7 glorious gardens to explore in Northern Ireland

Blogs, Things to do

Posted by Sarah

Published February 23, 2017

The sun has arrived to Northern Ireland and we hope your interest has been piqued to find out more about Northern Ireland’s glorious gardens. With one of the best gardening climates in the world, it’s not surprising we have some of the most beautiful and interesting gardens to explore.

Open gardens in Northern Ireland

Colorful, blooming gardens in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Garden Trails and Tours

From private and public gardens, to forest parks and garden trails, a wealth of flora and fauna is waiting to be uncovered in Northern Ireland.

There are stately home gardens, walled gardens, woodland gardens, Japanese gardens, and kitchen gardens – all manner, and in every county, to amble around and pass the time.

Antrim Castle Gardens

Home to Allianz Garden Show Ireland, Antrim Castle Gardens  is 400 years old and feature the Large Parterre, Her Ladyship’s Pleasure Garden and Yew Tree Pond.

At its garden heritage exhibition you can hear and read all about the history of the gardens and the Massereene family who originally owned the house.

Ballyrobert Cottage Garden, Ballyclare

Ballyrobert Cottage Garden is a picturesque and unique Ulster cottage garden. Developed by Maurice and Joy Parkinson, work on the gardens commenced nearly 20 years ago and it is now a beautiful naturalistic garden in the mould of William Robinson, the famous Irish gardening guru.

Extending to six acres, a specialist nursery stocked with a wealth of cottage garden plants is available and open to the public. The gardens were recently hailed as one of the Guardian’s Top 10 Secret Gardens in the UK.

Botanic Gardens and Palm House, Belfast

First established in 1828, Botanic Gardens has been enjoyed as a public park by the people of Belfast since 1895.Featuring an extensive rose garden and long herbaceous borders, the Palm House was designed by Charles Lanyon, and is one of the earliest examples of a curvilinear cast iron glasshouse.

The Tropical Ravine has been restored with many of its original Victorian features reinstated and preserved. Split over two levels with an open reception area on the ground floor, the building has been modernised to make it more energy efficient with new triple-glazed windows installed to retain heat and create the right environment for the tropical plants it is home to.

Castle Ward Gardens, Strangford

Situated in a stunning location overlooking Strangford Lough, Castle Ward  is a unique 18th century house with a Gothic façade.

Inside its beautiful 820 acre walled demesne you will find an exotic sunken garden and paths that wind their way through woodland and suddenly open onto the quiet shores of the Lough.

Florence Court Kitchen Garden, Enniskillen

Since March 2014, the National Trust, under the guidance and expertise of its lead gardener, David, has been returning the walled garden at Florence Court back to its former glory as a 1930′s styled Kitchen Garden.

On the estate you will also find the famous Florence Court Yew – reputedly the ‘parent’ of all Irish yew trees – as well as Rose Cottage, built in the 18th Century.

Glenarm Castle Walled Garden, Glenarm

Glenarm Castle Garden is one of Ireland’s oldest walled gardens dating back to the 18th century. The ancestral home of the McDonnells, Earls of Antrim, Glenarm Castle is a real hidden gem.

Open to visitors from Easter to end of September, the garden hosts many events throughout the season.

Rowallane Garden, Saintfield

Rowallane Garden is one of the most beautiful gardens to visit in Northern Ireland and is often described as a hidden gem.

Here you will find a mix of formal and informal garden spaces to explore. Journey through the walled garden, rock garden and wildflower woods to discover the secret gardens within the garden.

Ulster Garden Scheme

A number of private gardens generously open each year as part of the Ulster Gardens Scheme. Established to raise funds to support work in gardens cared for by the National Trust in Northern Ireland, some gardens open their gates for one or two days every few years and others make their gardens available throughout the summer months every year under ‘By Appointment’ opening.

Make a short break of It!

With so many glorious gardens to explore, why not stay for a while and make a short break of it?

For further details on public gardens and garden viewings by appointment, and places to stay, visit discovernorthernireland.com


Posted by Sarah

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