Get outdoors for some fresh air this summer and discover some of the beauty that Ards and North Down has to offer through a selection of walking tours and experiences!
Ards and North Down Borough Council is working with local providers to help you treat your mind, body and soul. There are 13 different walking tours on offer, including a brand new ‘Waggy Tail’ dog friendly tour of Scrabo Hill in July, plus nature trails for kids, and a host of experiences that include paddleboarding, yoga and much more!
The walking tours start with the Groomsport Evening Bird Watching and Nature Trail (14 June) with fascinating bird expert, Dot Blakely, who will teach you all about the natural habitat of the birds and animals while you enjoy a stroll along the coastline.
The Bangor Castle Walled Garden Tour (16 June & 7 July) is always a popular option, with tour guide Dylan Freeburn offering an insight into the beautiful garden’s history as well as the vast array of plants, fruits and vegetables which are grown there.
Those who want to learn more about our local history can select a variety of guided historical tours in Newtownards (4 July), Portaferry (25 July), Donaghadee (1 Aug), Kearney (15 Aug) or Bangor (24 Aug).
You can find out how some of history’s most notable civilisations shaped Newtownards, learn about Portaferry’s maritime heritage, celebrate Donaghadee Harbour’s 200th birthday with a visit to the harbour and lifeboat station, discover the fascinating historical fishing village of Kearney, and learn why Bangor was once known as the ‘Vale of Angels’.
Taking place throughout the summer months, there is a selection of nature trail tours for kids in Bangor, Groomsport and Portaferry, where they can learn about mini beasts, birds and other animals. (All children must be accompanied by an adult; no ticket necessary for adults.)
If you want to treat you pet pooch to something different, the new Waggy Tail Walk and Picnic (31 July) offers a dog friendly tour of Scrabo Hill. Every dog will receive a bandana, and owners can enjoy a delicious picnic box as they take in the scenic view at the top of Scrabo Hill.
A host of unique experiences are available from May through to September. There is something to suit everyone, from paddleboarding to yoga experiences, Viking adventures and wetland wellness, canoe and cake, and even an opportunity to join an expert gardening team in Castle Espie where you can learn how to ‘grow your own’ and take care of your garden in an environmentally friendly way.
Demand is high and a number of experiences are already sold out. However, limited tickets are still available for May’s Dawn SUP and Island Yoga Experience (30 May), where you will paddleboard across the waters of Strangford Lough to an island, enjoy a yoga experience, and treat yourself to a light breakfast before returning to shore.
In June, you can enjoy a kayaking experience on Strangford Lough with Paddle the Port (18 June), or Grow and Graze (24 June) at Castle Espie with an expert gardening team. If you like paddling and singing, then SUP-aoke (25 June) will provide a fun paddleboard session from Bangor Marina to a floating platform in Belfast Lough where you can climb aboard, sing a song and enjoy the craic!
All providers will operate the experiences with COVID-19 measures in line with current government guidance.
For more information, including the full list of experiences, ticket prices and booking, go to visitardsandnorthdown.com.