Grey Point Fort – Super Sunday

 

This week’s Super Sunday happened to coincide with one of the European Heritage Open Days.  During these days hundreds of properties open their doors, with many being free of charge for admission.  One of the heritage sites, Grey Point Fort is right on our doorstep, although we had never been, so what better opportunity to pay a visit!

Grey Point Fort

Built in 1904, it along with its sister station on the other side of the Lough, played a key role in defending Belfast Lough, throughout the Great Wars. Belfast was home to a huge shipbuilding industry, therefore, defending the Lough was of great importance.

However, since 1987 the Fort has been open to the general public.

Where is it?

Grey Point Fort is located on the shores of Belfast Lough, between Bangor and Belfast on the Fort Road just outside Helen’s Bay.

Map

Getting there

Entry

Car – From Belfast take the A22 in the direction of Bangor, turning off at the Craigdarragh Road in the direction of Helen’s Bay.   If you are coming from Bangor,  take the A22 in the direction of Belfast and turn off at the Craighdarragh Road in the direction of Helen’s Bay.

Grey Point Fort is well sign posted and easy to find. There is a small car park on site.

Rail – The closest railway station is Helen’s Bay. It’s on the Bangor – Belfast line, with trains leaving Belfast or Bangor every 30 – 60 mins, depending on day and time.  The fort is then a short walk from the train station and en route you will pass by the very popular Helen’s Bay beach.

Route

Opening hours

Friday – Sunday

10 am to 4 pm

Cost

Free

What is on site

Quarters

First up is the Quarters building, where staff, who stayed on site to maintain the area would have lived, additionally it doubled up as a guardhouse.

Engine House

The generator used to power the searchlights is housed here.

Within the Fort

Entrance gates

The entrance gates are the only way into the fort, as a result,  if you’re coming from the coastal path you will need to walk up and around to gain access.

Check point

Checkpoint

Radar Platform

Radar platform

Built in 1953 and had an anti Aircraft radar installed in 1954. Here we had amazing views right across Belfast Lough. The points of interest sign was very useful to reference objects on the other side of the lough.

View across the lough

Shelter and Guns

The main attractions:

The fort is armed with two Mark VII six inch bore guns, which are bolted to the concrete emplacements.

 

Museum

Below the weapons shelters is a packed museum. Here there is a huge display of medals, uniforms, photos and weaponry from the Great Wars. Volunteers are on hand to answer any questions.

 

  Additionally, there is a small exhibit on the Titanic, which was built not far up the road in Belfast.

Finally, on the way out there is a 25-pounder gun, used by the British Army as a field gun throughout WW 11 and well into the 1960’s.

Below the fort

Searchlight Emplacements

Side of one of the search lights

Outside of the fort and towards the coastal path there are three searchlight emplacements, used to help the gunners find targets. These emplacements were sadly not open to the public during our visit, although there is access to walk around them.

Would we return

Yes, we would love to return, because throughout the year a number of ceremonies are held at the Fort, and Megan really wants to see the guns being fired!

Top Tips

1. Take a stroll along the beautiful coastal path which leads as far as Holywood in one direction and Bangor in the other.

2. Crawfordsburn Country park is only around the corner, with some beautiful walks if the kids have some energy to burn.

3. Take time to visit the museum within the grounds and listen to the guides.  Their knowledge is vast and you can tell they just love meeting and speaking to people about the displays.

 

If you enjoy reading about our days out in Northern Ireland. Check out our other blog posts here – Northern Ireland

Thanks

The Lewis Family.

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