New Heritage Trail celebrates rich history of Newtownards Road

EastSide Tourism (part of EastSide Partnership) has launched a self-guided trail celebrating the rich cultural, industrial, social, religious and political heritage of the Newtownards Road. The Newtownards Road Heritage Trail will take visitors, from home and afar, on a journey revealing the sites and stories that make up this iconic area of east Belfast.

Funded by the Urban Villages Initiative and the National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of the Department for Communities, The Newtownards Road Heritage Trail highlights a wide range of interesting heritage sites and features such as:

  • Portview Trade Centre and the site of the former Inglis Bakery
  • McMaster Street, a group of listed buildings and conservation area
  • Ghost Signs which offer unique glimpses to the past and showcase how the nature of businesses, buildings and social context has changed over the years
  • Sculptures, including The Yardmen and The Searcher

The trail will also provide context for murals, memorial gardens and the Peace Walls which exist along the road. It also highlights the Newtownards Road’s modern-day personality, home to a thriving community of ground-breaking artists and cutting-edge studios.

Chris Armstrong from EastSide Tourism said:

“The Newtownards Road is steeped in history and is full of amazing stories literally on every corner. We hope The Newtownards Road Heritage Trail encourages visitors, from home and afar, to take the opportunity to explore and discover key sites and places of this iconic place. With support from the Urban Villages Initiative and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we hope this new trail will help this living heritage landmark continue to thrive for years to come.”

Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added:

“We’re grateful to the Department for Communities for providing this funding and we’re delighted to fund a diverse range of projects which will make a huge impact on many communities across Northern Ireland.

Thruughout the pandemic, our local places have become more important than ever and through projects like this, people will have the opportunity to get to know their local heritage that bit better.

The Newtownards Road Heritage Trail a great way for people to explore east Belfast’s rich cultural, maritime and industrial heritage, and I’d like to congratulate EastSide Partnership and their partners on its launch.”

Grainne McConnell, Programme Delivery Manager, for the Urban Villages Initiative, said:

“We were delighted to be able to support EastSide Partnership to co-ordinate the development of the Newtownards Road Heritage trail that will celebrate key points of industrial, social, cultural, religious and political heritage along the Newtownards Road from Grampian Avenue to Bridge End.

The trail will be vital in communicating the richness of the local area’s story and building connections with local people and visitors alike. Projects like this one are crucial in giving a platform to communities to share their story, to increase understanding of all that has shaped their local area from the past and to explore all that connects us as we move forward together.”

The Newtownards Road Heritage Trail is free and can be picked up from EastSide Visitor Centre located at C.S. Lewis Square or downloaded from