Tropical temperatures and sunshine spells are few and far between in Northern Ireland so it’s important to soak it up while you can, and there’s no better way to enjoy our local countryside than with a summer picnic. County Down is home to a variety of outdoor barbecue sites perfect for dining al fresco when that precious summer weather hits.
With so many stunning backdrops to dine outdoors near Dufferin Coaching Inn, we recommend grabbing a picnic hamper and hitting the Great Outdoors to enjoy some dining al fresco whilst visiting. Here’s a round-up of our favourite local BBQ and picnic spots in Killyleagh and surrounding areas where you can relax and enjoy a taste of summer in Northern Ireland.
Delamont Country Park
There’s a lot to see and do at Delamont Country Park. With scenic orienteering trails, an outdoor adventure playground, and even Ireland’s only fresh-air gym, you’ll be sure to work up your appetite for an al fresco feast at the Park’s designated BBQ area. Stop off at Killyleagh favourite Picnic Delicatessen to fill your hamper with delicious, locally produced favourites including pies, sandwiches, quiches, soups, stews, and the perfect sweet treat to end your outdoor lunch on a high.
For summertime vibes, gather a group of friends and set up your own garden party at The Quoile Countryside Centre, Downpatrick. The tranquil freshwater lake is the perfect relaxing outdoor retreat to enjoy a nibble among friends and take in the area’s wildlife sights and sounds including the stunning swans and ducks. After your lunch stroll around the cottage visitor centre and nature garden to get a better idea of the gorgeous wildlife that can be found in Downpatrick.
Serve up your own surf and turf before going for a splash in the waves at Country Down’s most-loved beach. With its excellent condition and local amenities set against the gorgeous view of the Mournes, Murlough Beach is a neighbourhood summer paradise to enjoy sandcastles, sunbathing, and a sizzling barbecue.
If you’re culinarily challenged but still love the idea of open-air eating, Daft Eddys in Killinchy is an islanded restaurant that overlooks Strangford Lough. Choose from a menu of local cuisine and let Daft Eddys’ attentive staff take care of the cooking as you soak up the sunshine.
For a more private outdoor dining experience, have your cookout on Gibbs Island. An evening spent in good company on this hidden gem located just around the corner from Dufferin Coaching Inn can be a great gourmet getaway with its exclusivity and serene backdrop.
So now you know where to go, but not sure what to put in your picnic basket? Here’s our pick of must-pack local Northern Irish food.
Finnebrogue Sausages – A barbecue isn't complete without hot dogs and we love these NI native artisan sausages, with their distinct flavours they can invigorate an old fry-up favourite and are perfect straight off the barbecue and into a bap.
Farmers’ Market Finds – The Comber Farmers’ Market has all the makings of a perfect antipasto platter. Held on the first Thursday of every month, the market sells native gourmet ingredients including bread, cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, that can all be sliced and shared for a fabulous fresh-air fete.
Summertime Tipples – Preparing a sunshine supper table can be thirsty business, so keep a bottle of Shortcross Gin handy for cocktails to keep the chef cool and collected. Buckets of chilled craft beer from Mourne Mountains Brewery are also sure to go down a treat with guests on a warm summer day.