Newtownards, originally known as Movilla, is a large town in County Down, Northern Ireland . The town lies at the most northernly tip of Strangford Lough, 15 miles east of Belfast, on the Ards Peninsula. Newtownards is the main town of the Ards Borough Council area. It had a population of 27,821 people in the 2001 Census.
Shopping in the town is concentrated around Conway Square in the town centre, and to the west at Ards Shopping Centre . It is a popular commuter town due to its proximity to Belfast. Local housing includes many pink Scrabo sandstone houses. The large Georgian town hall was formerly the market house. It was built in 1770 by the 1st Marquis of Londonderry. A Dominican Friary was founded in 1244 by Walter De Burgo, then Earl of Ulster.