Bangor is a lovely seaside town on Belfast’s doorstep. It has the benefits of being a fairly large town with a bustling art scene, a noteable cafe and restaurant list, all the shops and businesses you could need, and excellent transport links to Belfast. But best of all, Bangor is by the sea. It is home to several forests and beautiful parks, leisure activities galore, a picturesque marina and coastal walks to directly accessibly from the town centre.
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A short walk from Princetown Guesthouse takes you to Bangor castle, the Abbey, North Down Museum, Ward Park, Castle Park and the coastal path. We are 2 mins walk from the Pickie Park children’s activity area and the sea. You can go karting, sailing and golfing, swimming (in the sea or at the excellent Aurora Leisure Centre).
Read below for attractions in Bangor
There are many attractions and interesting sights to explore close to Bangor, and it is an ideal base from which to explore Belfast, Antrim and Down. Sightseeing can be tiring so take some time for a long walk along the sea, a coffee and scone in one of the lovely cafes, a pint of Guinness in one of our many welcoming pubs, or a fine meal in our restaurants.
Read below for suggestions on half day and full day trips from Bangor
An imposing building that was built for the Hon Robert Edward Ward and his family in 1852. Situated in the grounds of Castle Park and a 10 minute walk from the guesthouse. Tours by arrangement.
Designed in the 1840s. This “secret garden” opened as a visitor attraction in 2009. Open from April to October. There is a also a great cafe with a courtyard.
Founded by St Comgall in 558AD. The Ambrosian Library in Milan houses the Abbey’s most celebrated literary work, Bangor Antiphonary -a collection of hymns, prayers and poems . The churchyard has many notable old and interesting gravestones.
Pickie Fun Park
Families can enjoy a mini steam train ride, giant pedal swans and an 18-hole pirate themed mini golf course. A great place to sit and watch the kids play while enjoying views over Bangor Marina and Belfast Lough.
You will pass The McKee Clock and Sunken Gardens on a stroll here, admiring the yachts in our Blue Flag Marina. Popular spot for events and festivals.
North Down Museum
Travel from the Bronze Age to the present day through a series of rooms. The museum has enthusiastic staff and there are exhibits to delight all ages.
The Clandeboye Estate
Gardening enthusiasts can enjoy a tour of the estate’s gardens. In 2007 Lady Dufferin, who owns the Estate successfully launched Clandeboye yoghurt, a delicious Greek style yoghurt which we often serve at Princetown Guesthouse.
Aurora Leisure Complex
Northern Ireland’s only 50 metre swimming pool and fab facilities makes this an ideal wet-weather destination. Gym buddies will enjoy the superbly equipped gym.
Crawfordsburn Country Park
You can walk here from the guesthouse in less than one hour (10 mins by car) along the coastal path. It has two sandy beaches, lush forest scenery and views across Belfast Lough. We highly recommend a drink in the 16th century Olde Inn in Crawfordsburn. Ask us for more info about its history and insider info on nearby walks.
7 miles from Bangor is the old port town of Donaghadee with fantastic pubs and pretty views. We recommend joining the Chunky Dunkers for a dip in the sea, or tasting the local delicacy “dulse” (our salty seaweed snack), eaten straight from the bag.
Scrabo Tower is 15 mins by car. It was erected in 1857 to honour Charles William Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, and recent owners had a tearoom there until 1966 despite there being no running water! Ask us about the walks you can do there.
Ulster Folk Park
One of our favourite places to visit. Experience what life was like in Northern Ireland centuries before. Many of the buildings are authentic and the design of the museum brings history alive.
Ulster Transport Museum
Home to one of the most comprehensive transport collections in Europe. Wander around massive steam trains, trams, vintage cars, stop at the train station cafe inside the museum, see the Delorean car and take in the Titanic exhibits.
This tranquil scenic village has a picturesque harbour and two fishermans’ cottages open in summer. You can drive there in 10 mins or walk along the coast past the beach at Ballyholme.
Somme Heritage Centre
This museum focuses on Ireland’s role in the 1st World War with special reference to the cross-community involvement in the 3 local volunteer army Divisions. The passionate and knowledgeable tour guides bring the visitor back in time to 1910 where they follow the story of a country boy from hearing about the war, to recruitment and training, before experiencing life in the reconstructed trenches of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. After, take a walk in the nearby Whitespots Country Park and discover some of the old lead mines.
This grand old mansion has stunning gardens. We recommend visiting the nearby village of Greyabbey the same day.
Explore the Cistercian abbey ruins (founded 1193) and monks’ herb garden. Then have a scone at Harrisons which is a family-run country cafe/restaurant that we particularly enjoy.
Portaferry & Strangford
These quaint villages are worth a visit. Take the 10 min ferry ride across Strangford Lough for only £1 each way as a foot passenger.
We are only 30 mins from Belfast by car, but you can leave the car with us and take convenient public transport (40 mins by train).
Free, informative and interesting exhibition. Also free daily guided tours with excellent guides. Nice cafe too.
Politcial murals and the “peace” wall. I can show you exactly on the map when you arrive, as well as a few more interesting spots.
The crown saloon bar
Opulent Victorian Gin Palace with ornate carvings and booths. Apparently wood carvers who worked on the Titanic worked here in the evening.
Queens university, Botanic gardens and the Ulster Museum
All free and well worth a visit.
St George’s Market
Food and craft with lots of free samples! Popular spot with visitors and locals alike. Live music, great coffee and atmosphere.
From Princetown Guesthouse we also run MovingOn Courses: an English language immersion course for adults. As part of the course we take our learners on daily sightseeing study-trips so we know the Ards Penninsula, Belfast and North Coast areas well. We have been to the Giant’s Causeway over 100 times! We would be delighted to offer some tips and ideas to help you plan your trip while you stay with us.
We can help with route planning, directions and parking tips.
Ideas for short and long walks, jogging routes and swim spots.
Interested in castles, grand houses, music, great scenery? We would love to share with you our favourites.
Our many award-winning restaurants and atmospheric pubs could mean you want to eat and drink all day