Local Area Information and suggestions

Things to do

It is a short walk into the centre of Newcastle.

You can access the beach in front of the house via steps about 50 yds towards the harbour - though do take care over wet rocks at the bottom of the stair.

There are walks in the Donard forest behind/above the house – there are 2 ways in from King Street, left or right from the top of Bath Lane steps. Afterwards you have the choice of tea & buns at Olive Bazaar or a drink in Mackens or the Harbour Inn.

Tollymore (in Bryansford) and Castlewellan (both about a 10 min drive) have very pleasant forest walks - along the river in Tollymore, round the lake in Castlewellan. Castlewellan also has a number of off-road bike trails and you can hire bikes from Life http://www.mountainbikeni.com/providers/life-adventure-centre/hire/ in the old stable block.

There are walks through the sand dunes at Murlough (NT) Nature reserve – by the twelve arches bridge halfway between Newcastle and Dundrum.

Bloody Bridge a few miles down the coast has paths – bouldering is fun if it is dry and there are lots of rock pools when the tide is low.

There is a smart Spa at the Slieve Donard Hotel and Soak Seaweed baths are well recommended. Burrendale Hotel on the Castlewellan Road has a pool and more modest spa.

Golf – you may get a game at RCD though they are usually fairly well booked up with International visitors doing the tour of Ireland's top courses. The best alternative is Ardglass (about 20 miles / 40 mins away) which has nice views back across the bay to the mountains. There is also quite a good parkland course at Kilkeel (12 miles / 20 mins).

Dodgems / Amusement Arcades on the Main St – for children of all ages!

Coco’s (opposite the Tourist Information office in the centre of town) – indoor soft play for younger children

Indoor climbing wall – at the mountaineering centre in Tollymore http://www.tollymore.com/climbing-wall/opening-times/

Horse Riding - Tom and Maggie Newsam organise very enjoyable trail-riding in Tollymore  http://www.mournetrailridingcentre.co.uk/

You can go crabbing at the harbour or organise a boat trip on MV Ketlic Lady www.newcastleboattrips.com

 

Further afield

National Trust – Castleward near Strangford (40mins drive) is a relatively modest ‘Big House’. It has very pleasant walks down by the lough (one of the film venues for Game of Thrones is the old castle). The Portaferry Hotel is quite nice for lunch – it is fun taking the ferry across to it…

Belfast (about an hour’s drive) - The Crown Bar, Titanic museum (worth booking), The Crumlin Road Gaol (Victorian jail just opened as a tourist attraction, again book), the black cab tour of West Belfast (Paddy Campbell’s), City Hall.

Giant's Causeway and the North Antrim coast are a bit further (more like 2 hours) and best done on a clear day.

Pubs

The 3 best pubs in Newcastle are all within walking distance.

Closest is Mackens 150 yards towards the harbour. It has an old Public bar through the left door and a recently renovated Lounge through the right one. There is a courtyard at the back and they occasionally have live music.

O’Hares is back towards town on the left at this end of the Promenade. Quite large with pretty decent pub grub. Usually has an open fire.

The Anchor is about 30 yards off the Main St just beyond O’Hares. It has a traditional Public bar and a quieter, more modern Lounge (which you usually go through the Public bar to get to – door on the left at the far end of the bar). Pool tables out back. Does Pub grub and has a smart restaurant – Brunels – upstairs. 

The Harbour Inn is opposite Mackens and is somewhat more eclectic - though a group of recent guest say it had the best Guinness in town (after an extensive survey!).

Pubs out of Newcastle which are OK for lunches are Maginns (in the centre of Castlewellan) and the Maghera Inn, a village about 3 miles out of town.

Restaurants

In addition to Brunels (highly recommended) mentioned above the only other smart’ish restaurant in Newcastle is Vanilla, half way down the Main St.

The Bucks Head in Dundrum was always the place we went for a celebratory treat when I was young.

Mourne Seafood Restaurant in Dundrum is also good. (You can walk to Dundrum in about 2 hours along the beach and get a cab back if you fancy).

Villa Vincis is a pretty reasonable ‘family’ pizza/Italian – 31 Main St. Great Jones, next to Vanilla, is a New York style restaurant which has opened recently and has been recommended by guests.

There are many take-aways. Our favourite Chinese is ‘Wok’ in the centre of town while the best Indian is opposite the gates of the Slieve Donard Hotel.

You must try Wheaten and Soda bread from the Cookie Jar (a home bakery which has 2 shops on the main street).