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Sail across the Vikings fjord

Discover two hidden gems of the Mourne Coastal Route uniquely connected by Europe's oldest ferry service. Beginning in Strangford we go on to explore the rich heritage of Portaferry. 

The Walk

Meeting under the shadow of Strangford Castle will give some indication of the importance of this sleepy village. Home to Baron de Ros this place boasts an impressive Viking and maritime heritage. We then set sail on the ferry. Since 1180 a ferry has been in operation on the Lough making it one of the oldest in the world. 

Once ashore in Portaferry we will then begin to count all of the castles we can see. Seven in total including one used for filming Game of Thrones! The town has a facinating social history being, as it is, virtually cut off from the rest of County Down. These include fascinating buildings including Ireland's oldest Methodist and Presbyterian churches.

Finishing at Portaferry Castle you are told about the turbulent centuries that followed the Reformation. How did a relic of Saint Patrick come to be at home in Portaferry in the 1800s? Who were the Savage's that lived here for 800 years? Having helped to develop the heritage trails you will also discover the buildings and places not included.

The Experience

As well as the ferry trip you get the opportunity to hear the organ play at Portico. You can even pull out all the stops yourself and have a go at playing if you like! A donation to the upkeep of the Arts and Heritage Centre is included on your behalf

Further Information

  • The walk is about 2 miles and circular, returning to the start point.

  • The route will use a mix of footpaths and paved streets.

  • The tour lasts 2 hours.

  • Ferry journeys are included in the price.

The Meeting Point

Lower Green (Beside ferry terminal)


BT30 7ND

There is a mix of on street car parking and surface car parking available in both Strangford and Portaferry. Please be aware of any restrictions before leaving your vehicle. Regular Ulsterbus services operate to Strangford from Downpatrick Bus Centre and to Portaferry from both Belfast and Newtownards. Ferry leaves from Portaferry every half hour subject to weather conditions.

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