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9 things to see and do during an escape to the Mournes

Fine food and accommodation in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Mourne mountain range is the perfect place for a rejuvenating short break.

Get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and relax in top accommodation, absorb beautiful scenery and tuck into mouth-watering food.

Here's 9 things to see and do during an escape to the Mournes:

1. Experience true hospitality at the four-star Burrendale Hotel, Country Club and Spa.

Get acquainted with your luxurious suite before using the hotel’s top facilities which include fine dining, relaxing spa treatments and a hair salon.

2. Wrap up warm and go for a stroll through the hotel’s beautifully manicured gardens.

Here you will discover magnificent views of the Mourne Mountains,  CS Lewis’ inspiration for Narnia.

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The Mourne Mountains

3. Venture a little further outdoors and visit the iconic routes through the mountainous terrain with the Mourne Trails and Ales Tour.

Cycle this fully guided tour and sample a select batch of the Mourne Mountains Brewery unique ales.

Learn the rich heritage, myths and legends of the mountain range, all of which provide the inspiration behind the ales. Safety equipment and bicycles are supplied by the tour guide as well as refreshments, a scrumptious lunch hamper and a variety of ales.

4. Once you’ve sampled the unique drinks offering in the area, it’s time to test its culinary contribution.

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The Cuan

For excellent food, with a side of exceptional customer service, head to the picturesque village of Strangford where you will find award-winning restaurant, The Cuan.

Owner and head chef, Peter McErlean creates dishes using fresh ingredients and local produce.

With Ardglass harbour less than 10 minutes away, there is always an exciting choice of fresh fish, especially in the signature seafood chowder.

5. For an entirely unique experience at The Cuan, step into the world of Game of Thrones with The King’s Banquet.

Dress up in Stark cloaks and taste the menu that welcomed King Robert, Queen Cersei, Joffrey and their entourage when he made the visit North to ask Ned Stark to become his ‘King’s Hand’.

6. For more outdoor adventure, immerse yourself in beautiful surroundings in Tollymore Forest Park.

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Tollymore Forest Park

Nature lovers can examine experimental forest plots. You’ll find some exotic trees such as monkey puzzle and eucalyptus and can admire the tall giant Redwoods and Monterey pines.

The park is heavily influenced by individualistic designer, Thomas Wright of Durham (1711-1786), who was a friend of Lord Clanbrassil, owner of Tollymore at that time. It features a barn dressed up to look like a church, stone cones atop gate piers and  gothic-style arches which are well worth seeing.

7. Visit St John’s Point Lighthouse overlooking Dundrum Bay in the coastal town of Killough.

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St John’s Point Lighthouse. (Courtesy of Malcolm McGettigan)

Live the life of a lightkeeper and stay the night in one of two of the beautifully appointed self-catering lightkeepers’ cottages — JP Ketch or JP Sloop.

8. Go for a game at the famous Royal County Down, which has this month retained its title as the World’s Greatest Golf Couse.

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Royal County Down

Golf Digest said: “On a clear spring day, with Dundrum Bay to the east, the Mountains of Mourne to the south and gorse-covered dunes in golden bloom, there is no lovelier place in golf”.

9. With the nearby Kilkeel Harbour’s rich fishing heritage, the Mourne Seafood Bar is able to serve a wide range of culinary wonders its local waters have to offer.

Relax in the informal setting of the small coastal restaurant and enjoy the freshest, locally caught seafood at an affordable price.

Walkers are advised to seek advice before attempting hiking the mountains, to wear suitable clothing and check the weather forecast.

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