Newcastle, with its lovely stretch of sandy beach, is the biggest seaside resort in County Down – packed with trippers from Belfast on bank holidays and summer weekends – and, with Slieve Donard rising behind the town, it’s by far the best base if you want to do any serious walking or climbing in the Mourne Mountains. On busy days the main drag, with raucous rock bands performing outside the pubs, can feel like nothing more than a soulless strip of amusement arcades, fast-food outlets and tacky souvenir stores, but the town’s more sedate qualities can be appreciated when the trippers have gone.

 

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