County Down Travel Tips
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Anyone planning a trip to Pickie Family Fun Park should remember to cover the kiddies with plenty of insect repellent. The park attracts large numbers of wasps, particularly around the café area and miniature train station, where the pesky blighters buzz around looking for iced lollies and fizzy drinks. - Carol
Fans of classic books by the Brontė sisters will enjoy a short outing from Castlewellan to Drumballyroney, near Rathfriland. It's here that the girls' father Patrick lived and worked in his youth. Drumballyroney Church and School, where Patrick preached and taught, have been preserved, and include exhibitions about the Brontės. The ruined cottage where Patrick was born in Emdale can be seen too, along with the childhood home of Alice McClory, his mother. All Brontė sites are signposted from Drumballyroney. - Tyra
The road from Comber to Downpatrick via Killyleagh offers one of the most scenic drives in Northern Ireland, passing through miles of grassy, egg-shaped hills called drumlins with lakes nestling in between.
Literature-lovers should drop into the Old Inn to enjoy a drink and to follow in the footsteps of such eminent former customers as Swift, Tennyson, Thackeray, Dickens and Trollope. Author and scholar CS Lewis spent his honeymoon at the inn. - Jerome
If you're visiting the Ards Peninsula with young children, you might well end the day with a trip to Donaghadee. Locals swear by the power of the fresh winds, especially up on the headlands, to guarantee a good night's sleep for everyone. - Frances
A mile out of town along the Strangford Road hides one of the country's many unspoiled beauty spots. The pathway along the River Quoile is scenic and tranquil, and you'll see all kinds of birds and wildfowl. This is a nature reserve with a delightful little Countryside Centre
It's well worth taking a trip to see two spectacular reservoirs hidden away among the Mourne Mountains. The silver waters of Silent Valley and Ben Crom - which supply 30 million gallons of water every day to Belfast and County Down - are surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Mournes. There's easy access via the B27 from Kilkeel, turning right into Head Road after four miles. A shuttle bus operates between the two reservoirs. Ernie
Visitors to the town won't be strangers for long if they head for the Dufferin Arms, a friendly, traditional Irish pub that holds legendary live music sessions at weekends. Players - and audiences - travel from far and wide for the Saturday sessions, starting at around 4pm. - Carol
Spending more than a day in the place where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea? Park as usual in Donard car park, but instead of walking out towards the town, head to the back of the car park and follow the Glen River path up through the forest. Great for views - and, if you're fit, you could end up scaling Slieve Donard, Ulster's highest peak!
If you're out shopping in Newtownards, do pop into Cafolla's in Conway Square for an ice cream. This traditional little café has been serving delicious cones for as long as anyone's grandparents can remember. _ Brian
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