County Down

Photo of County Down

About County Down

Hugging Northern Ireland’s north-eastern edge, County Down offers beautiful landscapes — from the Mountains of Mourne to windswept Strangford Lough — as well as captivating historic towns to discover. With everything from simple B&Bs to elegant luxury hotels, accommodation options are wide ranging and fit for a whole host of budgets. Our pick of the best places to stay in County Down includes some wonderful ivy-clad country houses, stylish contemporary hideaways and laid-back guesthouses, all nestled amidst the region’s striking natural beauty.

Boasting some lovely, lively towns, pretty villages, great golf courses and miles of paths for coastal rambles and hilly hikes, County Down is a wonderful base for a relaxed couples’ escape, a fun getaway with friends, or an outdoorsy family holiday. For a seaside stay, try Bangor, where there are great gastro-pubs, a thriving marina, fantastic beaches and cultural attractions to admire — including the North Down Heritage Centre and Bangor Abbey. Pretty Holywood is also an attractive base on the shore of Belfast Lough, and the town’s annual jazz and blues festival is a real highlight.

Golfers can enjoy a round at the Royal County Down Golf Club, in a picturesque location near Newcastle, whilst walkers can explore the dramatic Mourne Mountains, crowned with granite peaks and criss-crossed with countless trails and offering the best hiking in Northern Ireland. Head to Tollymore Forest Park for walking and birdwatching. The Park’s Shimna River is also a popular sea trout and salmon fishing spot. Nature lovers will adore the Castlewellan Forest Park, too, which includes Northern Ireland’s national Arboretum, as well as the impressive Castlewellan Castle, a Scottish baronial-style edifice.

Strangford Lough, the largest inlet in the British Isles, is spectacularly atmospheric, with a wealth of archaeological evidence establishing the presence of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, Vikings and Normans in this fascinating wild landscape. See light-bellied brent geese flocking from Arctic Canada, learn about the region’s kelp industry, spot Irish Hares and stroll through meadows of wildflowers on day-long visits, or stay near Portaferry to soak up even more of what the area has to offer.

From hiking to golf, top-notch cuisine to ancient history, there’s stacks to see and do in County Down. Many of our favourite hideaways will happily point you in the right direction for great fishing, cycling and horse riding — all fun with friends or as a family. Whether you choose to spend your days clambering up granite hills or unwinding at the spa, the best places to stay in County Down promise a warm welcome in enchanting surroundings.

The Best Places to Stay in County Down

For Families

  • Tyrella House is a grand eighteenth century property with three elegant Georgian bedrooms, mature gardens, a private beach and a polo ground. Stay here for riding and polo lessons, as well as marvellous old-world charm and a friendly family feel. Book the Family Suite if you're travelling with little ones, who can safely swim in the sea.
  • Clandeboye Lodge offers chic rooms with Scandi-style furnishings and luxurious bathrooms in a pretty setting near Bangor. The Coq & Bull is a lively eatery focusing on homegrown and local produce and there are stacks of activities for everyone in the area — from golf to interactive museums, beach fun to rural walks. The spacious family suite sleeps four people and the vibe is wonderfully inviting.

For Foodies

  • Portaferry Hotel is a charming waterfront hotel with views over the Strangford Lough. Old-fashioned rooms are comfortable and cosy, whilst the award-winning restaurant is the big sell. Mouth-watering dishes are crafted from the finest local ingredients — this is one for foodies who appreciate a friendly atmosphere and a beautiful view.
  • The Old Inn's 2AA Rosette restaurant prides itself on innovative dishes using superb seasonal produce, the rooms are traditional and atmospheric, and the appealing rural location is set close to both Belfast City Airport and the sea. A romantic foodie choice for those looking to soak up the feel of an original 1614 coaching inn. Don’t miss a cracking afternoon tea by the fire!

For Luxury

  • Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is one of Northern Ireland’s best known hotels, nestled between the Mountains of Mourne and the sea. Rooms are stylish and contemporary, The Royal County Down Golf Course is right on the doorstep and the state-of-the-art spa features striking sea views. Unwind with restorative therapies in one of 16 treatment rooms. One for golfers and spa lovers.
  • Belmont House Hotel is a gorgeous Georgian property with eight elegant rooms, carefully refurbished to offer an appealingly luxurious stay near Banbridge. Set in nine acres of gardens, the ivy-clad house is a popular wedding venue, and the onsite restaurant serves fantastic food. A soothing, romantic hideaway.

For a B&B

  • Nutgrove House is a beautiful B&B in a house dating back to the 1830s and boasting views of the Mourne Mountains. The two rooms are characterful and cosy, and there’s a cute Shepherd’s Hut in the garden — perfect for a quirky stay! With extensive gardens, tennis and croquet, this is an enchanting couples’ or family retreat.
  • Cherryhill Lodge is a comfortable B&B with three contemporary bedrooms. Stay here for the proximity to Newcastle, Tollymore Forest Park and the Royal County Down Golf Club. One for golfers and walkers.
  • Ballymote House offers a peaceful rural escape, with four traditional rooms, a relaxed feel and delicious big breakfasts. There’s lots to do in the area — from rambles to golf, horse riding to fishing, or simply chilling out in the large gardens.
  • Cairn Bay Lodge is a lovely, laid-back B&B overlooking the coast in the beautiful town of Bangor. Think traditional wooden beds, bright artwork and sea views from some of the bedrooms. Family-run and relaxed, this is the ideal base for walking, cycling and cosy evenings in nearby pubs.
  • Baytree Boutique B&B promises two very pretty rooms in a renovated farm building, just a couple of miles from Hillsborough. Pick this place for its chic decor, great breakfasts and wonderful location, with lots of scenic walking trails and golf in the area. You can also take over the whole property if travelling as a group.
  • Peartree Hill is a charming B&B with three modern rooms, perfectly poised for exploring both Belfast and the County Down coastline. Choose this guesthouse for its intimate feel and generous breakfasts.

For an apartment or cottage

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.


  • Fly to George Best Belfast City Airport, just three miles from Belfast city centre, or hop aboard a ferry to Belfast from one of several ports in Scotland or England. The highlights of County Down are easily accessible by road or rail from Belfast, which borders County Down.
  • This is a beautiful region to explore by road. Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Time your trip between May and September for long days and slightly warmer temperatures, with daily averages peaking around 16°C. July and August are the warmest months and the most popular time to visit, so book your stay well in advance!



Monthly Weather in County Down

Best Hotels in County Down

  • Peartree Hill Belfast, County Down 3 rooms from £75

    Local exploring  -  A great base from which to explore both Belfast and the surrounding countryside.
    Owner managed
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the world famous Harland and Wolff Cranes - Samson and Goliath.
    Great walks  -  Go for a walk around Strangford Lough.
    ParkingNo pets

    With sprawling views out over the County Down landscape, the Peartree Hill is a charming spot. Featuring lovely rooms and excellent breakfasts, the B&B is within striking distance of both Belfast and the beautiful County Down coastline. See More

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  • Cherryhill Lodge Newcastle, County Down 3 rooms from £85

    Local exploring  -  A good base from which to explore south County Down's coastline.
    Great walks  -  The surrounding area is great for walking.
    Sights nearby  -  Pay a visit to Dundrum Castle.
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    GardenParkingNo pets

    Overlooking Tollymore Forest Park, Cherryhill Lodge is a delightful B&B just outside Newcastle. Featuring smart rooms and lovely views, it's proximity to Royal County Down Golf Club makes it a great base for golfers. See More

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  • Portaferry Hotel Portaferry, County Down 14 rooms from £90

    Value chic  -  Excellently priced with a great location
    Foodies  -  Award-winning restaurant
    Cooking classes  -  with David Bamber, the hotel's Executive Chef
    Kayaking  -  Strangford Lough Canoe Trail
    RestaurantDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    An excellent and unpretentious waterfront hotel overlooking Strangford Lough. Cosy, elegant interiors behind its 18th century facade. Fantastic food in the award-winning restaurant and cookery masterclasses with the executive chef. Utterly charming and great for groups. See More

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  • Ballymote House Downpatrick, County Down 4 rooms from £100

    Country Escape  -  A great spot for a countryside escape in County Down.
    Fishing  -  Fishing trips, whether sea or fly, can be organised by the hotel.
    Great walks  -  The surrounding countryside is full of lovely walking routes.
    Sights nearby  -  Take a trip to nearby Down Cathedral.

    Quiet and charming, Ballymote House is perfect for those looking for a peaceful getaway in County Down. Awash with heritage and character, the house offers lovely rooms, beautiful gardens and a host of activities such as horse riding. See More

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  • The Old Inn Crawfordsburn, County Down 33 rooms from £100

    Total relaxation  -  A charming and indulgent inn set in a tiny hamlet with superb food and glorious walks.
    Great walks  -  Just five minutes from Helen's Bay and the start of a deservedly popular coastal walk all the way to Bangor.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
    RestaurantGardenDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    An utterly charming inn set in a quiet hamlet just outside Belfast. Elegant and characterful throughout expect enormous fireplaces, chandeliers, heavy four poster beds and rich hues. Opt for a historic suite to feel like you've stepped back in time. The exemplary restaurant tops this fabulous hotel. See More

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  • Cairn Bay Lodge Bangor (County Down) 8 rooms from £104

    Total relaxation  -  A quiet coastal guesthouse complete with spa and beauty salon.
    Sailing  -  Take a boat trip to unique island bird sanctuaries.
    Full of character
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    A quaint guesthouse overlooking the coast in the beautiful town of Bangor. Traditionally styled rooms feature elegant dark wooden furniture, patterned wallpaper and spacious bathrooms. A cosy, fire lit lounge offers the perfect respite after a day spent on the coast. See More

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  • Belmont House Hotel Banbridge, County Down 9 rooms from £105

    Local exploring  -  A great spot for those looking to explore Banbridge and the surrounding countryside.
    Sights nearby  -  Pay a visit to the nearby Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Colman.
    Great walks  -  The surrounding countryside is full of lovely walking routes.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    RestaurantGardenParkingNo pets

    Ivy-fronted and impressive, Belmont House Hotel immediately stands out. Its class on the outside is replicated on the inside with elegant rooms, a stylish bar and superb restaurant. A lovely, stylish and relaxing place to stay. See More

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  • Slieve Donard Resort & Spa Newcastle, County Down 172 rooms from £110

    Total relaxation  -  Whether a few rounds on the golf course or treatments in the spa - there is something for everyone here
    Romantic Break  -  Spoil yourself and a loved one
    Weddings  -  A popular wedding location
    Birdwatching  -  Murlough National Nature Reserve
    SpaRestaurantSwimming PoolDisabled accessParkingNo pets

    One of Northern Ireland's best known hotels set between the mountains of Morne and the sea. State of the art spa and pool complex, stylish contemporary rooms, and extensive conference facilities on the doorstep of the Royal County Down Golf Course. A great spot for avid golfers. See More

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  • Nutgrove House Downpatrick, County Down 2 rooms from £110

    Great walks  -  The surrounding area is full of lovely walking routes.
    Tennis  -  Enjoy a game of tennis on the house's court.
    Sights nearby  -  Pay a visit to the nearby Down Cathedral.
    Full of character

    Resplendent in 19th century opulence, Nutgrove House is a delightful guesthouse. The period furnishings and classical artwork give the place a distinct character with the house's beautifully landscaped gardens adding to the ambience. Try the Shepherds Hut for something a little different. See More

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  • Clandeboye Lodge Bangor 43 rooms from £115

    Golf  -  This area is renowned for its courses with many just a short drive away and the Blackwood Golf Centre right next door
    Country Escape  -  With chic design, beautiful surrounding countryside, and fine cuisine, this is a luxurious rural break
    Active Holiday  -  There are a plethora of outdoor pursuits in the area with something to suit everyone
    Restaurant  -  Coq and Bull serves delicious brasserie style dishes using the best local, seasonal produce
    RestaurantGardenParkingNo pets

    A luxury rural hotel set in the Northern Ireland's rugged and picturesque countryside. Chic rooms are perfectly styled with geometric wallpaper, luxury bathrooms, and Scandinavian inspired furniture. Seasonal produce is used in the restaurant and there is a superb wine list. Country chic. See More

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  • Baytree Boutique B&B Hillsborough 2 rooms from £115

    Great walks  -  The surrounding landscape is full of beautiful walking routes.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit nearby Malone House.
    GardenParkingNo pets

    Set in a beautifully renovated farm building, the Baytree Boutique B&B is a delightful place to stay in Country Down. Elegant and intimate, the rooms feature crisp monochrome decor and comfortable furniture. Start your day with a superb breakfast. See More

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  • Tyrella House Tyrella, County Down 3 rooms from £120

    Active Holiday  -  Golf, polo, walks and excellent riding trails on your doorstep
    Country Escape  -  Enveloped by some of Ireland's best emerald countryside
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the many local National Trust houses and gardens.
    Fishing  -  Trout fishing can be arranged locally

    Relaxed private country house in a beautiful coastal setting with its own private beach, polo ground and glorious wooded parkland. Three classical bedrooms with original Georgian features and elegant furniture. A wonderful B&B country escape for those who like to enjoy country activities. See More

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  • One Shore Street Donaghadee, County Down 5 rooms from £192

    Active Holiday  -  Whether you want to wild swim, kayak, hike, or bike — this is a place to get outside and enjoy the outdoors
    Romantic Break  -  Luxurious accommodations some with huge copper tubs, plus sea views and a grown up atmosphere
    Sights nearby  -  Explore Mourne, stunning landscapes that were the inspiration behind Narnia
    Great walks  -  Hike along the scenic St Patrick's Trail or on the coastal trail
    Pet friendlyParking

    A chic boutique B&B located right on the coast in Donaghadee. Five beautifully styled rooms boast pale wooden floors, vast Georgian sash windows, steel blue hues, and simple scandi-chic furniture. Each has wonderful sea views. A grown-up stay, ideal for local exploring. See More

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