Cycle Northern Ireland -


This circular route links the tranquil shores of Strangford Lough with the sometimes exhilarating beaches of the Irish Sea with views of the Isle of Man on a clear day.

Nearest TownPortaferry
Distance22 miles miles
OS Map21
Route TypeCoastal, Lakeland, Parkland and Grassland
Route ShapeCircular
Public RoadsOn Public Road
AONBStrangford Lough
Grid Ref (Start)J594510
Grid Ref (End)J594510


The terrain is rated as "medium" and may prove challenging in some sections with a few sections to climb.

Point of Interest

Cloughy, with its expansive beach
Kearney, National Trust village, with pretty whitewashed cottages and houses.
Ballyquintin Point, the most southermost point of the Peninsula

Route Description

Starting in Portaferry town centre, the route follows the shoreline north of Portaferry, turning inland towards Kirkistown and reaching the Irish Sea at Cloughey with its expansive beach. Keeping the sea on your left you will arrive after a short detour at the National Trust village of Kearney with its beautifully preserved collection of white washed cottages and houses. You then continue towards the southernmost point of the peninsula, Ballyquintin Point before returning to Portaferry close to the Narrows where spectacular tidal races can be seen twice a day. The quiet roads on the southern end of the Peninsula are ideal for a carefree cycle with minimum disruption from vehicles, whilst the many sandy beaches are ideal for a picnic by the sea. A regular ferry service (bikes are carried free) links to the village of Strangford on the other side of the Lough.

Getting to the Start

This Portaferry cycling route links into the proposed NCN 99 covering Strangford Lough.

Portaferry can be accessed by public transport from Newtownards, Belfast and other towns. For further timetable information visit Bikes can be hired from Mike the Bike Cycle Hire, 53 Frances Street, Newtownards T: 028 9181 1311. Parking is available in Portaferry town centre where the route begins.

Portaferry is located on the A20 from Newtownards, or via the Strangford Ferry from Downpatrick and the A25. Ferry times are available from

Parking is available in Portaferry at Meeting House Street, The Square and also at Exploris Aquarium. Disabled access spaces are also available.


Whist the roads at the southern end of the Ards Peninsula are generally quiet, attention must be paid to other road users whilst cycling as this route is based on public roads.


Public toilets and refreshment facilities are available in Portaferry and Cloughey. The Warren, located on the Portaferry to Cloughey Road offers picnic table facilities in addition to an impromptu picnic on one of the beaches on the route.

Information for People with a Disability

This route has accessible toilet facilities.

Please contact The Bike Dock, 79-85 Ravenshill Road, Belfast T: 028 9073 0600 or Mike the Bike, 53 Frances Street, Newtownards T: 028 9181 1311 for information on accessible bikes and trikes.

Available Publication

The route trail is only available to download from this website.

Further information on cycling in the Ards Borough is available from Ards Tourist Information Centre T: 028 9182 6846


Please contact Ards Tourist Information Centre T: 028 9182 6846 or E: for further information on cycling routes in the Ards Borough.

This information is provided by Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, The Stableyard, Barnett's Demesne, Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 5PB.

Tel: 028 9030 3930
Fax: 028 9062 6248

Every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of the information. We cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions but where such are brought to our attention, the information will be amended accordingly.