Bangor is the third largest town in Northern Ireland, after Belfast and Londonderry. It is situated on the southern shores of Belfast Lough and has a population of about 76,000.
Houses overlooking Bangor Marina
Bangor is widely considered the wealthiest town in Northern Ireland. The town was not as badly affected by the "troubles" as most of Northern Ireland, but it was subject to some bombs. The threat has, however, now gone.
The town was the tourism capital of Northern Ireland in the 1960s but lost this reputation. Now, though, many areas are being redeveloped and the town was awarded winner of the Best Kept Town Competition in 2003. The town was voted the most desirable place to live in August 2007.
If you are looking for good weather in Ireland, you are most likely to find it here in Bangor. It enjoys one of the sunniest, driest climates in Ireland. This is due to its shelter from the prevailing south west winds, but it is also sheltered from cold northerlies and easterlies in winter. Winter maximums are about 7°C (45°F) but can reach as high as 13°C (55°F). Average maximums in summer are 20 °C (68 °F) with a record of 30°C (86°F). The lowest recorded temperature is -8°C (18°F). Temperatures above 25°C are usually uncomfortable due to the high humidity. Sea temperatures peak at 15C (59F) in late August, and are coolest in March, at 5C (41F)
In winter, a thick jumper, coat and waterproofs are required. In summer, waterproofs or a light jacket should be packed.
George Best Belfast City Airport is just 15 minutes away, and Belfast International Airport is about 40 minutes from Bangor. Trains on the Portadown / Belfast / Bangor line call at Sydenham (adjacent to Belfast City Airport) every thirty minutes; a single to Bangor costs £3.60.
The town has excellent rail links to Belfast, with services departing from the combined bus and train station every thirty minutes to Belfast, Newry and Portadown.
The centre of town can be explored by foot, however there is an excellent bus service operated by Translink to all parts of the town. Taxis can also be found waiting beside the train station, at the top of Main Street.
- Bangor Marina, Quays Street - Ireland's largest marina, it forms the centrepiece of this seaside town. In the summer it his home to many sailing events and offers short boat trips into Belfast Lough. From late June to late September, there is an excellent funfair beside the McKee Clock.
- Bangor Castle. Across the road from the train station is Bangor Castle, a 19th Century mansion which currently serves as the town hall. The picturesque grounds lead on to Castle Park. The Castle is also home to The North Down Heritage Centre, which features displays of local history and culture.Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am - 4.30pm,Sundays 2.00 - 4.30pm. Free admission.
- Bangor Abbey. Abbey Street The original site was founded by St Comgall, and the town of Bangor originally grew from the monastery as a centre of education in the medieval world, until its destruction at the hands of the Vikings. Parts of the present church building on the site are several centuries old.
- Pickie Fun ParkMarine Gardens, Bangor - A great day out with the kids in the summer, Pickie Fun Park is home to the Pickie Puffer miniature railway, adventure playgrounds, a paddling pool, and the unofficial symbol of Bangor - the pedal Swans.
The famous swans at Pickie
- Coastal Path Walk - Offering spectacular views across Belfast Lough, this path stretches around Bangor's coastline to the nearby village of Helens Bay and Crawfordsburn Country Park. Easy to find beyond Pickie and the Marina.
There are 3 shopping centres in the town - the recently refurbished Flagship Centre, which is in the town centre on Main Street; the Bloomfield Centre in Bangor South, which has also recently been refurbished; and the recently rebuilt Springhill Shopping Centre in Bangor West.
There are also many other shops in the town centre, including souvenir shops.
Many stores have closed down since early 2012 and the town can be quite dead during the week. Most of remaining stores are bargain '£1' shops and cafes.
- Robinson Goldsmiths (Robinson Goldsmiths), 38, Prospect Road, Bangor, County Down, BT20 5DF, ☎ 028 9127 0766, . Tu-Fr 10:00-17:00 Sa 10:00-16:00. Award winning jewellers working with platinum, gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones. Makers of bespoke handmade jewellery. Also stocks jewellery by designers from across the UK, Ireland and Europe. Jeweller services include commissions, alterations and repairs. (54.6630,-5.6636) edit
There are a wide range of places to eat in Bangor, ranging from small local chip shops along the seafront to pubs and restaurants.
- Coyles . Pub and bistro, one of the few pubs in Northern Ireland listed in the Michelin guide.
- Wolsey's Bar, . Hearty pub grub in a lively bar.
- Phezulu,  South African-influenced fusion cuisine.
- Fifty Two,  Recently opened upscale bistro on High Street.
- The Salty Dog, Hotel and restaurant along the coast. Cuisine a fusion of traditional Irish and modern.
Something there is no lack of in Bangor is a place to drink. Bangor has more than a dozen pubs and three night clubs in the town centre, most of which are clustered around the bottom of High Street.
- Donegans, 37-39 High Street. A lively pub in central Bangor with an expansive beer garden out in the back. Gets quite full and rowdy at weekends. 5 nights a week there is a live band or karaoke. Pints from £3.
- Jenny Watts,  41 High Street. Bangor's oldest pub, established 1780. Downstairs is traditional décor and occasionally live music inside, with a small beer garden to the rear. Upstairs is a modern lounge with a dance floor and cocktails.
- Fealty's 35 High Street. Home to arguably the best pint of Guinness outside Dublin, this quiet corner pub is fiercely traditional, and full of hospitable regulars. The interior is small, but that's just part of its charm. Be prepared for a tight squeeze on match days.
- Jamaica Inn 188 Seacliff Road. A brisk walk around the coast brings you to the Jamaica Inn, an isolated establishment compared to Bangor's other bars, it is located beside the famous Bangor Yacht Club and across the road from the sea. Great sea views, excellent food and fantastic atmosphere. Is always packed on Christmas Eve.
- Cafe Ceol 17-21 High Street. The faux-Japanese style decorated exterior dominates lower High Street, and on weekends crowds of the towns youth queue up the street to get in. As Bangor's largest nightclub it is usually the focus of a night out in the town. Actually three venues in one, inside there is the VIP room 'Sumo Lounge' and MINT, a large dance venue upstairs with regular weekend events such as guest DJs. Monday is the infamous half price wine night. Entry charge varies.
- Betty Blacks13-15 High Street A smaller and more chilled out alternative to Cafe, it is located next door. Popular with a slightly older crowd. Good cocktails.
- Mocha Small bar and club tucked away in an alley behind High Street, Mocha is part of the Marine Court Hotel. Free entry before 10pm, £3 after.
Bangor is famous for its B&Bs along the coast. These offer good value accommodation, with many of the rooms having sea views. There are also larger hotels such as:
- Marine Court Hotel, . This hotel is missing crucial information, like address, phone number and price range edit
- Bangor Bay Inn, . This hotel is missing crucial information, like address, phone number and price range edit
- Culloden Hotel, Bangor Road, Hollywood (in Cultra, 10 minutes from Bangor), ☎ 02890421066, . one of the few 5 star hotels in Northern Ireland. This hotel is missing crucial information, like address, phone number and price range edit
- Clandeboye Lodge. 4 star hotel just outside the town. This hotel is missing crucial information, like address, phone number and price range edit
- Rayanne House, 60 demesne road,holywood, down, ☎ 028 9042 5859, . Guesthouse and Restaurant 60-135. edit
Crime in Bangor is low, but antisocial behaviour can be a problem on weekend evenings in some areas such as outside the nightclubs.
Also, avoid the marina after the bars close unless you are in a large group as drunken teenagers can be quite violent.
Take sensible precautions and enjoy the hospitality of the locals.
Belfast is located just 15-20 minutes away. It is easy to get here by train. Down the Ards Peninsula, the beautiful gardens and house of Mount Stewart can be found, which are well worth a visit.