Helens Bay

  • Helens Bay - County Down
    © Eric Jones and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Helens Bay - County Down
    © Eric Jones and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Helens Bay - County Down
    © Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Helens Bay - County Down
    © Rossographer and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Helen’s Bay is a popular sandy beach, next to the village bearing the same name. The village was built in the mid-19th century after the construction of the Belfast and County Down Railway, with aspirations of becoming a luxury holiday resort for visitors from the city. The closest city is Bangor, but it is also close to Belfast, making it very popular with day trippers. 
    The railway station is only about 500 meters from the beach. 

    The sands shelve gently into the sea and the water is very clean, making this a good destination for summer bathing. The beach is considered to be one of the best in the Belfast area but this means it can get quite busy at peak times.

    The local area is a haven for wildlife.  Look out over Belfast Bay, for seals and porpoises which can sometimes be spotted off-shore.  During the summer months, eider ducks and terns can be spotted in the surrounding area.  In winter, wading birds make their home here. 

    The beach is backed by Helen’s Bay Golf Club, and also by Crawfordsburn County Park where visitors can enjoy tranquil footpaths leading through fields and wooded areas. The park boasts a spectacular waterfall. 

    There is a car park along Grey Point, about 100 meters from the beach. There are also public toilets located here. 

    Grey Point Fort, a gun emplacement built in 1904 and improved during the Second World War is close to the beach. The site is home to a small museum.

    Type of beach


    Lifeguard service


    Dogs friendly beach?

    There is a dog ban during the summer months

    County Down dog friendly beaches »


    • Town centre nearby
    • Picnic area

    Nearest town


    OS grid ref.

    NW 5922 3732


    Parking available though there is a charge.

    Water quality

    Water quality star rating


    Marine Conservation Society Recommended

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    Helens Bay Reviews


    Jun 05th 2022

    Lovely beach super busy all year round now that sea swimming is the thing!
    The car park fills up quite early but many people only come down for the swimming so parking frees up. Public toilets are a welcome. No life guard
    at any time of the year. Please be respectful to the residents of Helen’s Bay

    Helen’s Bay

    Jun 20th 2019

    What a beautiful place.We arrived early and left late.A fantastic day plus the added bonus of a lovely suntan.Weve been goingt to Helen’s Bay for years despite living in the UK. Many happy memories dating back to 1981-1984 when I lived in NI. What a beautiful Isle it is and certainly lives up to its name of THE EMERALD ISLE