1 The RopeWalk, Castle St, Portaferry, Newtownards BT22 1NZ
Are you ready for an underwater adventure? A sunken galleon, friendly sharks and a snappy crocodile, all star in Northern Ireland’s only Aquarium and Seal Sanctuary. NEW TO EXPLORIS... Penguin Island / Turtle Cove / New Otter Enclosure / Selection of Ducks / Percy's Pitstop.
Exploris is home of Northern Ireland's only Seal Sanctuary where you can experience the rescuing and rehabilitation of seals rescued from Strangford Lough and the Northern Ireland Coastline.
Located 100m from the Hotel
Night at The Aquarium
See the underwater world from a different perspective with an evening at Northern Ireland’s only aquarium.
Starting off with a tour of Exploris with one of our Aquarium Experts followed by a 3-course meal in the Kraken Bar & Grill.
As well as thousands of fish from around the world, you’ll get to see the Black Tip Reef Shark and the resident Caiman, Gizmo. New from 2021 you will see what our New Penguins get up to after hours.
Night at the Aquarium is now booked as time slots. This is the time your tour will start. You can then dine as long as you want an enjoy a few Drinks after dinner.
Tickets are non-refundable and Non-transferable, and please be aware that if you are late, you will miss the guided tour, but can still explore the Aquarium on your own.
62 Gransha Rd, Kircubbin, Newtownards BT22 1AJ, UK
The Echlinville Distillery in Newtownards is Ireland’s first farm distillery. We craft our spirits from the ground up, on land we have farmed for generations. Every drop is trickle pot distilled to perfection from barley sown, grown, harvested and malted by hand on our family farm.
Our barley crops are nurtured by the unique micro-climate of the Ards Peninsula. The area’s unique topography, temperate climate, rich soil and saline air have long been credited with making this place one of the finest grain growing regions in Ireland. Where better then to build Ireland’s first field to glass distillery.
Our premium whiskey, gin and poitín are distilled from barley that we malt the old fashioned way on the distillery malting floor. Every grain is repeatedly dampened, dried and turned by hand and shovel in the way our whiskey forefathers would have done. It’s hard work and it takes time, but we believe in doing things the right way rather than the easy way.
The heart of whiskey may be grain and oak, but the soul of any spirit is its connection to the place where it is made. We are proud of our roots in the Ards Peninsula and proud to be one of the first new whiskey distilleries in Ireland. That pride of place is the essence of everything we do.
Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7BU
Strangford Lough Ferry
The Strangford Lough Ferry links the beautiful Ards Peninsula to the scenic Lecale Peninsula and the villages of Strangford and Portaferry, crossing a stretch of water known as the "Narrows", where 350 million cubic metres of sea water surge in and out of Strangford Lough with each tide.
With a journey time of around 10 minutes, the ferry crossing can save a 50 mile drive around the Lough and is an exciting experience for young and old as you take in the stunning scenery of this Marine Nature Reserve and try to spot seals, seabirds and jellyfish as the tide rushes past.
Portaferry is home to Exploris, Northern Ireland’s only Aquarium, the Portico of Ards, a former Presbyterian church and now an arts and cultural centre, and many buildings of architectural interest dating from its time as a thriving port and shipbuilding town in the 19th century.
Strangford, is a pretty village with many fine 19th century houses overlooking the harbour. Nearby Castle Ward, an intriguing mansion house built in 1760 in two distinct architectural styles, Classical and Gothic, is a National Trust property and both the house and the surrounding parklands are open to the public.
It is also Game of Thrones® Territory, with the stable yard at Castle Ward, Quintin Bay and Audley’s Castle all featuring in the HBO series. Two of the local pubs, Fiddler’s Green in Portaferry and The Cuan in Strangford, have beautifully carved doors featuring scenes from the series and made from storm-felled trees at the Dark Hedges, so call in and get your Door of Thrones passport stamped.
The ferry runs at 30 minutes intervals throughout the day, every day, apart from Christmas Day.
Ferry times can be found on Strangford Ferry Website.