Day 3 on the Anthem of the Seas, and we have a port of call! I never imagined when we left the Anthem of the Seas in October 2019 that our next cruise port of call would be Belfast. Also, I never imagined that Belfast was a “tropical paradise” a short ferry ride away from our home. Today we explored the beautiful Ards Peninsula.
“Tropical Paradise” is not something that usually comes to mind when you describe Belfast. However, today was not a typical day in Belfast. In fact, it was a record-breaking day with the highest temperatures ever recorded in Northern Ireland. Belfast has never been on my radar as a must-visit destination, but the warm weather certainly helped change this perception. Both the city and the associated coast appeared stunning, and from today’s brief visit, I intend to return in the future. Today, you could easily have imagined you were in the Caribbean rather than part of the United Kingdom.
The Ards Peninsula
Before I booked this excursion, I had never heard of the Ards Peninsula. The Ards Peninsula was conquered by the Normans in the 12th century, who built several priorities and castles in the area. The Ards Peninsula is located in County Down and consists of miles of stunning coastline. The Irish Sea and Strangford Lough surround the area. There are several towns and villages situated on the peninsula.
Our first stop was at Grey Abbey. Located in the village of Greyabbey are the 12th-century ruins. Grey Abbey is a former Cistercian priory. Although it was a short visit, you could easily spend several hours exploring the ruins on a glorious day.
Next up was a visit to Donaghadee. We parked up at the harbor and had a short walk along this peaceful area, including a lighthouse built in 1836. We stopped at an obligatory local pub to drink Irish Coffee and taste the delicious local bread.
Unlike regular cruise stops, there was no hard sell of souvenirs. This was lucky for Grandma, who has joined us on this leg of our staycation, highlighted her lack of knowledge over the parts of the United Kingdom. Grandma, armed with stacks of Euros, was surprised to hear that they didn’t accept them in Northern Ireland.
Back on the ship, we visited Wonderland for dinner. We have discussed Wonderland and its imaginative cuisine on previous cruises. The experience was similar to previously, and the food was perhaps slightly better prepared. However, like elsewhere on the ship, there are no paper menus.
We are currently on our Tour of the United Kingdom 2021 Staycation. To read more of our adventures, click here.