1 July 2021

A guide to living in Newtownards


Are you planning a move to Newtownards? have created a guide to living in Newtownards which showcases the best that this town has to offer.

Living in Newtownards

As the largest town in the Ards Borough, Newtownards has experienced a period of rapid growth in recent years, which is epitomised by its bustling city centre and an array of new residential developments.

Offering the peace and quiet of a semi-rural town, perfectly balanced with an abundance of amenities and attractions, Newtownards is regarded as one of the prime places to live in Northern Ireland. Its close proximity to Belfast means it is perfect for the daily commuter who prefers the solace of a quieter setting for residency. Many attractive homes enjoy the appeal of unrivalled idyllic seaside or rolling countryside views.

The town centre is a hive of activity, where a warm welcome is the order of the day. Independent retailers line the town’s Main Street, while Ards Shopping Centre houses familiar names such as TK Maxx, Argento and Boots. Eateries are plentiful with a variety of palettes catered for. From Asian cuisine to modern dishes and stylish wine bars, the needs of locals are effortlessly met.

Or, if you’d prefer to take things at a slower pace, the area boasts spectacular beauty, ready for exploring. Mount Stewart, a National Trust Park resides just outside the centre, with legendary walks aplenty, perfect for the keen rambler. But it’s during the infamous Festival of Lights when the park truly comes to life, delighting visitors, year after year.

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Who is Newtownards ideal for?

Residents with a wide range of backgrounds make Newtownards their base. Its welcoming atmosphere and selection of good schools make it a popular choice with families, while its closeness to Belfast affords them the chance to enjoy flourishing careers and social lives, for the perfect work-life balance.

Plus, those living in Newtownards can enjoy the stunning landscapes and it is this scenery which makes the area a prime retirement spot. New build apartments also see young professionals flock to the area.

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Where to eat in Newtownards?

  • Molly Brown’s Kitchen & Bar: Pub and eatery Molly Brown’s is a firm favourite with locals. Its famous Black Rock Grill Steaks give you the chance to cook your own on hot stones, for a night like no other.
  • Tuk Tuk Asian Bistro: Traditional, intimate and delicate tastes offer an authentic Asian dining experience at Tuk Tuk, to ensure it deserves the title of a true hidden gem.
  • Romas: An extensive menu of locally produced fish and steak with a twist of Georgian grandeur, Romas’ place in The Taste of Ulster Guide isn’t surprising.
  • Cloud 9: With a location at the rear of the Ulster Flying Club, Cloud 9 is a venue with a difference. With rave reviews online, diners can expect classic breakfast and lunch dishes, sweet treats and hot beverages.
  • Bob & Berts: New kid on the block, Bob & Berts is already proving a hit with locals. The franchise began in Northern Ireland and this venue follows its ethos of quality coffee and fresh food with a local community-focused approach.
  • Knotts Café & Bakery: Walk along High Street and the smell of freshly baked goods fills the air. Loved by locals and visitors alike, a trip to Knotts Café & Bakery allows you to indulge in the ultimate gourmet experience.
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What to do in Newtownards?

  • Mount Stewart: The neo-classical National Trust property is credited as having one of the top ten gardens in the world. Located on the shores of Strangford Lough, explore the landscaped grounds and marvel at its true beauty.
  • Scrabo Tower: Dominating the landscape of Newtownards, the nineteenth-century lookout tower is one of Northern Ireland’s most widely recognised landmarks. The climb to the top rewards the individual with spectacular views, while the exhibition inside uncovers its history.
  • Somme Museum: Guided tours at the award-winning museum replays Ireland’s role in the First World War, particularly the recruiting and training of men and life in the trenches.
  • Ark Open Farm: Home to over two hundred animals, the family-favourite farm also boasts a duck pond, nature trails and pony rides, ensuring visitors return time and time again.
  • The Echlinville Distillery: Take a tour of Northern Ireland’s first licenced distillery to gain a real insight into its workings. Afternoon tea and gin tasting are also offered for a day with a difference.
  • Kiltonga Nature Reserve: Residing half a mile outside Newtownards, Kiltonga Nature Reserve boasts a walkway around the lakes, allowing for closer inspection of the multitude of wildlife which inhabits the area.
  • Ards Arts Centre: Promoting arts within the community, the hub of creativity provides a much-loved collection of classes, workshops, exhibitions and live performances, housed in the restored Georgian Town Hall.
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Schools in Newtownards

  • Movilla High School: Movilla High School encourages their students to develop into confident, articulate, considerate and aspirational young adults both inside the classroom and through extra curricular activities. These activities include the Duke of Edinburgh, cookery, art and a range of sports.
  • Regent House: First established in 1878, Regent House is a co-educational, non-denominational controlled Grammar school. The school provides a wide range of sports and extracurricular activities to support its curriculum and offers pupils an excellent learning experience inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Glastry College: Glastry College has served the Ards peninsula since 1957 and now provides to over 600 pupils from all backgrounds and of all abilities. The school places emphasis on academic achievement and personal development. They also offer a range of traditional and vocational subjects to ready pupils for life outside the classroom.
  • Strangford College: Strangford College is one of the peninsula’s youngest schools and was established in 1997, gaining maintained status in 1999. The school provides integrated education and offers a rich curriculum which is supported by after-school groups to encourage learning outside the classroom.
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