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Where to go and what to do on a spa break in County Down

Brimming with castles, beaches, forest parks, stately homes, a Royal Palace and golf courses, here are just a few of the many reasons to go on a spa break in County Down.

What to do in County Down

This vibrant county in Northern Ireland has a wealth of attractions for those visiting, whether it's for a couple of days or a longer escape. Here are just a few favourites to give you a little inspiration.

Visit Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Set in over 100 acres of ornamental lawns, peaceful woodlands and picturesque glens, ripe for exploration throughout the year, Hillsborough Castle is a former royal residence that now offers a world of experiences. From strolls in nature to exhibitions and activities for children, it's a combination of history and entertainment for every age, season and mood.

Outdoor adventures in County Down

County Down is not just historically interesting, but naturally beautiful as well. Amongst its assets are a wealth of beaches, from Helen's Bay to Ballyholme and Murlough. Simply visit for a stroll and to take in the view or take a dip if the weather and your skills are up to it.

Go on a distillery tour

Ireland is so often associated with its whiskey tradition, and so it seems fitting to add a distillery tour into your visit. Hinch Distillery offers one such experience. Nestled among the drumlins, not too far from the Mournes, it draws its water from the beautiful Silent Valley, and sources local grain. Get up close with the mashing vessels and fermentation tanks before viewing the copper pot stills and maybe even sample a little.

Explore WWT Castle Espie Wetland Centre

Perfect for families and nature lovers alike, the WWT is a charity that protects wetlands and wildlife, and Castle Espie Wetland Centre is a beautiful place to see it in action. Castle Espie is a wetland reserve managed by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on the banks of Strangford Lough, and here guests of all ages can fall in love with almost the entire world’s population of Brent Geese in the winter months, see native and exotic birds, ducks and geese from around the world, and enjoy beautiful walks as well.

Get out on the water

With so much natural beauty, it seems a shame not to get out and onto the water if the weather allows. Kayaking is a wonderful way to see even more wildlife and to get a different perspective of County Down as well. For example, at Strangford Lough you can go on a guided tour, getting closer to the wildlife, including seal pups and wild geese and exploring crystal-clear water, islands and inlets.

Where to stay on a County Down spa break

Exhibiting classic Irish hospitality and charm, spa hotels in and around County Down each have their own character and appeal, whether you're on a romantic break or a getaway with friends.

The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn

Nestled into the charming village of Crawfordsburn, just 15-minutes from Belfast, The Old Inn is a historic retreat just outside the seaside town of Bangor. Within this haven, the Treetop Spa is a unique find, perched above Crawfordsburn Country Park and enjoying unrivalled forest views.

Book a spa break at The Old Inn

The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat, Templepatrick

With luxury interiors, quirky style and a glamorous bohemian vibe in the spa, The Rabbit Hotel and Retreat is a unique hotel and spa experience just 20 minutes from Belfast. The hotel is all about low key luxury, with easy going style and superb food and drink. Meanwhile, the spa is all about laid-back Balearic vibes complete with a show-stopping Roman bath surrounded by palms, columns, cosy heated loungers and relaxing cabanas.

Book a spa break at The Rabbit Hotel and Retreat

Galgorm, County Antrim

Galgorm is a very special kind of spa hotel that has redefined much of what it means to combine both wellbeing and luxury. Set in 163 acres of lush parkland with the spectacular River Maine flowing through the estate, it's a little bit of magic on the north Antrim coast. The spa itself is described as a thermal village, providing the ultimate in luxury relaxation. Amongst the many exquisite facilities there's a snow cabin and sanarium, as well as the River House for classes, which is raised on stilts with views over the river itself. It's a world of wellbeing all of its own.

Book a spa break at Galgorm

Castleknock Hotel, Dublin

Just 15 minutes from Dublin city centre, but still surrounded by acres of greenery thanks to the surrounding golf course, Castleknock Hotel is the best of both country and city worlds when it comes to a weekend break. The purpose-built spa is a little haven in the midst of the urban buzz, modelled on a London chic style, and all with views of the golf course, lake and surrounding countryside.

Book a spa break at Castleknock Hotel
Book a spa break in County Down

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