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Forward Destination on
A20, A21
Next Primary Destinations
Bangor • Belfast • Comber
Places related to the A20 (Northern Ireland)
Places related to the A21 (Northern Ireland)

Newtownards is a town ten miles east of Belfast at the head of Strangford Lough.

The gateway to the Ards peninsula after which it is named, it is not only a dormitory town, but also an important route centre.


See Also: A20 (Northern Ireland)

The main road into Newtownards is the NSL Kempe Stones Road, the A20, which comes in from the west to a large roundabout at Ards Shopping Centre. Ards Shopping Centre, known to residents as Woolco after the former main tenant, lies in a large plot of land bound by Circular Road and Blair Mayne Road North and South, named after Colonel Blair “Paddy” Mayne. The A20 formerly turned left at this roundabout, and now turns right along Blair Mayne Road South.

The new A20 continues from Blair Mayne Road South to Messines Road (currently 40mph), which crosses the A21 Comber Road and becomes Castlebawn Road. This skirts the local airfield, and navigation lights for the runway have been erected on lighting columns at the next roundabout.

The A20 meets the Portaferry Road behind the bus depot, and turns right to continue southeast along the lough shore to Greyabbey.


See Also: A21 (Northern Ireland)

This road was improved in the late 1960s by the former Comber town council. A dual carriageway abruptly ends approximately 1.5 miles from Newtownards at the pre-1973 council boundary, and continues as a single carriageway to the roundabout with Messines Road and Castlebawn Road.

Bangor Traffic is signed to use Castlebawn Road, but it is believed that the A21 continues along Comber Road into South Street, officially continuing into the Town centre gyratory, but until Castlebawn Road was built, Bangor traffic tended to turn right from South Street to Court Street and then New Road from its junction with Portaferry Road, with long queues created by the funnelling of all traffic from east and south of Newtownards through this important junction.

New Road has two roundabouts close to each other, at Frances Street and East Street/Donaghadee Road, then travels north, increasing speed limit to 40, meeting North Road and continuing as the NSL dual carriageway to Bangor.


See Also: A48 (Northern Ireland)

Commencing at the East Street/Donaghadee Road roundabout, this road continues north east to Donaghadee. A realignment was carried out in the 1990s to significantly improve the layout of this busy road through Newtownards’ suburbs.


See Also: B172 (Northern Ireland)

The junction with Donaghadee Road used to be a very sharp Y-junction, but it was realigned in the 1980s to be closer to a T-junction. Similarly to the Donaghadee Road, the Movilla Road, which continues east, has been realigned a number of times.

Other important roads


See Also: C251 (Northern Ireland)

Crawfordsburn Road is a C road starting at William Street and continuing north from Ards Leisure Centre towards Crawfordsburn. As with all the roads leading north and east of Newtownards, it ascends a hill leaving the town.

Former A20

Until around 1980, the A20 came along Belfast Road (now the C263) to a junction with Blair Mayne Road North, which continues as Hardford Link, and Church Street.

Church Street was signed as the main road from Belfast until 2009, and it continues onto Regent Street, entering a gyratory becoming Francis Street. The former A20 descends Castle Place to the Old Cross, and continues to the Portaferry Road and southeastwards along the lough shore towards Greyabbey, meeting the new A20 at a roundabout beside the bus garage.

In the opposite direction, the former A20 runs via Court Street, Old Cross Street, High Street, Mill Street and Gibsons Lane to join Church Street. In practice, those in the new avoided the town centre and continued along Court Street, becoming John Street after a crossroads (staggered until the late 1980s) with South Street. A 1980s-constructed link takes traffic up to a roundabout with Mill Street and Frederick Street, which becomes William Street and Crawfordsburn Road - until the late 2000s, Belfast bound traffic generally turned left to continue on Mill Street, then right onto Circular Road and left onto Nursery Road, but then a link was built to connect Nursery Road directly to the Mill Street roundabout.

Local relief roads

Hardford Link is an important relief road, carrying traffic for Bangor across Crawfordsburn Road into Talbot Street, then via a realigned set of traffic lights onto North Road and, in due course, the A21 Bangor Road.

Messines Road, Blair Mayne Road South and North and Hardford Link are on the former alignment of the Belfast and Co Down railway line from Belfast to Donaghadee via Comber, the site of the railway station being at South Eastern Regional College (“Ards Tech”) in Victoria Avenue, off North road.


Route To Notes








Portaferry, Greyabbey, Kirkcubbin, Portaferry to Strangford ferry, Airport






Belfast unsigned, uses A20


Bangor unsigned, uses A21


Comber unsigned, uses A21

Related Pictures
View gallery (17)
Roundabout sign, Newtownards - Geograph - 1735853.jpg"Slow down" sign, Newtownards (2) - Geograph - 1735809.jpgThe Belfast - Newtownards road (2) - Geograph - 317340.jpgDundonald - Coppermine - 6503.JPGNew road, Newtownards (5) - Geograph - 1567181.jpg
Places in Northern Ireland
Major CitiesArmagh • Belfast • Derry • Lisburn • Newry
Primary DestinationsAntrim • Ballycastle • Ballymena • Bangor • Carrickfergus • City Airport • Coleraine • Comber • Cookstown • Craigavon • Downpatrick • Dungannon • Enniskillen • International Airport • Larne • Newcastle • Newtownards • Omagh • Strabane • Warrenpoint
Other PlacesAugher • Aughnacloy • Ballymoney • Ballynahinch • Banbridge • Belcoo • Belleek • Carryduff • Cullaville • Culmore • Derry City Airport • Dundonald • Dungiven • Kilkeel • Limavady • Lurgan • Magherafelt • Newtownabbey • Portrush • Portstewart • Randalstown

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