WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre

4 star Wildlife Experience
Walking Route
Set on the shores of the stunning Strangford Lough where almost the entire world’s population of Brent Geese resides during the winter months. Three times award winning Castle Espie is a tranquil and friendly centre for all the family.

Hides and nature walks allow you to get close to the wild birds and collection of endangered birds from around the world. The Visitor Centre boasts the Loughshore Café, selling delicious home baked treats, and a well stocked gift shop with a selection of gifts, books and bird themed items. A picnic area, an indoor soft play area and Wildwood – The Natural Outdoor Woodland play area are also available.

Recent additions include a free to visit Sensory Garden and an arctic themed Brent Play Barn soft play room.

The Secret Swamp is a new, natural outdoor play space where children can connect with nature through active and imaginative play. Secret Swamp adventures abound with the discovery of a log den secret hide out, curious stumpery, a pixie phone musical clearing, magical toadstool glade and a tall tree house adjacent to the dazzling green secret swamp. Active play features include a clamber web, sweet track balance beams over a mucky marsh, a zip wire, tree swing, wobbly bridge and swamp stomp stepping stones.

Centre is fully accessible for people with disabilities, loop system in place at reception, disabled toilets, access to Loughshore Café and gallery. Accessible walking route (also on walkni.com).

Awards: Currently have Tourism NI Visitor Attraction quality grading 4 Stars. Process of applying for Green Tourism Business Scheme.

In 2015 the WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre were awarded a Gold Award in the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
NB. This map is based on the postcode and so may not reflect the exact location.

Opening times:

Open 7 days except 24th & 25th December
Spring (March to April): Monday – Sunday 10:00 to 17:00
Summer (May to August) : Monday – Friday 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday & Sunday to 17:30
Autumn (September & October) : Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 17:00
Winter (November to February): Monday – Sunday 10:00 – 16:30

Closed - Christmas Eve 24 December
Christmas Day 25 December

Re-opens 27 December Boxing Day 10:00 17:00


Admission prices for 2014 will be:
Free entry to Loughshore Café and Art Gallery. Program included.
Adult £7.05.
Child £3.45.
OAP’s & concession £5.41
Family £19.00 (2 adults & 2 children)
All cards are accepted except Diners and AMEX.
Group rates available for 12 or more people.
Admission free for WWT members, helpers of visitors with disabilities, and children under the age of four.
Credit Cards: All cards accepted except Diners and Amex.

The nearest Tourist Information Centre is:

Newtownards / Ards Visitor Information Centre

Location / Directions

Take A2 from Newtownards to Comber. At the second Roundabout, take the Killyleagh/Downpatrick road A21 to the left. Turn first left at Ballydrain road.
  • Tea-room/Cafe onsite
  • Gift Shop
  • Toilets
  • Accept Groups/Coach Parties
  • Open Sundays
  • Open Evenings
  • Open Mondays
  • Credit/Debit Cards Accepted
  • Parking Available
  • WiFi
  • Baby Changing facilities
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Contact Details

Castle Espie
78 Ballydrain Road
County Down
BT23 6EA

Tel: (028) 9187 4146
Fax: (028) 9187 3857