Visiting gardens is a fabulous way to explore and Northern Ireland has one of the best gardening climates in the world. So it is not surprising that some of the most beautiful and interesting gardens are to be found here.
First established in 1828, Botanic Gardens and Palm House, Belfast have been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895. There is an extensive rose garden and long herbaceous borders and the tree enthusiast can seek out the rare oaks planted in the 1880s, including the hornbeam-leafed oak. Situated near Queens University Belfast, the Botanic Gardens is an important part of Belfast’s Victorian heritage and a popular meeting place for residents, students and tourists.
Take a visit to the walled garden of Benvarden in Ballymone, County Antrim which dates from the 18th Century and includes a woodland pond fed by a small stream with a waterfall. The grounds sweep down to the River Bush which is spanned by a Victorian iron bridge.
Close to Antrim Town Centre are the historic Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House, which feature four centuries of garden design, with styles from the 17th century and Victorian era.
The Ward family designed the Bangor Castle Walled Garden in the 1840's, however it was never open to the public and was considered by many as a secret garden! Now, restored by North Down Council, the garden is open April to September and makes the perfect place to relax and enjoy a few moments peace and quiet.
In Lisburn Castle Gardens the upper 19th century garden and 17th century terraces have also been recently restored by Lisburn City Council with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Features include mature trees and many historic monuments.
Check out the hornbeam maze at the centre of an eighteenth-century walled garden at Seaforde Gardens, County Down. It also has a Butterfly House, enchanting for both its butterflies and tree ferns and unusual tropical planting.
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