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Mount Stewart-illuminated

Visitors to See Mount Stewart in a New Light

5 September

Visitors to the National Trust’s Mount Stewart will have the opportunity to see the grounds in a spectacular new light as tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday 6 September, for November’s Festival of Light.

Thousands of visitors travel from around the world to see the gardens at Mount Stewart, which were recently voted as one of the top ten in the world. However the exciting new plans will bring the unique grounds to life in a way which has never been seen before.

For three dreamy weekends in November Mount Stewart Gardens will come alive with lights and original music. The event is a first of its kind for the National Trust in Northern Ireland.

Festival of Light will see the woodland glimmer and glow with spectacular colours after dark as hundreds of feature trees are illuminated against the night sky.

Award-winning lighting designer Walter Holt from Magherafelt has previously worked at Mount Stewart illuminating trees, however the new festival will take his plans to a whole new level.

Speaking as tickets are due to go on sale Walter said; “It has always been my ambition to develop the lighting at Mount Stewart for a standalone event, the setting is stunning unique and offers the most incredible blank canvas for me to work with and I am delighted to be developing the Festival of Light at Mount Stewart” Walter said “this year we will have hundreds of trees lit and some animated light shows that will look incredible reflecting in the lake”.

Event Manager Rachel Hart said: “This is such an exciting event for Mount Stewart and Northern Ireland. We always saw the potential in creating a standalone Festival of Light here but thankfully NITB and Ards Tourism recognised this and with their support we have been able to bring this dream alive.”

The idea for the Festival of Light came late one cold October night as Walter Holt hung from a tree installing lights Rachel explains. “Walter spent five nights consecutively setting up the lighting for our Hallowe’en experience. The lights were then only used for one night, not only did it seem like such a waste but it also seemed like such a missed opportunity”

Rachel said “We agreed we wanted hundreds of trees lit, and that the experience would be incredible set to music, we were both inspired by the popularity of similar events in Scotland and England and thought that we had the most beautiful venue here in which to bring something similar to Northern Ireland”.

The night-time experience will allow visitors to walk the illuminated Lake trail and to view animated light and sound shows from set viewing platforms.

The event will run on weekends in November and tickets are available now through Visit Belfast on 028 9024 6609 or www.visit-belfast.com.

Tickets are priced £8 for adults, £5 for children, and family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) are £23.50

Places To Visit

Mount Stewart House and Gardens, Newtownards

The famous gardens at Mount Stewart were planted in the 1920s by Edith, Lady Londonderry and are of international importance. The magnificent series of outdoor 'rooms' contain many rare plants that thrive in the mild climate.

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