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Located on the Rhin’s west coast, Portpatrick is a stunning old port that was once used as the departure point to Northern Ireland.

These days it’s better known as a relaxing, peaceful holiday destination. If you’re looking to get away from it all, this could be the perfect place to head to. Below you’ll discover everything you need to know about this picturesque location and the numerous activities available in the area.

 

About the area

Due to its location, visitors to Portpatrick will get to witness extraordinary views across to the North Irish coast. It is set within a dramatic cliff backdrop which makes the area perfect for walkers. The historic crescent shaped harbour still remains a dominant focal point of the village.

The village is actually a great starting point for the impressive 212 mile coastal route. Ending up at Cockburnspath, most people will find the entire route to be a little too much. However, you can start from Portpatrick and simply walk part of the route before heading back. There’s public transportation available if you don’t fancy the walk back. It’s worth looking into the full route to see exactly where buses are available.

The village is extremely close to Dunskey Castle. While all that remains are ruins, it’s still a great attraction to head to. With its mild temperature, it’s not uncommon to find sub-tropical plants and trees in the area.

When and where to go

As with any part of the UK, it’s always better to visit Portpatrick in the summer months. Its coastal location makes it ideal for sun worshippers who prefer a quieter location. However, it is still a beautiful place to head to all year round. In September, you’ll get to experience the Folk Festival. This three day event celebrates everything to do with folk music and is quite a fun event to experience.

If you do head to the village in summer, Life Boat week is another event you might be interested in. Taking place from Sunday 27th July, each day there are different activities to take part in. On the opening Sunday, the Loch Ryan Pipe Band will be performing, along with an Open Air Service and a Rib Raid. On Tuesday July 29th, there will be Ladies Golf, a family bingo night and a children’s treasure hunt. As you can see, there’s fun activities fr all the family at this event.

Activities and attractions

Portpatrick is a great place for nature lovers and walkers. It’s also great for those who love to explore the history of an area. Dunskey Castle and Gardens are two of the best attractions in the area. The castle benefits from a dramatic cliff-top location. While all that remains are ruins, you’ll get a stunning view over the North Irish coast. Originally it was known as Adair Castle. However, after being destroyed by the McCullochs of Cardoness and Myrton, all that’s left of the original castle is the defensive ditch. If you do choose to visit this attraction, be aware that you won’t be able to gain access into the interior. It’s also advised that you stay on the path as you walk up to the castle. It’s quite a steep incline so care should be taken.

The Dunskey Gardens have been recently renovated and they are best visited in spring. This is when the woodland gardens really come to life. There’s a wide selection of wild flowers including bluebells and rhododendrons on display. If you plan on visiting in the autumn months then you’ll get to see all kinds of exotic flowers in glasshouses too. So no matter what time of year you visit, there’s always a beautiful display of flowers to enjoy. If you’re travelling with the kids, they’ll also love the hedge maze. This is said to be the first hedge maze to be planted within south-west Scotland. You can also take back a souvenir from your trip as there’s a shop there selling various plants.

Take a walk on the Stanraer 19th century harbour and see the original pier in all its glory. It’s actually still used by a number of fishing boats and leisure boats.

The Old Church is another beautiful attraction not to be missed. This church is actually thought to have medieval roots. It’s the circular tower that’s thought to date back to medieval times, though the St Andrews Kirk was said to be built a little later in the 16thcentury. There’s a theory that the circular tower was once used as a lighthouse, though no official records of this have been found.

Agnew Park is an excellent attraction for families. Not only are you treated to beautiful outdoor spaces, you’ll also discover a great choice of activities. Canoes, pedalos, boats and skiffs are all available to hire. There’s also a miniature railway, an 18 hole putting green, a mini car racing circuit and a play island. There are hours of fun for you and the kids.

Food and accommodation

While you’re in the area, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the range of food on offer. From mouth-watering seafood restaurants to hearty local delights served up in pubs; there’s something to suit all tastes and budgets. The Ferhill Hotel and Knockinaam Lodge are two of the best places to eat out in Portpatrick.

Accommodation wise, there’s a great choice of self-catering options and luxury hotels available. If you’re on a budget, hiring a campervan and staying at one of the local campsites such as the Castle Bay Holiday and Residential Park are a great option.