Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds
The perfect place to relax in nature, the Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds offers plenty for lovers of art, history and the natural world. Stroll through the Mediterranean-style gardens, explore the mansion and eight-sided temple and admire the artwork and historical relics. The estate is rich in local flora and fauna, and nearby Strangford Lough is home to a group of gentle seals.
Built in the 18th century, the estate was once the home of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family, who were the former Marquesses of Londonderry. The estate has received international praise for the originality of its landscaping designs and extensive range of plants and flowers.
The spacious gardens are divided into different sections by hedges. Note that the house is surrounded by Irish flora, the lawns by Mediterranean plants, and the wooded area is filled with plants from all over the world. The family burial grounds (also called Tir na nOg') are located near the lake, which is home to a group of swans.
Inside the Mount Stewart House, you can learn all about the history of this family of Irish socialites. Home to a collection of over 2,500 works of art, historical artefacts, and family mementos and memorabilia, the collection gives a fascinating insight into the lives of the family. It includes an impressive number of 18th-century paintings, including a few famous pieces. Make sure you visit the Temple of the Winds, noting, in particular, its unique octagonal design.
Learn all about the wildlife on the estate at the Lookout, a nature and wildlife interpretation centre. The estate is home to various different species, including birds, seals, badgers and red squirrels.
Enjoy a meal at the estate’s award-winning restaurant, or if the weather is good, have your own picnic on the beautiful lawns.
Located on the Ards Peninsula, Mount Stewart House, Garden and Temple of the Winds are about 26 kilometres east of Belfast and can be easily reached by either car or bus from the city centre. If you bring a car, there is free parking on site, but the estate itself charges an entrance fee. The gardens are open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.