The Best of Newcastle, County Down

Updated On: February 14, 2022

Newcastle, County Down

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

No place is better on a sunny in Northern Ireland, you’ll find locals and tourist flocking to the area. The town has promoted itself as an ‘activity resort’ and has even benefited from a huge million pound development which has helped create an appeal for people to visit. It is also only a short 40-minute drive from the bigger city of Belfast.

Things to do in Newcastle, County Down

Visit the Royal County Down Golf Club

If you’re into golf or just want to check out this impressive golf course that is ranked number three in the world, then take a visit to Royal County Down Golf Club.

The views you will experience while at this golf course are unforgettable. Looks like something you’d find on a postcard, you really have to see it to believe it.

Undeniable, it’s also an amazing course and if you appreciate the sport of golfing you’ll really enjoy the experience.  Royal County Down Golf Course has also hosted some 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 called ‘Murlough’ which is also Ireland’s first nature reserve.  It is a great spot to do some bird watching or to check out the 600 different species of Butterflies found here.

Murlough is a beautiful beach with its sand 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 found in Northern Ireland and the 7th highest in Ireland. It is part of the Mourne Mountains that reaches an incredible hight of 2,790 ft.

When you reach the top of the mountain you’ll meet some speculator views of the surrounding areas. There are two remains of ancient burial cairns on the top, one that is thought to be the highest known passage tomb found in Ireland.

There is also a lot of Irish mythology that surrounds this mountain that’s pretty fascinating. It is thought that the mountain is named after Saint Donard who spent much of his time there. If you feel like a challenge this is definitely one to do. To make it to the top of Slieve Donard it 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 attractions found in Newcastle, County Down is this stunning forest park located 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 take part in a variety of outdoor activities including camping, horse riding and orienteering. The Tollymore National Outdoor Centre is where you can do many of these fun activities.

There is also a brilliant children’s play area 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 just simply enjoy the natural beauty on offer.

Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle
Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle

Castlewellan Forest Park

Located just outside Newcastle County Down you’ll find the impressive Castlewellan Forest Park. At this attractions, you’ll find one of most famous lakes in Northern Ireland, a historic castle and 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 mazes in the world. The Pineapple Garden Maze in Hawaii became the longest maze in 2007. This maze at Castlewellan was created as a symbol for peace in Northern Ireland. The peace maze is pretty incredible and locals took part in planting the 600 yew trees to create it. Definitely worth checking out and seeing if you can escape the maze.

Visiting Castlewellan forest park makes for a great day out exploring and seeing all its great 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 to play all the different arcade games. Whether you are young or old this will bring out your inner child. Best way to spend the day if the weathers not great.

Newcastle Amusements
Newcastle Amusements

Newcastle County Down Restaurants

You won’t be short of finding somewhere great to enjoy some delicious food in Newcastle, the seaside town has lots to offer. Check out our list below of the best restaurants and cafes to check out on your trip.

Villa Vinci

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

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

Brunel’s Restaurant

Next, of the list of great restaurants in Newcastle, County Down is the award-winning restaurant known as ‘Brunel’s.’ Located in the heart of Newcastle you’ll find best of locally sourced food that tastes amazing. The restaurant first opened in 2014 and quickly obtained a great 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 push boundaries and creating exceptional food to their growing customers.


Another brilliant restaurant found in Newcastle, County Down is Vanilla that 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 their footsteps. In 2009 he opened the doors to Vanilla that 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 most well known and popular fine dining restaurant in Newcastle. The restaurant is actually located within the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. The place is named after famous writer and artist ‘Percy French’ who wrote the popular song ‘The Mountains of Mourne’.  Percey French Inn offers a relaxing atmosphere, beautiful views and place you can 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, one everyone can enjoy.

Fans of the popular TV show Game of Thrones will be able to 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.

Newcastle County Down Hotels and Accommodation

If you’re wanting to stay in Newcastle longer than a day we have got you sorted with all the best hotels and accommodation in this seaside town.

Slieve Donard Resort

At the top, we have to mention the stunning place of Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.  It is more than a stay, at this hotel you get a full experience. The location is the amazing, right near the beach and so you get some beautiful sea views.

The hotel itself offers beautiful Victorian architecture and a world renown spa which perfect opportunity for you to relax.  There are over 150 luxurious rooms to choose from and you are in walking distance to one best golf courses in the world. This resort offers a great experience, friendly staff and great 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 that offer unmissable views towards the Mourne Mountains.

Each of the pods come with comfortable seating/bedding area that can hold two adults and two children. Outside the pod, there 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 definitely an experience and we highly recommend it.

But if glamping isn’t your thing then check out Gorse Hill Fram which is a luxurious self-catering accommodation.  The holiday cottages are highly popular 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. Great place to stay for families, couples or groups.

The hotel comes with 16 lovely rooms both with or without ensuites. Also located in this hotel is their own restaurant where guest can enjoy opened planned dining and bar experience.

Newcastle may be a small town but it has lots to offers it visitors with a range of activities, award-winning restaurant, great hotels and unforgettable scenery. If you are planning a trip to Northern Ireland make sure to add Newcastle County Down to the top of your list.

Also if you have been to Newcastle before we would love to hear any experiences you may have!

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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