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Historic Houses & Gardens

Northern Ireland has a garden for every season and every mood.  If you love historic houses and glorious gardens, Northern Ireland is full of exciting locations.


Botanic GardensBotanic Gardens has been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895 with two of the most notable early greenhouses in Europe - the Tropical Ravine (currently closed) and the Palm House. You can also find the striking bird of paradise and colourful bromeliads, to name a few exciting species. 

21505_Rose_Week_2009The beautiful Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is home to the City of Belfast International Rose Garden, where a magnificent display of over 30,000 rose bushes with a Victorian garden where you will find exotic trees and tree rhododendrons.

County Antrim

Glenarm GardensGlenarm Castle Walled Garden  an amazing walled garden, crisp and colourful in a wonderful undulating landscape. Beautiful in all seasons, the Walled Garden and Tea Room are open from May, when you can see the fabulous display of spring bulbs, apple and pear blossom, until the end of September.  

Antrim Castle Gardens & Clotworthy HouseFurther south and inland, be sure to visit Antrim Castle Gardens and Clothworthy House.  This historical gem has a magnificent setting, and beautiful features such as the Large Parterre, Her Ladyship’s Garden and Yew Tree Pond. 

County Down

Mount StewartIn County Down a simply “must see” in on the list of gardens of the UK, if not the world, is Mount Stewart. The great diversity of styles and plants from every continent were ingeniously combined by Lady Edith Londonderry (1879-1959) to produce a garden of outstanding quality & character.

hillsborough castle gardensLocated in the picturesque village of Hillsborough Co Down, Hillsborough Castle Gardens estate is now open to the public, with 98 acres of beautiful gardens which have been developed from the 1760s.  These gardens offer a contrast of ornamental grounds peaceful woodland, trimmed lawns and meandering waterways.

County Londonderry

20341_Mussenden_TempleThe beautifully landscaped Downhill Demesne, Castlerock is set on the wild and rugged north coast.  The best known features of this famous demesne are the exquisite Mussenden Temple and the ruined palace of the eccentric nobleman, Frederick Hervey, the famous Earl Bishop of Derry.  But if you enter the estate via the Bishop’s Gate you come upon an appealing modern ornamental garden.

25811_Springhill_House_and_GardensSituated on the edge of the picturesque Sperrin Mountains you will find the pretty 17th century ‘Plantation’ home of Springhill, County Londonderry.  The herb garden is designed around a scented Camomile Lawn.  The Camomile Lawn has a long tradition in big houses in the British Isles.  The Elizabethans enjoyed the sweet fragrance that filled the air as they walked on the soft, springy Camomile. 

County Armagh

Argory HouseIn a wooded park above the river Blackwater, the early Victorian house of The Argory, County Armagh is surrounded by sweeping lawns with two formal gardens.  A charming rose garden and the Pleasure Ground. In the quiet market town of Markethill you will find Gosford Forest Park, comprising 240 hectares of diverse woodland and open parkland in gentle rolling drumlin countryside. 

County Fermanagh

19123_Florence_CourtThe magnificent gardens of Florence Court in County Fermanagh, are overlooked by the dramatic outline of the Cuilcagh mountains. Florence Court is well known to gardeners as the home of the Irish Yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastigata’). The original tree discovered in 1760 can still be seen, its offspring are now featured in gardens throughout the world.  It is known affectionately as the ‘Mother of all Irish Yew trees’!

20048_Crom_EstateNearby, The National Trust’s Crom Estate is one of Ireland’s most important nature conservation areas and is home an ancient yew tree designated one of the 50 Greatest British Trees.  This huge tree is actually two yews situated a few steps apart — one male, one female — thought to have been planted close together in the 17th century.  They have grown to give the appearance of a single remarkable tree. 

County Tyrone

Apple Day at Peatlands ParkIt’s not just within the formal gardens of Northern Ireland that you will discover exciting and unusual flora and fauna.  Take a trip to Peatlands Park, County Tyrone to explore the history and heritage of Northern Ireland’s bogland.  Within the park are two National Nature Reserves, declared as such for their unique flora and fauna species, many of which are found nowhere else in Northern Ireland.

16773_An_Creagan_Visitor_CentreTo find out about Sundew – a rare plant found in local boglands, visit the An Creagán Visitor Centre, County Tyrone and follow the Biodiversity Trail walk.  Waymarker signs along the winding gravel paths and boardwalks allow visitors to experience both woodland and wetland habitats where a variety of flora and fauna can be observed. The natural landscape is also a haven for many wild birds.


Just Some Ideas

Joey and Robert Dunlop Memorial Gardens, Ballymoney

The Robert and Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden were opened by Ballymoney Borough Council in honour of these two great sporting heroes.

FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio, Banbridge

An award winning art gallery dedicated to the memory of world-renowned sculptor Frederick Edward McWilliam who was born in Banbridge.

Castle Ward House and Demesne, Strangford, Downpatrick

This 18th century house has two distinctly different facades, Classical and Gothic. The beautiful 820 acre walled demesne overlooks Strangford Lough. A fascinating mix of family history, leisure pursuits, events and industrial heritage.

Lisburn Castle Gardens, Lisburn

Castle Gardens is the most historically significant open space in Lisburn and was once the site of Lisburn Castle, a 17th century fortified manor house, built by the Conway family, the landlords of Lisburn.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Hillsborough

Hillsborough Castle is one of the most beautiful, and interesting historic properties in Northern Ireland. Hillsborough is the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland.

Lagan Valley Regional Park, Belfast

Lagan Valley Regional Park is recognised as Northern Ireland's only Regional Park. It covers an area of 4,200 acres and extends 11 miles along both sides of the River Lagan between Stranmillis, Belfast to Union Locks, Lisburn.

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Practical Information

European Regional Development Fund