Marguerite Absolom McMurray, 1901 – 1983

Seaside Revival Vintage Festival is back! 

Seaside Revival is back this summer with a programme of events and activities that celebrate our beautiful seaside town. There’ll be several sea swimming events – including the return of the legendary Pickie to Pier Swim, a big Summer Swim Challenge, and an online talk on the history of Bangor’s most beautiful bathing spots.

We’ll be back soon with updates on what else is happening as part of this year’s Seaside Revival – including the return of our Best Dressed Lady & Gent, and Best Vintage Window competitions.

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Pickie to Pier Swim

The Pickie to Pier Swim is back!

We are delighted to announce that the Pickie to Pier Swim will return this year. The legendary open water event was resurrected as part of the 2019 Seaside Revival celebrations after a 30-year absence – to spectacular success. Obviously the event could not take place last summer due to the pandemic, which makes this year’s race even more special.

In partnership with Ballyholme Yacht Club, the swim will take place on Saturday 10 July – as part of the Seaside Revival summer programme.

It covers an 800m course from Skippingstone beach to the slipway at Bangor Marina. Winners will be the first male and female swimmers to exit the water at the slipway. Our 2019 winners were Gary Robinson and Julie McCabe.

Of course you don’t have to be ‘in it to win it’ – just taking part is what’s important. However, we strongly advise that you must be able to confidently swim 1000m within 30 minutes.

Each participant will receive a medal, a Seaside Revival limited-edition swimming cap, post-swim refreshments courtesy of SPAR Gransha Road, SPAR Ballyholme and SPAR Abbeyhill, and of course a hot drink at the finish line.

Date: Saturday 10 July 2021

Start time: 10am

Price: £17.50

*subject to permission and guidelines

Bangor’s sea bathing heritage talk

To celebrate the return of the Pickie to Pier swim, Seaside Revival is hosting an online talk on the history of Bangor’s most beautiful bathing spots, from Skippingstone Beach to Ballyholme Bay. Leanne Briggs from North Down Museum will deliver a virtual tour of the iconic bathing areas, from the Victorian period right through to the 1960s when the much-loved Pickie Pool was as famed for entertainment and music, such as square dancing and Battle of the Bands, as it was for large swimming and diving events.

This online talk, which is supported by Bangor Historical Society, will be delivered free via zoom. Registration is required and a zoom link will be emailed on the morning of the event.

Date: Wednesday 7 July 2021

Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm


Summer Swim Challenge

The surge in popularity that sea swimming has experienced over the past few years has increased tenfold during the pandemic. These days, it’s more rare not to spot people in the water as you walk along any beach or coastal path, than it is to see them in it. And as Seaside Revival is all about celebrating the joys of living in a seaside town, it delights us to witness this ever-increasing love for open water swimming.

As restrictions continue to ease, and gathering safely in slightly larger groups is once again allowed, Seaside Revival has created a collection of challenges to celebrate the joys of open water swimming, encourage more people into the water, and add a bit of fun to your regular swims.

There are no set distances to achieve. No special gear or equipment is needed – or indeed restricted, so wetsuits are welcome! You can simply have a little paddle – or set your own longer-distance swimming goal.

To learn more and register click the button below.








See what happened in previous years

Why Are We Doing It?

In recent decades local people have become increasingly disconnected from the town’s heritage. With very little cultural infrastructure and a failed retail sector, Bangor has suffered a downward social and economic spiral symptomatic of many British and Irish seaside towns.

Older people in Bangor look back with fondness to its heyday, but with a sense of regret for all that has been lost, while many of the younger generation who know little of the town’s past condemn it as a boring place to live. But we believe that Bangor has so much to offer everyone who lives here.

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Our Aims

Through this new vintage festival we want to revive positive memories and use them to create new ones. We hope to reposition Bangor as a modern seaside town, drawing on its unique assets of the seafront, a thriving community of artists and creatives, Victorian architecture, its closeness to Belfast – and most importantly, an appetite among residents for regeneration.

We believe that if local people can connect with their past, they will start talking the town up – a key part of the next chapter.


Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Great Place Scheme, Seaside Revival aims to re-position Bangor as a modern seaside town – the Brighton of Northern Ireland – with a distinctive cultural offer. Additional support is provided by Ards & North Down Borough Council.



Led by Open House Festival, the Project brings together six organisations representing different businesses and community interests in the town: Bangor Chamber of Commerce, North Down Community Network, North Down Development Corporation, Boom! Studios, and Main Street My Street.

Translink have played a historic role in linking Bangor to the rest of Northern Ireland and we’re proud to have their support for another Seaside Revival.