a small visitor centre is located inside the Millers house.

2. Drumawhey Junction Railway (8-minute drive)

Drumawhey Junction Railway

Photos via Drumawhey on FB

There’s a small pirate ship that kids can climb at Millisle Beach, but they’ll love these little trains too! The longest Miniature Railway in Ireland, Drumawhey Junction Railway follows a variety of routes and journeys last around 12 minutes.

3. Orlock Point Walk (12-minute drive)

Orlock Point

Photo via Shutterstock

Just a 12-minute drive north is the beginning of a cracking coastal walk. Rocky and challenging, the 3-mile (4.8km) Orlock Point Walk affords stunning views of the Copeland Islands and out across the Irish Sea towards Scotland.

4. Echlinville Distillery (22-minute drive)

Echlinville Distillery

Photos via Echlinville Distillery on FB

If you’re into your spirits, there are few better places in County Down to visit than Echlinville Distillery. Ireland’s first farm distillery, here they craft whiskey, gin and poitín so make sure to book a fascinating distillery tour to see just how they make their exceptional spirits.

Millisle Beach Park FAQs

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is it OK to swim?’ to ‘Are there toilets?’.

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 Millisle Beach Park?

Although we’ve tried, we can’t find any official information about how safe it is to swim at Millisle Lagoon, so we’d recommend checking locally when you get there.

Is parking a pain at Millisle Lagoon?

You can expect the car park here, like most of the beaches in the area, to fill up quickly on those often rare warm summer days.

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