Crawfordsburn Country Park is a gem in County Down’s crown. One of the most beautiful walks in Northern Ireland, let’s delve into everything you need to know before your visit.
If you are visiting the glorious north, make sure a trip to Crawfordsburn Country Park makes its way onto your agenda.
No matter whether you are visiting in the summer, spring, autumn, or winter, this magical County Down gem has so much to explore, including two pristine beaches, a stunning woodland, an impressive waterfall, and so much more.
Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for visiting Crawfordsburn Country Park:
- The weather in Ireland is unpredictable. Even in the summer, bring a waterproof coat, an umbrella, and a warm jumper.
- There is an ice cream van and coffee shop at the park. While they might take card payments, we recommend you bring some cash just in case.
- Visitors can reach Crawfordsburn Country Park from Belfast or Bangor via the train or by driving directly.
Crawfordsburn Country Park – a beautiful County Down gem
Crawfordsburn Country Park offers something for everyone. The park is home to a beautiful forest and wooded glen, which in turn houses an abundance of wildlife, like badgers, rabbits, and hedgehogs, two excellent beaches, and a stunning waterfall.
The park is located on the road from Bangor to Belfast, or vice versa, and is a popular coastal gem for locals and those visiting the region. It’s a haven for dog walkers all year round.
The beaches available to explore are Helen’s Bay Beach, which we have lots of info on for when to visit, and Crawfordsburn Beach, both popular spots for swimming, picnics, and BBQs in the summer months. However, you’ll find hardy souls braving the cold swims here all year round.
The park is also home to Grey Point Fort, a historic monument that was completed in 1907 to defend Belfast from sea-born attacks. You can see the huge guns from the coast path located west of Helen’s Bay.
Address: 32 Bridge Rd S, Helen’s Bay, Bangor BT19 1JT
Getting there – drive, walk, or catch the train
If you are travelling from Belfast, you will follow the A2 from Belfast to Bangor and will see Crawfordsburn Country Park signposted from the junction at Ballyrobert. From the city centre, it is approximately a 25-minute drive.
Travelling from Bangor to the park will only take ten minutes. For those who like a long and picturesque walk, you can take the 10 km (6.2 miles) Bangor to Crawfordsburn out-and-back coastal walk, a linear walk that traverses mostly hard surface paths.
This takes around two hours of consistent walking. You can also take the train from Belfast Lanyon Place to Crawfordsburn or Helen’s Bay or from the main terminal at Bangor to these same stops.
READ MORE: Top 10 best walks in Northern Ireland, ranked.
Visit info – parking, facilities, & more
There is ample parking at Crawfordsburn Country Park, with several different parking areas as you enter the park.
However, be aware that the park can be very busy on weekends, so don’t be surprised if you have to drive around a little or wait a while for a parking space to become free. There are disabled parking spaces and electric car charging points available, too.
Furthermore, there are modern and clean toilets available at the car park, too, with accessible toilets conveniently located as well.
If you fancy a coffee or a bite to eat while visiting, there is a café, the Woodland Café, located by the main car park that opens daily from 10 am to 4 pm.
Do and see nearby – the best attractions in the area
When visiting Crawfordsburn Country Park, one of the best things to do nearby is visit the town of Holywood.
Holywood, County Down, is an affluent area of Northern Ireland that has some fantastic cafes, restaurants, and shops to explore. If you are a fan of a charity shop bargain, Holywood is a dream come true, and might even be better than Hollywood in the USA!
Joxer is a fantastic spot for coffee or a spot of lunch after your visit to Crawfordsburn Country Park. Furthermore, the Dirty Duck is the place to be for a pint or some pub grub after your visit.
Northern Ireland’s newest city, Bangor, is also just ten minutes away. From the picturesque marina to Bangor Castle and the Walled Garden, Bangor is the perfect place to mosey around for a few hours, with much to see and explore.
The Guillemot Café is a popular spot for locals in Bangor for coffee, lunch, or sweet treats.
Other must-visit attractions in the area include the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, and the many sites and attractions of Belfast City Centre are just a 25-minute drive away.
Where to stay – the best accommodation options in the area
If you fancy staying in the area, one of the best hotels is The Old Inn Crawfordsburn, ideally located in the nearby village of Crawfordsburn itself.
With a wonderful restaurant and a cosy and tranquil spa, this is the perfect base to explore Crawfordsburn Country Park and the surrounding area. This is certainly a more luxurious accommodation option.
Furthermore, another great luxury hotel nearby is the Culloden Hotel & Spa in nearby Holywood. Overlooking Belfast Lough, this five-star hotel is one of the most prestigious and luxurious hotels in Northern Ireland.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option nearby, the Premier Inn in Bangor is a short train or car journey away and has rooms for as little as £35 a night.
Other notable mentions
Crawfordsburn Country Park Visitor Centre: The visitor centre is part of the on-site café at Crawfordsburn Country Park. It is open seven days a week and comes with a natural play area and geology garden, as well as the previously mentioned walking routes.
Fort Road Car Park: You can type this or Crawfordsburn Country Park directly into Google Maps to get directions to the park.
North Down coastal path: Crawfordsburn Country Park is central along the North Down coastal path that stretches from Holywood to Orlock Point in Bangor.
Wide range of wildlife: On top of spectacular scenery, eagle-eyed visitors might spot a wide range of wildlife, including herons, brent geese, guillemots, squirrels, jays, grey wagtails, and even seals.
Your questions answered about Crawfordsburn Country Park
Is Crawfordsburn Country Park Catholic or Protestant?
According to Wikipedia’s most recent statistics, 65.6% of Crawfordsburn residents identify as Protestant, 23.4% as non-religious, and 10.1% as Roman Catholic.
Where to park for Crawfordsburn Country Park?
There is ample parking available on-site at Crawfordsburn Country Park completely free of charge, including disabled parking access and electric car charging points.
Does Crawfordsburn Country Park have toilets?
Yes, there are several toilets available for use at the car park.
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