2-Day Itinerary: Gardens West of the Bann
Visiting gardens is a fabulous way to explore Northern Ireland’s secret places. So make sure you include some of our hidden gems west of the River Bann when you visit.
(We have assumed most visitors will start their journey from Belfast or the surrounding area, but the itinerary can be tailored to suit your journey.)
Take the M2 north west to Magherafelt and the pretty plantation town of Moneymore. Here you will find the 17th century plantation house of Springhill. The herb garden is designed around a scented Camomile Lawn, which has a long association with the Big House tradition. The Elizabethans enjoyed the sweet fragrance that filled the air as they walked on the soft, springy Camomile. This charming house is also home to a series of small walled gardens, a community allotment, tea shop and gift shop.
A short distance from here is the enchanting country residence of Lissan House. Take the route south, heading for Cookstown, along the edge of the scenic Sperrin Mountains. One mile north of Cookstown on the Drumglass Road, you will find Lissan House and Demesne. The estate was created in the 17th century and remained the home of the Staples family for nearly 400 years. Following extensive redevelopment, the house is now open for tours and events. The 250 acre demesne features a walled garden and has secluded walks to explore. Look out for the Ice House, Turbine House and Lissan River.
Continue your journey south in the direction of Dungannon and the M1 motorway. At the M1 continue your journey west in the direction of Enniskillen.
When you reach the end of the motorway at the Ballygawley roundabout, why not indulge in afternoon tea at Suitor Gallery, a delightful craft and gift shop with coffee shop.
Just minutes away lies Corick House Hotel and Spa, a fabulous Georgian Country House which is the perfect overnight stop for garden lovers. You can choose from period style rooms as well as modern style and enjoy dinner in their Taste of Ulster restaurant. Make time for a walk through the beautiful gardens including a Victorian walled garden, manicured lawns and terrace with spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. No doubt, you will see why this is one of Northern Ireland’s most popular wedding venues.
Continue on the A4 west to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. Just 15 minutes outside the town in the shadow of the Cuilcagh Mountains you will discover the magnificent Florence Court House and Gardens.
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 on the fringe of Cottage Wood to the southeast of the Florence Court house and its offspring are now featured in gardens throughout the world! Florence Court has a gift shop and tea shop for refreshments. But for something more substantial try the Tully Mill Restaurant which is located on the edge of the estate.
On your return journey to Belfast, make sure to leave time to stop off at The Argory just outside the village of Moy, not far from the M1.
Above the River Blackwater, this early Victorian house is surrounded by sweeping lawns with two formal gardens. The first, a charming rose garden with dwarf rose bushes in box-edged beds, is planted around a sundial. The second much larger and called the Pleasure Ground, has a terrace overlooking the river, the view framed by a pair of striking, stone-built houses with Chinese-style windows.