Mount Stewart is a stunning family home and one of the world’s top ten gardens. The gardens are spectacular, and universally renowned for their plant collections and the originality of their features.
When Edith, Lady Londonderry made Mount Stewart her home in 1921, she created something truly unique. So delighted with her new home, she wrote to her husband Charles, ‘this is the most divine house, why do we live anywhere else!’ Her interiors transcend time and taste where anything placed by her hand was always acceptable. The gardens at Mount Stewart will amaze you with their wealth of plants from all over the world. The flowering stretches all year round and whenever your visit, you will find beautiful and surprising plants to admire. There are over 70 acres of garden to explore with formal gardens packed with fanciful animal statues and beautiful plants, drawing from Irish and classical mythology. The woodland gardens are like a painting through which you can walk, stimulating all the senses and changing in the course of a day and the course of the seasons.
The Sunk Garden west of the house was the second garden compartment Lady Londonderry embarked upon after the Italian Garden. Centered on the Little Dining Room or Breakfast Room and Lord Londonderry’s bedroom above, it and the Shamrock Garden beyond are the only part of Lady Londonderry’s design which relate directly with the ground floor of the house. The planting is based on a sketch in one of nine garden notebooks, dated 1922.
There is a richness to the Italian Garden unequalled elsewhere, in its architectural detail, its planting and a humorous allegory. Lady Londonderry was known as Circe, the sorceress goddess Odysseus’ sailors meet on the most westerly Isle the Greeks knew of. Circe turned half of Odysseus’ crew into pigs and their faces and that of Circe are depicted on the herms on the southern wall. The planting is derived from an article Lady Londonderry wrote for the RHS Journal in 1935.
The arcades of Cypress designed by Lady Londonderry were inspired by an early 16th-century description written by a Venetian traveller who described how similar arcades were used by the Moors to line the water parterre of the Garden of the Generalife near Grenada. The colour palette comes from the blue/green hue of the Casita tiles and the salmon pink limestone of the decorative well head, which was bought by Lady Londonderry at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1926.
Lady Londonderry founded and directed the Women’s Legion, a voluntary organization which placed women into the work place during WWI and whose emblem was a stylized Tudor Rose. Lady Londonderry gave this emblem the Stewart family colours of blue and white. Today, the Mairi Garden has a succession of blue and white flowers. A bronze statue commemorates the birth of Lady Mairi in 1921, surrounded by bells and cockle shells based on the nursery rhyme.
Open Year Round
Check website for details
NOTE: Tea-room and shop close at 17:00 on Saturday and Sunday, Bank Holidays and public holidays. House: admission by free flow. House opening times may change – check website for details. Open Bank Holiday Mondays and all other public holidays in Northern Ireland. Closed 25 and 26 December.
Closed: House, formal and lakeside gardens, tea room and shop closed 25 and 26 December. The house and gardens may close in extreme weather conditions.
Last admission: 30 minutes before closing to the house, and 1 hour before closing to the gardens.
Approx. visit duration: 2 to 2.5 hours, but you can spend less time time if needs be.
Mount Stewart hosts a wide range of events during the year from jazz in the garden and car boot sales to Summer Garden Events, Specialist Plant Fairs, Halloween Celebrations and magical Santa Experiences. Check their website for updates.
Admission Prices 2020 (in £ sterling)
Child (aged 5-16): £5.69
Child: (under 5): Free
Carers go free. Group rates available for over 15 people.
Standard House Tour are included in admission.
Special House, Garden, and Demesne Tour can be availed of, at an extra cost, by pre-booking.
LANGUAGES: Property leaflets (free of charge) and house short guides (available to purchase) available in French, German, Dutch, Mandarin, Italian and Spanish.
DINING/REFRESHMENTS: The Tea Room (seats 60) offers excellent cuisine in historic and relaxing surroundings. There is a selection of soups available (some using produce from the house gardens), as well as homemade scones, tray bakes and cakes, all made on site. A selection of light meals is available such as broccoli and feta parcel or a main course of sweet potato, spinach and cheddar flan. Menus change weekly. You can eat in the Tea Room without having to pay admission to the house.
PICNICS: Picnic areas are located throughout the trail network, with picnic tables and bins.
WI-FI: Free Wi-Fi available in reception area, courtyard and tea room.
SHOPPING: Gift shop offering bespoke souvenirs and locally hand-crafted gifts. A selection of plants from Mount Stewart available at our Garden Shop.
CHILDREN: There is a series of programmes and events for children and families throughout the year, and there is a natural play area. Baby change facilities onsite.
PARKING: Free car and coach parking onsite. Coach drop off and pick up facility provided. Electric car charging points.
ACCESSIBILITY: The garden incorporates steps and paths so some areas not always suitable for wheelchairs. Lake walk wheelchair friendly. Mobility scooters on site (subject to availability). Accessible toilets. Accessible parking. Assistance animals permitted in the house and Temple of the Winds.
GROUPS: Group rates available (minimum 15 people). Pre-booking required.
ACCOLADES & AWARDS: Gold Green Tourism Award 2015
Mount Stewart is 15 miles (40 minutes) from Belfast. 10 minutes from Newtownards and 2.5 hours from Dublin.