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Clarence Park - Top Park Near Belfast

Newtownabbey’s Nature Getaways: Top 10 Parks & Retreats Near Belfast (2024)

Nestled on the outskirts of Belfast, Newtownabbey stands as a testament to the seamless blending of urban and natural landscapes. While the town itself boasts a lively atmosphere and rich history, its proximity to nature gives it a unique edge that beckons nature lovers and peace seekers alike. From serene parks to wild reserves, Newtownabbey offers a slew of green getaways that let you breathe a sigh of fresh air.

Top 10 Parks & Retreats in Newtownabbey

Here, we embark on a journey to discover the Newtownabbey’s top Parks & Retreats.

1. The Valley Park

The Lungs of Newtownabbey

Situated in the heart of Newtownabbey, The Valley Park offers 200 acres of parklands, woodlands, and lakes. It’s the perfect spot for leisurely strolls, picnics, or even a bit of bird-watching. Children can revel in the play areas while adults can try their hand at angling in the fishing lake. The Valley Park exemplifies community, nature, and recreation at its best.

2. Cave Hill Country Park

Historical Elevations

With panoramic views of Belfast Lough, Cave Hill is a beacon for hikers and history enthusiasts. Dubbed the “Napoleon’s Nose” due to its distinct shape resembling a sleeping giant, this park is a blend of natural beauty and historical importance. Here, one can find archaeological remains dating back to the Iron Age. The adventurous can hike up to McArt’s Fort on the summit, the very place where Wolfe Tone is said to have pondered a rebellion.

3. Jordanstown Loughshore Park

Coastal Calm

Located along the shores of Belfast Lough, this park is a coastal retreat ideal for families. With a caravan park, children’s play area, and stunning coastal pathways, it offers a mix of relaxation and entertainment. Whether you’re a fan of water sports or prefer basking in the sun, Jordanstown Loughshore Park is a rejuvenating coastal escape.

4. Carnmoney Hill

The High Ground of Biodiversity

Rising above Newtownabbey’s urban sprawl, Carnmoney Hill is a haven for native plants, animals, and birds. Managed by the Woodland Trust, it’s an ideal spot for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and those simply looking to lose themselves in tranquillity. The hill offers panoramic views of Belfast, the Lagan Valley, and even the Mourne Mountains on a clear day.

5. Monkstown Wood

A Secluded Woodland Gem

If the sound of rustling leaves and birdsong appeals to you, Monkstown Wood is the place to be. A semi-natural woodland, it’s home to a range of habitats and a rich biodiversity. The designated pathways are perfect for walks and provide an opportunity to witness the local flora and fauna up close.

6. Glengormley Country Park:

This park is located in the heart of Glengormley and is home to a variety of habitats, including woodland, grassland, and wetland. There are also a number of walking trails, a playground, and a café.

7. Clarence Park:

This park is located in the town center of Newtownabbey and is home to a lake, a bandstand, and a playground. It is a popular spot for families and dog walkers.

8. Murray’s Glen:

This glen is located in the Glengormley Hills and is a popular spot for hiking and nature walks. There are also a number of waterfalls and cascades to admire.

9. Greenisland Country Park:

This park is located in Greenisland and is home to a variety of habitats, including woodland, grassland, and wetland. There are also a number of walking trails, a playground, and a picnic area.

10. Ballyclare Forest Park:

This park is located in Ballyclare and is home to a variety of trees, including oak, pine, and birch. There are also a number of walking trails, a playground, and a picnic area.

These are just a few of the many green spaces and natural retreats that can be found in Newtownabbey. No matter what your interests are, you are sure to find a park or garden that you will enjoy. So get out and explore the great outdoors!

Here are some additional things to keep in mind when visiting Newtownabbey’s green spaces:

  • Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Bring water and snacks with you, especially if you are planning on spending a long time in the park.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against ticks and other pests.
  • Leave no trace of your visit.
  • Always respect the local ecosystem by not littering.
  • If you’re keen on bird-watching, mornings at Valley Park are particularly rewarding.
  • For hiking enthusiasts, Cave Hill offers both beginner and advanced trails.
  • Always check the local guidelines and weather conditions before heading out for a hike or any water activities.


Newtownabbey’s outskirts are a treasure trove for those seeking solace in nature. From the historical heights of Cave Hill to the serene lakesides of Valley Park, each spot offers a unique experience. So, next time you find yourself in Newtownabbey, step out and breathe in the natural wonders that surround this urban gem.

Experience the vibrant urbanity of Newtownabbey and juxtapose it with its calming green escapes for a trip that rejuvenates both body and soul.

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