Top attractions in Newcastle County Down
Slieve Donard is the perfect location for exploring the very best of Newcastle and the surrounding areas. With many top tourist attractions just a short walk from the Hotel, including the world-famous Mourne Mountains and Tollymore Forest Park.
Here are some of the top attractions near the hotel.
The Mourne Mountains are the highest and most dramatic mountain range in Northern Ireland, its summit crowned by granite tors. In the centre of the Mournes is Northern Ireland's highest mountain peak, Slieve Donard, which rises to an impressive height of 848 metres. Discovering the Mourne Mountains by foot is a must. Dominated by a compact ring of 12 mountains rising above 2000ft or 600m, there are walks to suit everyone.
Tollymore Forest Park
Located five minutes drive from the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa Hotel gates, Tollymore Forest Park offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the sea. Tollymore Forest Park caters to many outdoor activities, including walking, caravanning/camping, horse riding and orienteering. Such activities may also include sporting events or educational visits.
Tollymore Forest was the first state forest park in Northern Ireland. The forest appeared in the first season of Games of Thrones as the lands around Winterfell when Ned Start comes across the orphaned direwolves—the symbol of House Stark—and finds there are as many pups as there are Stark children.
Donard Park is a public park located just a 10-minute walk along the Glen River, which forms the boundary along one side and is at the foot of Slieve Donard, the highest mountain in northern Ireland, part of the Mourne Mountains.
This beautiful park features football, hockey pitches and picnic facilities and is a renowned tourist attraction in Northern Ireland.
Castlewellan Forest Park
Castlewellan Forest Park is located in the nearby town of Castlewellan, just 15 minutes from the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa Hotel.
The forest park’s latest attraction is the Peace Maze, the world's largest permanent hedge maze representing the path to a peaceful future for Northern Ireland. Planted in 2000 with community involvement, it is maturing quickly, and visitors can attempt to find their way to the Peace Bell in the centre of the maze.
Murlough National Nature Reserve
Located a short 10-minute drive from Slieve Donard is Murlough Beach, Ireland's first Nature Reserve. This fragile 6000-year-old sand dune system owned by the National Trust has been managed as Ireland's first Nature reserve since 1967. It is an excellent area from walking and bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains.
Game of Thrones
Must-visit filming locations near Slieve Donard.
Northern Ireland has become a must-visit destination for many Game of Thrones fans. With spectacular scenery, it is easy to see why location scouts chose Northern Ireland. With rugged coastlines, green fields, caves, mountains, forests and cliffs, it is easy to transport yourself into Martin's world - that dark, depressing and dangerous place where the only certainty is that you win or die.
While there are Game of Thrones locations all over Europe, there is an incredible concentration in Northern Ireland. Here are a few of the can't-miss filming locations near the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.
Set beside the River Quoile, with distant views towards the Cathedral town of Downpatrick, sits the remains of a Cistercian Abbey - Inch Abbey - which was founded in 1180 by John de Courcy. This site was used as Rob Stark's Camp, Riverrun in season one of Game of Thrones.
Location: 30-minute drive from Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.
Overlooking Strangford Lough, Castle Ward has been home to the Ward family since the 16th century. The 18th century mansion house rests on a rolling hillside overlooking the Lough and is surrounded by a beautiful 820-acre walled demense with gardens and woodland. Open year-round to the public, Castle Ward has car parking on-site, and guests can enjoy several stunning walks to explore the beautiful estate. The site appeared in Game of Thrones season one as the iconic Winterfell - home of the House Stark.
Location: 35-minute drive from Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.
Audley's Field & Castle - Co. Down
Five minutes from Castle Ward is Audley's Castle, a battlement named after the Norman family who arrived in Northern Ireland around 1210. And it's by this battlement that Robb Stark stashed his army while they prepared to face the Lannisters. Just beside the castle is Audley's Field, where the aftermath of the battle of Oxcross was filmed (the one where Robb meets his future wife Talisa - a meeting that ultimately leads to the infamous Red Wedding).
Location: 40-minute drive from Slieve Donard and Spa.
Marble Arch Caves - Co. Fermanagh
Part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark in Co. Fermanagh is Pollnagollum Cave, featured in season three of Game of Thrones as Beric Dondarrion's hideout in The Riverlands. This amazing cave is fed by a waterfall and is viewed by following the Belmore Forest walk, which leads to a viewing point for the cave.
Location: 2 hours and 20-minute drive from Slieve Donard Resort and Spa.