Journey to Beautiful Mount Stewart House & Gardens

Mount Stewart, County Down, Northern Ireland, Green spaces

Updated On: April 15, 2024 by   Ciaran ConnollyCiaran Connolly

Mount Stewart: Home to One of the Most Beautiful Gardens in Ireland

Mount Stewart, the house inspired by Edith, the Marchioness of Londonderry (aka Derry), has the most beautiful garden in Ireland. It is famous for its world-class gardens. It is located just outside Newtownards and overlooks the shores of Strangford Lough, County Down. The Stewart Family bought the estate in 1744 and over time it became known as Mount Stewart.

The house and its contents reflect the history of the Stewart Family, who played a prominent role in British and Irish social and political life. The place was not always as bright. When Edith came to Mount Stewart in 1919, it was a dark, sad ancestral home. However, she turned what was once a depressing place into a deluxe for entertaining guests, such as Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan.

A Glimpse Into Georgian Elegance

The centrepiece of Mount Stewart’s estate is undoubtedly the Georgian mansion, a striking architectural marvel reflecting its era’s luxury. Stepping through its grand entrance, visitors are transported back to an age of refinement and sophistication. Lavish interiors adorned with intricate plasterwork, exquisite furnishings, and priceless artwork offer a glimpse into the lives of the aristocracy who once called Mount Stewart home.

Guided tours of the mansion provide fascinating insights into its storied past, highlighting the lives and legacies of the Stewart family and their esteemed guests. From intimate family gatherings to extravagant soirées, the walls of Mount Stewart have borne witness to countless moments of joy, sorrow, and intrigue. Every room whispers tales of bygone days, inviting visitors to delve deeper into the estate’s rich heritage.

Restoration of Mount Stewart

The estate is now run by the National Trust since 1977. In 2015, the National Trust completed a three-year £8 million restoration program of the property, a complete transformation of the place, and bought additional lands to bring the size of the estate to 950 acres, which makes this place a must-see attraction in Ireland.

The house and its themed garden compartments, including the Italian, Spanish, Mairi and Shamrock Gardens, are open to the public, and you can spend a whole day in those splendid gardens. It is truly worth it.

Collections on Display at Mount Stewart

In addition, this year, 2017, the newly restored Central Hall floor and stunning Rome bedroom will be unveiled, and collections of international and national significance will be displayed, as well as one of the most significant silver displays in the Trust’s care. Among these collections will be exquisite family collections, including works by Lawrence, Brock and Stubbs.

The Gardens

The splendid 80-acre garden, which dates back to the 19th century CE, encloses a sophisticated series of formal gardens of specimen trees brilliantly planted around the house. This splendid design indicates a time when the garden design had reached an exquisite peak.

Mount Stewart, County Down, Northern Ireland, Green spaces
Mount Stewart, County Down, Northern Ireland- Green spaces for walking

The gardens hold a lovely combination of colours, and beautiful contrasts of mood, swinging from hot reds, yellows and oranges in the geometric parterres on one side of the Italian garden and silvers and mauves on the other side to cool greens and curved designs of the Spanish garden with its circular pool, which can be seen from above via a pantiled loggia and screened by arches of clipped leylandii.

The gardens reflect a rich tapestry of design which was the hallmark of Edith, the Marchioness, and are currently maintained by head gardener Phil Rollinson and his team. The garden is voted as one of the top ten gardens in the world.

The Dodo Terrace is magic. It has stone carvings of animal characters given by Edith to members of her Ark Club, such as Harold the Humming Bird and Winston the Warlock. It’s one of the best parks in Northern Ireland for a family vacation.

Mairi Garden

The silver and white planting in the circular Mairi Garden, named after Edith’s youngest daughter, echoes the rhyme “Silver bells and cockle shells”, in this case with campanulas, agapanthus, stachys and Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’.

The Shamrock Garden

There is also a Red Hand of Ulster in the Shamrock Garden alongside an Irish harp, which is surrounded by yew hedges clipped into various animal shapes and other creatures, from deer to devils. The Shamrock Garden is a representation of Edith’s love of Irish mythology. The topiary atop the Shamrock hedge is a beautifully depicted children’s tale.

Lily Wood

Heading towards the Lily Wood, you can see shrubs and tender trees prosper in the microclimate of the Ards Peninsula. Beautiful lilies and colonies of Himalayan poppies lie there, contributing to the exquisite scenery.

Adding to this beautiful masterpiece, there are paths around the lake overlooking the hill topped by Tir Na n’Og. The Londonderry’s private burial ground. Which is planted with exotic shrubs, some of which are the fruit of plant hunting expeditions embarked upon by Lady Edith.

Other Areas of Mount Stewart

Somewhere in the spatial area of the estate are the Coronation Walk- one of the hidden gems of Northern Ireland, rhododendron glades with the aristocracy of the rhododendron family R. sinogrande and falconeri and many others, and the Jubilee Walk planted in 1935 for George V’s Jubilee. You can also visit the Temple of the Winds, designed by James ‘Athenian’ Stewart in 1780. The temple is based on the Tower of Andronicus Cyrrestes in Athens, and it overlooks Strangford Lough.

Walking Trails in the Grounds

You can also get a different view of Mount Stewart if you walk around the new walking trails. These trails will give a journey through a magical woodland and farmland located within a spectacular elongated landscape next to Strangford Lough.

Conservation and Restoration Efforts

Preserving the legacy of Mount Stewart for future generations is a labour of love that requires constant care and attention. The National Trust, which has overseen the estate since the 1950s, works tirelessly to ensure its historic buildings and gardens remain pristine.

Conservation projects are ongoing, focusing on restoring and maintaining the mansion’s architectural integrity, protecting rare plant species, and implementing sustainable gardening practices. Through collaborations with experts in heritage conservation and environmental stewardship, the National Trust aims to safeguard Mount Stewart’s cultural and ecological significance for years to come.

Visitor Experiences and Events

Mount Stewart offers many activities and events throughout the year, catering to visitors of all ages and interests. From guided garden walks and historical reenactments to art exhibitions and culinary festivals, this enchanting estate always has something new to discover.

Families can participate in interactive workshops and educational programs to foster a deeper appreciation for nature and history. Meanwhile, food enthusiasts can indulge in farm-to-table dining experiences showcasing the finest local produce and culinary traditions.


Visiting Mount Stewart House & Gardens is more than just a leisurely outing; it’s a journey through time and space, where history, art, and nature converge perfectly. Whether strolling through the meticulously manicured gardens, exploring the opulent interiors of the Georgian mansion, or simply basking in the tranquillity of the countryside, every moment spent at Mount Stewart is a cherished memory in the making. As one immerses oneself in its beauty and serenity, it becomes abundantly clear why Mount Stewart remains a beloved destination for generations of visitors seeking respite from the ordinary and a glimpse into the extraordinary.

Opening Times

The estate is accessible on specific days. However, the gardens are open daily and here are the opening times for 2017:

  • 1 January – 3 March 10:00–16:00
  • 4 March – 29 October 10:00–18:00
  • 30 October – 31 December 10:00–16:00

And these are the house opening times:

  • 4 March – 29 October: open daily 11:00–17:00
  • 4 November – 31 December: open weekends 11:00–15:00

Temple of the Winds opening times:

  • 5 March – 30 October: open Sundays 14:00–17:00

More to Know about Mount Stewart

You can stray around by yourself or with a tour guide. An annual program is held throughout the year. Tea room is open daily, and you can take your tea in indoor or outdoor seating. At the end of your visit, you can buy some souvenirs and locally hand-crafted gifts. The tea room and shop close at 5 pm at weekends, bank and public holidays.

The lake walk is wheelchair-friendly, and disabled parking is available as well. However, the gardens include paths and steps that are not always wheelchair friendly. Scooters are available, and on the site. Guide dogs are permitted inside the house and the Temple of the Winds.

Here is the price list for 2017:

Adult: £9.50

Child: £4.75 (child is aged 5yrs to 16 yrs).

Family: £23.75 (2 adults and up to 3 children)

Under 5 years of age: free

It’s worth to know that the last admission to the house is 45 mins before closing. The last admission to the gardens is 1 hour before closing. The whole estate will be closed on 25 and 26 December.

Contact Information for Mount Stewart:

Tel: +44 28 4278 8387


Have you ever visited Mount Stewart in Lisburn? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Other related blogs that might interest you: Antrim Castle Gardens | Sir Thomas and Lady Dixion Park | Rossmore Forest Park | Botanic Gardens | Belvoir Park Belfast

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