Ballywalter Beach

Ballywalter Beach

Ballywalter Beach June 2013 On a grey day in June we had the all too familiar experience of swimming alone in Ballywalter. The sea was choppy but the water was very refreshing. Just what we needed to clear out the cobwebs. Ballywalter is a nice stretch of beach, situated on the coastal A2 route which runs up to Bangor. There was a gradual wade in and when the tide is low there is plenty of beach for families to play. A childrens playground is located behind the beach along with a green area suitable for picnics. There are also toilets. The smallish car park has steps down to a stone path which leads to the beach. If you walk back toward the beach on the main footpath there is access to a stony path which will provide wheelchair access.  View Larger Map Directions: From Portaferry take the A2 signposted for Donaghadee. Just as you come into Ballywalter watch for the beach car park on your right.   [...]

Cranfield Beach

Cranfield Beach

Cranfield Beach June 2013 Cranfield is a popular holiday location with a couple of large caravan parks overlooking the beach. We visited on a good summer's day and, while the beach was busy, there was still enough room for everyone, especially if you were prepared to walk for 5 minutes to a quiet location. The water was clear and fresh, mainly sandy underfoot with just a few stones here and there. The water was calm and we had a good swim, made even better by the view of the Mourne mountains behind us. Equally, there were plenty of parents and children playing at the water's edge. The tide was on its way out during our visit and some rock pools were being revealed and children with buckets had started to explore. In one location there is a ramped access to the beach suitable for wheelchairs and buggies; otherwise a few small steps will get you there. Beside the beach there is a childrens playground and there are also some grassy areas suitable for picnics. There are toilets and a lifeguard station behind the beach - check locally for lifeguard times as none was there when we visited. We had to park about a 5 minute walk away as parking near to the beach is very limited. Cranfield is a Blue Flag beach.  View Larger Map Directions: From Newry take the A2 toward Kilkeel and Newcastle. After Rostrevor but before you come to Kilkeel you will see a right turn signposted for Cranfield. Follow this road and it will take you to the beach   [...]

Crawfordsburn Beach

Crawfordsburn Beach

Crawfordsburn Beach June 2013 The beach at Crawfordsburn is nicely located in the impressive surroundings of Crawfordsburn Forest park. It is nicely sheltered by the woods at either end and when we visited we had a lovely swim in the calm, fresh water. It was sandy underfoot with a gradual wade in which makes it good for children. However, do heed the warning sign at the entrance which is there for a reason. The beach itself is quite small and when the tide is in it gets very narrow. There are some rocks at one end which must provide some extra shelter. This is a very nice place to visit, with large green areas behind the beach for picnics and plenty of forest trails for walking. The whole park is very well maintained, with ample car parking and decent toilets. The beach is accessible for buggies and wheelchairs. Blue Flag beach.  View Larger Map Directions: Crawfordsburn takes an effort to find, so beware. From the centre of Bangor town you need to find your way onto the B20 signposted Crawfordsburn. Drive straight through the village and you will then come to a right turn signposted for the country park. About 1 -2 kilometres down this road you will see the entrance for the country park on your right. (There is no sign for the beach). When you get to the car park go as far as you can so you are parked near to the beach.   [...]

Murlough Beach

Murlough Beach

Murlough Beach June 2013 Murlough is another of County Down's long, sandy beaches. This one must be at least 3 kilometres long, so if you are into beach walking this is the place for you. When we were there the tide was in and the beach almost completely covered. With a breeze blowing the water was wavy and wasn't great for swimming. However, you do have great views of the Mournes as a backdrop. If you prefer to jump waves you will like Murlough, but do be careful. Also take notice of the warning signs at the entrances - they are there for a reason. If you are visiting with children check the tides so that you have some beach for them to play. If needs be you will find shelter in the dunes and along the various paths that run from the car parking areas to the beach Lifeguards are on duty in the summer months, but weren't there when we visited. Check locally for details. Blue Flag beach.  View Larger Map Directions: From Newcastle take the A2 signposted Belfast. After 1-2 Miles you will see the beach car park signposted on your right hand side. The whole area is run by the National Trust and parking costs #3.50, with a short walk to the beach. A few hundred yards further on there is a free car park on your left. From here, however, you have a ten minute walk to the beach   [...]

Tyrella Beach

Tyrella Beach

Tyrella Beach June 2013 Tyrella is a long and open expanse of beach - good for long walks but be prepared to swim in wavy water. The water here is fresh, clear and sandy under foot. When we visited there was a stiff breeze and the swimming was more riding the waves than anything else. Given that this is a good place to bring children who will enjoy jumping and splashing, but do watch those waves. There is some shelter in the dunes at the back of the beach and from the car park you can pick up various paths leading you to sheltered grassy areas which are good for picnics. If you stick to the beach you would be well advised to bring a windbreak. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer but weren't there when we visited - check locally for details. There are toilets beyond the lifeguard station, again closed, but presumably open in July/August. Tyrella has a reasonably sized car park (with a charge of £4.00 for a car in July / August) which has access to the beach for buggies and wheelchairs. Blue Flag beach  View Larger Map Directions: From Newcastle take the A2 toward Belfast. Just as you enter the village of Clough you will see a right turn onto the A2 signposted Tyrella. Continue on this road until you come to the Tyrella car park on your right hand side   [...]

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