The historic village of HILLSBOROUGH, just a mile off the main A1 road and twelve miles southwest of Belfast, merits a quick detour. Its main street has a chintzy, Middle English ambience, reinforced by a sprinkling of tearooms and antique shops. You get the best of Hillsborough by following a route that starts from the war memorial (where regular Ulsterbus services from Newry and Belfast stop) and heads up the magnificent approach to the eighteenth-century Gothic parish church. Bear right here for the main entrance to Hillsborough’s elegant but ruined fort, constructed by Colonel Arthur Hill (after whom the village is named) in 1650 and remodelled in the eighteenth century as a venue for family feasts and entertainment. Beyond this, a deciduous forest opens up, curving around a lake stocked with brown and rainbow trout. Footpaths meander through the trees in all directions – a circuit of the lake takes around an hour.

 

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