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Ards Visitor Information Centre lies within the town and should be your first stop to visit. The centre will provide you with information on where to stay, local events and where to eat during your visit to the Ards Peninsula and Strangford Lough region.
Situated beside the bus station and within a short walk of the town centre and the main shopping areas, the Centre can provide you with local and national tourist information, accommodation booking service and a photocopying service as well as an extensive range of souvenirs.
Staff can help you plan your day out, short break or holiday in the area and offer information and advice for the next leg of your journey with information on every county in Northern Ireland.
Buy tickets for many local events including Experience Ards and North Down Tours.
Visit the Discovery Hub in Ards Visitor Information Centre to find out more about our lovely local area. With a new display each month highlighting an aspect of the area, from history to wildlife and our maritime links to local arts and crafts, we hope the Discovery Hub will inspire you to explore more in Ards and North Down and around Strangford Lough.
Have a look at some of the great places you can discover on a day out around the area Ards & North Down Itineraries
Newtownards, locally known as ‘Ards’, is a large town that lies at the northern tip of Strangford Lough. The Lough is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, of Special Scientific Interest and Northern Ireland’s first Marine Nature Reserve.
In 1605, Hugh Montgomery was granted the lands around Ards and set about rebuilding what was then known as Newtown. Official records show that the town was established in 1606.
Montgomery built a residence in the ruins of the Old Priory, the tower of which remains. The Priory is currently not open to the public because of ongoing conservation work.
Newtownards became a market town, with the Market House in Conway Square constructed in 1770. The market still operates each Saturday on a weekly basis.
The town of Newtownards is overlooked by Scrabo Tower, which is one of the dominant features of the area. The tower is 41 metres high, and was built in 1857 as a memorial to Charles Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry.
Newtownards located in County Down achieved a place in the prestigious Sustainable Destinations Top 100 awards. In 2019, County Down was selected as the only destination in the UK/Ireland to win a spot in the prestigious Sustainable Destinations Top 100! Not only has the country achieved a place in the top100, but it has also achieved a GOLD Award!
- Free (parking charges may apply)