Welcome to Strangford Lough
Designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Strangford Lough is Northern Ireland’s first marine nature reserve and is the British Isles’ largest sea inlet, internationally renowned for its marine, plant and wildlife.
Tour along the Ards Peninsula and enjoy the combination of stunning scenery and picturesque villages and towns. Seafood is the speciality of the region and the fishing fleet of Portavogie keeps many of the local seafood restaurants well supplied with the very best quality of turbot, plaice, langoustine and brill, providing a real taste of the region.
The area is also associated with two great Scots, James Hamilton and Hugh Montgomery, who led the settlement of the Ards and North Down, laying the foundations for the Plantation of Ulster by Scottish people.
Activities such as kayaking, fishing and sailing are popular on the Lough, and for the more adventurous the sea safari or canoe trails are a real treat. Activities on land include walking and cycle trails, golf, bird watching and horse riding.
There are also many fascinating attractions to be explored and enjoyed. Experience the vast marine life at Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry or spend an afternoon at one of the two National Trust properties in the area, Mount Stewart House and Gardens or Castle Ward, which has mountain bike trails in its grounds. Stately homes and stunning gardens are prominent in the area, largely due to the sub-tropical micro-climate around the Strangford Lough area.
Delamont Country Park offers waymarked walks, a miniature railway and the Millennium or Strangford Stone - the largest megalith in Ireland and Britain - while the large collection of native and exotic water birds and wildlife at the tranquil Castle Espie Wetland Centre offers an amazing outdoor learning experience.
Steeped in Christian heritage sites, the area forms part of the Saint Patrick’s driving trail - indeed the area to the south east of the Lough around Downpatrick is commonly known as Saint Patrick’s Country due to is close links with the saint and is known the world over as the burial place of Saint Patrick.
With over 150 attractions of all kinds in the area, Strangford Lough is just waiting to be explored.