While bustling Belfast thrives nearby, the leafy borough of Newtownabbey – just north of the Northern Irish capital – is the perfect place for a quiet getaway. Nestled in the County Antrim countryside, Newtownabbey boasts three beautiful parks and the nearby Belfast Lough which is a designated area of special natural interest. With a selection of flora and fauna as well as a wide variety of birdlife, Newtownabbey is a nature lover’s dream.
However, as Northern Ireland’s fourth largest settlement, the countryside is not all that the district has to offer. The leisure and entertainment centre, as well as areas of historical interest are all centrally located and easily accessible, meaning there is something for everybody and certainly no shortage of things to do.
Culture in NewtownabbeyAt the heart of Newtownabbey’s cultural centre is the Theatre at the Mill. It blends past with present in a contemporary take on what was once the area’s industrial hub. Rescued from demolition in the 1990s, the abandoned 19th century Mossley Flax Mill was redeveloped into the civic and cultural centre that stands here today. A state of the art performance spot, the Theatre at the Mill now provides performances for every taste. Offering an array of theatre shows, comedy, diverse dance and drama, live music and other sparkling entertainment, the area is definitely worth checking out. There is also a museum for those interested in the site’s fascinating early industrial history and its modern day transition from commerce to culture.
History in NewtownabbeyIf the untouched past is more your thing, then the Sentry Hill Historic House and Visitor Centre is a must. Built in 1835, Sentry Hill farmhouse provides a rare glimpse into Ulster’s rural past. Set just north of the centre in the bristling greenery of the Ballycraigy Road, Sentry Hill has gathered a diversity of historical artefacts over the years. Bedecked today, as it would have been in its prime, the farmhouse offers a rare peek into the daily life of rural families living in this area of Northern Ireland during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The great outdoors in NewtownabbeyThe picturesque Sixmilewater River is just a short journey away, so as well as bird watching, or visiting one of the district’s lush parks, why not try your line at fishing? Those new to the sport could also try for some trout at the Mossley Brown Trout Fishery, a stone’s throw from the civic centre.
Or, you could enjoy the countryside with a round of golf. For beginners, Ballyearl Arts & Leisure Centre offers a free nine-hole public golf course. There’s also the Burnfield House Golf Course, with a restaurant offering delectable dishes – for the golfer who works up an appetite!
Visit NewtownabbeyCentrally located, Newtownabbey offers a charming taste of the culture and countryside that Northern Ireland is so well known for. It’s bound to make an impression.