In a hot summer, there’s no better place than a UK beach – but even in more typical weather these shores offer walks and wildlife, picnics and rockpools
A network of paths and boardwalks crisscrosses this 6,000-year-old dune system leading on to expansive sand flats and the shingle beach. The unusually high dunes are nearly four miles long and lie across the head of Dundrum Bay, with views of the Mourne mountains in the near distance. There is plenty of room here to hunker down among the marram grass, open a flask and, in summer, watch butterflies and moths (more than 620 species) and look for lizards. Common and grey seals are also frequent visitors.
Stay Portaferry Hotel (doubles from £80 B&B, family room from £120) at the head of Strangford Lough is a half-hour drive and a short ferry journey away.