The Best of Newcastle, County Down

Newcastle, County Down

Updated On: April 07, 2024 by   Shaimaa OlwanShaimaa Olwan

Newcastle in County Down is a lovely small seaside town between the Slieve Donard Mountains and the Irish Sea. It is a great place to visit, with fantastic beaches, beautiful views, ice cream, amusements and more. Perfect for a family fun day out.

No place in Northern Ireland is better on a sunny day when locals and tourists flock there. The town has promoted itself as an ‘activity resort’ and has even benefited from a substantial million-pound development, which has helped create an appeal for people to visit. It is also only a 40-minute drive from the bigger city of Belfast.

Newcastle | Newcastle Northern Ireland | County Down | Northern Ireland | Things To Do in Newcastle

Things to do in Newcastle, County Down

Visit the Royal County Down Golf Club

If you’re into golf or want to check out this impressive golf course ranked number three globally, visit Royal County Down Golf Club.

The views you will experience while at this golf course are unforgettable. It looks like something you’d find on a postcard; you must see it to believe it.

Undeniably, it’s also a fantastic course; if you appreciate golfing, you’ll enjoy the experience.  Royal County Down Golf Course has also hosted great golfing competitions, including the Irish Open and the Walker. This two 18-hole linked championship course is one of the best points of interest when it comes to Newcastle.

Head to the Beach

Newcastle has some of the best beaches in Northern Ireland; whether you are visiting in the summer or autumn, a trip to the beach is a must. One of the most popular beaches here is ‘Murlough’, Ireland’s first nature reserve.  It is a great spot to do bird watching or check out the 600 species of Butterflies found here.

Murlough is a beautiful beach with dunes and picturesque views of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains. You can explore all the different dunes here through paths and boardwalks. Or just take some time to relax on the beach, as the sun is about to set.

Newcastle Beach
Newcastle Beach

Slieve Donard

Located near Newcastle County Down, you will find the highest mountain in Northern Ireland and the 7th highest in Ireland. It is part of the Mourne Mountains, reaching an incredible height of 2,790 ft.

When you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll see some spectacular views of the surrounding areas. There are two remains of ancient burial cairns on the top, one of which is considered the oldest-known passage tomb in Ireland.

There is also a lot of Irish mythology surrounding this mountain, which is fascinating. The mountain is thought to be named after Saint Donard, who spent much of his time there. If you feel like a challenge, this is one to do. Making it to the top of Slieve Donard should take you around 2 and a half hours.  What awaits you at the summit makes it all worth it.

Tollymore Forest Park

Another popular attraction in Newcastle, County Down, is this stunning forest park at the foot of the Mourne Mountains. Tollymore Forest Park covers around 630 arches of dreamy walks and beautiful views surrounding you. It was the first-ever state park created in Northern Ireland back in 1955.

It is the perfect place to participate in various outdoor activities, including camping, horse riding and orienteering. The Tollymore National Outdoor Centre is where you can do many fun activities.

A brilliant children’s play area is designed for four to eleven, where they can run about and enjoy the wooden play space. The Forest is a great place to relax and simply enjoy the natural beauty.

Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle
Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle

Castlewellan Forest Park

The impressive Castlewellan Forest Park is located just outside Newcastle County Down. At this attraction, you’ll find one of the most famous lakes in Northern Ireland, a historic castle, a peace maze and more. The forest park is stunningly full of great walking trails with some of the best panoramic views.

The peace maze found here is the second-longest permanent hedge maze in the world. The Pineapple Garden Maze in Hawaii became the longest maze in 2007. This maze at Castlewellan was created as a symbol of peace in Northern Ireland. The peace maze is pretty incredible, and locals took part in planting the 600-yew trees to create it. It’s worth checking out and seeing if you can escape the maze.

Visiting Castlewellan Forest Park makes for a great day to explore and see all its features and attractions.

Grab Some Ice Cream

A trip to Newcastle would not be complete without enjoying some delicious ice cream, and there is an endless list of places to try. Walking along the promenade, you’ll find a variety of ice cream parlours, a perfect way to end the day spent in Newcastle.

Also, why not hit the amusements for a few hours and have fun playing all the different arcade games? Whether young or old, this will bring out your inner child. It’s the best way to spend the day if the weather is not great.

Newcastle Amusements
Newcastle Amusements

Newcastle County Down Restaurants

You won’t be short of finding somewhere great to enjoy delicious food in Newcastle; the seaside town offers lots. Check out our list below of your trip’s best restaurants and cafes.

Villa Vinci

Looking for fantastic food by the sea? You can’t go wrong with Villa Vinci in Newcastle. This is a well-established restaurant known for creating great-tasting food with brilliant service.

Located on Main Street, they provide a friendly welcome in their vibrant restaurant. At this restaurant, you will find a selection of seafood, steaks, and pizza dishes that are so good you’ll be planning another visit before you leave.

Brunel’s Restaurant

The award-winning ‘ Brunel’s ‘ is next to the list of great restaurants in Newcastle, County Down.’ Located in Newcastle’s heart, you’ll find the best locally sourced food that tastes amazing. The restaurant opened in 2014 and quickly acquired an excellent reputation for its food and service.

Due to the success of this restaurant, they opened another restaurant in 2017. Head chef Paul Cunningham and co-director Fiona Davey continue to keep pushing boundaries and create exceptional food to their growing customers.


Another brilliant restaurant found in Newcastle, County Down, is Vanilla, which was created by local chef Darren Ireland. The idea of this restaurant came after he watched his dad and grandfather become great chefs; this inspired him to follow in their footsteps. In 2009, he opened the doors to Vanilla, which has gone from success to success since.

It is the number one recommended restaurant on Tripadvisor for Newcastle and County Down. Dishes found here were inspired by his time spent in Australia with an interest in fusion cooking. The food is unique and full of flavour. This is one of the places you need to try while in Newcastle.

Percy French Inn

Next is one of the most well-known and popular fine-dining restaurants in Newcastle. The restaurant is located within the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. The place is named after famous writer and artist ‘Percy French’ who wrote the famous song ‘The Mountains of Mourne’.  Percey French Inn offers a relaxing atmosphere, beautiful views and a place to enjoy great food and drink with friends and family. You’ll not be disappointed with the food as they pride themselves on creating an exciting menu everyone can enjoy.

Fans of the popular TV show Game of Thrones can check out one of the 10 Doors of Thrones found here. These doors depict different scenes and characters from the show that fans will appreciate.

Things to See in Newcastle | Newcastle Northern Ireland | Newcastle | County Down

Newcastle County Down Hotels and Accommodation

If you want to stay in Newcastle for longer than a day, we have sorted you with all the best hotels and accommodation in this seaside town.

Slieve Donard Resort

At the top, we must mention the stunning place of Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.  It is more than a stay; at this hotel, you get a complete experience. The location is near the beach, so you get beautiful sea views.

The hotel offers beautiful Victorian architecture and a world-renowned spa, which is the perfect opportunity for you to relax.  There are over 150 luxurious rooms to choose from, and you are within walking distance of one of the best golf courses in the world. This resort offers a great experience, friendly staff and excellent service.

Gorse Hill Glamping

If you’re looking to try something different and unique, then when not, get together with your friends for some fun glamping. At the Gorse Hill Glamping site, you can stay in three unique pods offering unmissable views of the Mourne Mountains.

Each pod has a comfortable seating/bedding area holding two adults and two children. Outside the pod are picnic tables and a fire bowl for you to use at your leisure. Glamper all have access to a shared kitchen with all your kitchen essentials. It may not be fancy, but it is an experience, and we highly recommend it.

But if glamping isn’t your thing, check out Gorse Hill Fram, a luxurious self-catering accommodation.  The holiday cottages are highly popular and located in the heart of the Mourne Mountains.

Avoca Hotel

Next, we have the gorgeous seafront hotel that overlooks the Newcastle promenade. The hotel is in the perfect location where you can easily walk to all the nearby attractions. It is an excellent place for families, couples, and groups to stay.

The hotel comes with 16 lovely rooms, both with or without ensuites. Also located in this hotel is their restaurant, which allows guests to enjoy open-planned dining and bar experiences.

Newcastle may be a small town, but it has lots to offer its visitors, including various activities, award-winning restaurants, great hotels, and unforgettable scenery. If you plan a trip to Northern Ireland, add Newcastle County Down to the top of your list.

Also, if you have been to Newcastle before, we would love to hear about your experiences!

Check out related places and attractions around Northern Ireland that might interest you: The Amazing Giants Causeway| The Glens of Antrim| Game of Thrones Locations Around Northern Ireland| A Road Trip Around Northern Ireland| Waterford Ireland’s Oldest Town

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