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12 Of The Best Things To Do In Bangor In Northern Ireland

12 Of The Best Things To Do In Bangor In Northern Ireland

There’s a handful of things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland and there’s endless places to visit nearby!

And, while many tend to miss it when exploring County Down, the town has a bustling food scene and it’s a great place to explore from.

Below, you’ll discover what to do in Bangor, from walks and great places to eat to heaps of nearby attractions.

Our favourite things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland

North Down Coastal Path

Photos via Shutterstock

The first section of our guide is packed with what we think are the best things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland.

These are places that one or more of our team have visited and loved. Dive on in!

1. Kick start your visit with coffee or something tasty from The Guillemot Kitchen Café

Guillemot Kitchen Café

Photos via Guillemot Kitchen Café on FB

The Guillemot Kitchen Café serves up delicious home cooking with a trademark twist. Visit the place for its famous breakfasts, boozy brunches and hearty lunches.

While you’ll find plenty of traditional favourites such as the Ulster Fry and Belfast Baps served with sausages, hashbrowns, bacon and a fried egg, there are also choices such as huevos rancheros, tortillas topped with guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh cheese, chillies and fried eggs.

There is also a shop where you can stock up on local cheeses, hampers and feasting boxes, and there are tapas nights, book clubs and other events to join in.

2. Then head for a stroll around Bangor Marina and the North Pier

Bangor Marina

© Bernie Brown bbphotographic for Tourism Ireland

One of the more popular things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland is to head for a ramble down by the pier.

Bangor Marina runs from the bottom of the town’s Main Street right round to Pickie Fun Park. It is the largest marina in Northern Ireland and was opened in 1989.

Look out for The Pasty Supper while you are there, a sculpture of a man eating a pasty and on the reverse of which is an old map of the town.

The north pier is just a few minutes’ walk away from the gardens and a great place for taking a short stroll, perhaps to walk off some of that enormous breakfast you’ve just consumed in the Guillemot Kitchen Café. 

3. Take the kids to Pickie Fun Park

Pickie Fun Park

Photo courtesy of Ards and North Down Borough Council via Ireland’s Content Pool

If you’re looking for things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland with kids, look no further than the brilliant Pickie Fun Park

Why not pedal a giant Pickie Swan around the shallow waters of the lagoon or try a round of golf while there?

The children will love the Adventure Playground and the Splash Pads and then there is the Pickie Puffer, a narrow-gauge railway journey all around the park’s landscape.

For food options, there is the Candy Shack for drinks and ice-cream on a sunny day and there is also the Pickie Café where you can stop off for lunch.

4. Or tackle the North Down Coastal Path

North Down Coastal Path

Photos via Shutterstock

When in Ireland, it’s hard to resist venturing to the country’s magnificent coastline. The North Down Coastal Path in Bangor extends from Holywood in the west to Orlock in the east.

The path passes through awe-inspiring coastline with beautiful turquoise seas to your right and fine examples of townhouses to your left and parkland.

Here, you will see relics of Ireland’s past and an abundance of local flora and fauna, as well as grey seals that can be spotted off the shoreline. Sections of the path pass through private roads.

Please respect the Highway Code when using these paths and roads.

5. Spend a fine morning at Castle Park

Castle Park Bangor

Photos via Shutterstock

Castle Park surrounds the town hall and the first place you see if you arrive in Bangor by train or bus as it is directly opposite both stations.

Castle Park is the wooded area that surrounds the hall and is a nice place for a walk on a fine, sunny day.

See if you can guess the names of flora and fauna as you wander around, as the park has many magnificent trees in site that have been there for generations.

Related read: Check out our guide to 29 of the best things to do in Northern Ireland

6. And a wet one in North Down Museum

The North Down Museum may be small, but it packs in a huge amount of information to its small space, telling the history of the Bangor area from the Bronze Age (3300 BCE to 1200 BCE) to the present day.

The museum is at the back of the town hall, situated in what was the laundry and stables of the castle built in 1852.

The collections include Christian artefacts from the ancient abbey of Bangor founded in 558AD by Comgall and thought to be one of the most important monasteries in early medieval Europe, such as slate trial pieces, brooches, pottery and the Bangor Bell.

This is a handy option for those of you looking for things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland when it rains.

Other popular things to near Bangor

Ards Peninsula

Photos via Shutterstock

Now that we have our favourite things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland out of the way, it’s time to see what there is to do close by.

Below, you’ll find glorious beaches and outstanding forest parks to some of the most unique places to visit in Co Down.

1. Visit one of many nearby beaches

Crawfordsburn Beach

© Bernie Brown bbphotographic for Tourism Ireland

If you’re someone for whom a holiday isn’t a holiday unless there is a beach involved, then you’re in luck as there is a wealth of them around Bangor.

The Crawfordsburn Beach is a 10-minute drive as is Helen’s Bay while Ballyholme Beach is an 8-minute spin away.

Ballyholme Beach is sandy and approximately 1.3 km in length. There is a car park here, public toilets and a children’s play area.

2. Explore WWT Castle Espie

WWT Castle Espie

Photos via Shutterstock

Come and discover the wonder of Wetlands at Castle Espie. Set on the shores of Strangford Lough, here you will find Northern Ireland’s biggest collection of native and exotic ducks and geese from all around the world.

Spring at Castle Espie is particularly rewarding, as the courtship rituals begin and you will see the large colony of black-headed gulls nesting on the reserve.

Spring also marks the return of the terns to breed, migrating birds coming back and full of birdsong, the arrival of the ducklings and the wood sorrel, celandine and snowdrops that are all around, sparkling with new life.

3. Head for a ramble around Crawfordsburn Country Park

Crawfordsburn Country Park

Photos via Shutterstock

Still in need of more walks in peace and quiet? Head for Crawfordsburn Country Park, which can be found on the southern shores of Belfast Lough and is home to two excellent beaches, some mighty fine scenery.

There’s also tranquil walks through the wooded glens and a waterfall that begs to be snapped.

In the park, you’ll see plenty of wildlife (depending on the time of day you visit), ranging from hedgehogs to rabbits, badgers, a large rookery, seals, herons, shags and guillemots.

There is also the Grey Point Fort, an historic monument completed in 1907 to defend Belfast from sea-borne attack.

4. Spend an afternoon at Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart park

Photos via Shutterstock

Another of the more popular things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland is to take a road trip to Mount Stewart – the most visited National Trust mansion house in NI.

The garden was created by Edith, Lady Londonderry in the early 20th century, building on the landscapes created in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Mount Stuart is said to be an exceptional example of the Irish demesne, with its woodland, orchards and farmlands providing for the household.

The land was acquired by the Stewarts in 1744 and the woodlands they planted, and the bridle paths and farmlands remain unchanged. 

5. Take a spin around the Ards Peninsula

Ards Peninsula

Photos via Shutterstock

The Ards Peninsula has unspoilt villages, a tranquil abbey and castles to explore. It’s located on the east coastline of Northern Ireland and surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Irish Sea and Strangford Lough.

Villages include Greyabbey, where you will find the 12th century ruins of Grey Abbey and a heritage trail through the village that points out places of note.

Just past Kircubbin is the Echlinville Distillery, where you can book a tour to find out all about the distilling process.

Portaferry is well worth a visit too, with its interesting buildings and architecture and from where you can walk up the Windmill Hill to see panoramic views of the County Down countryside. 

6. Soak up the views from Scrabo Tower

Scrabo Tower

Photos via Shutterstock

Scrabo Tower is one of Northern Ireland’s best known landmarks. It was built in the mid-19th century to commemorate the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, who was born Charles William Stewart in 1788 and who fought in the Napoleonic Wars.

The tower is a prime example of a ‘folly’, common place buildings in the late 18th and 19th centuries erected mainly for decorative purposes but the style of them suggesting a grander purpose.

By climbing the 122 steps in the tower, visitors will be rewarded with amazing views over Strangford Lough and its islands, and Newtownards and Comber. On clear days, you can even see Mull of Kintyre

What to do in Bangor: What have we missed?

I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant things to do in Bangor in Northern Ireland 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!

FAQs about places to visit in Bangor

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where’s good when it rains?’ to ‘What to see nearby?’.

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 Bangor?

Spend a fine morning at Castle Park, tackle the North Down Coastal Path, head for a stroll around Bangor Marina and the North Pier or visit Pickie Fun Park.

Is Bangor worth visiting?

Bangor makes a good base to explore part of Down from. There’s also plenty of great places to eat in the town along with some solid pubs.

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