Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
From grand family home to charming royal residence, Hillsborough Castle has welcomed the world and witnessed pivotal chapters in politics. This splendid late Georgian house, surrounded by 100 acres of glorious gardens, was built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, later 1st Marquess of Downshire. Generations of the Hill family lived here – giving the town its name – until the early 20th century when Hillsborough Castle began to develop the political and royal associations for which it’s famous today.
Belfast Castle is located in the Cave Hill area of north Belfast. It was built in the 1860s and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The estate contains landscaped gardens and mature mixed woodland and offers superb views of the city from a variety of vantage points. It is home to many different species of wildlife, including long-eared owls, sparrowhawks and Belfast’s rarest plant; the town hall clock.
Clifton House Belfast
Clifton House, formerly the Poor House, was built in 1774 by the Belfast Charitable Society and is one of Belfast’s most historic buildings. Clifton House guided tours are available every Friday at 3pm. Tickets are available from Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, 9 Donegall Square North.
This handsome Irish gentry house is surrounded by its 130-hectare (320-acre) wooded riverside estate. The former home of the MacGeough Bond family, a tour of this neo-classical masterpiece reveals it is unchanged since 1900. The eclectic interior still evokes the family’s tastes and interests.
Mount Stewart is one of the most inspiring gardens in the National Trust’s ownership and the neo-classical house oozes opulence. Engaging tours of the opulent house reveal its fascinating heritage and historic world-famous artifacts and artwork.
See the gothic and classical collide at Castle Ward, an eccentric 18th century mansion resting on a rolling hillside. Looking out over the tranquil waters of Strangford Lough in County Down, this unique 18th century mansion is famed for its mixture of architectural styles.
Ballywalter Park is a Grade A listed historic house, beautifully restored as a conference venue, providing exclusive lunches, dinners and accommodation for up to 24 guests in 12 luxurious bedrooms. Tours of the house can also be arranged by appointment. Ballywalter Park has been in the ownership of Lord Dunleath’s family for over 150 years and is one of Ireland’s most important historic houses.
Sentry Hill is a 19th century farmhouse in Carnmoney which houses a wealth of artefacts and archival material amassed over the years by the McKinney family. Remarkably, the contents of Sentry Hill have survived almost intact. A wealth of artefacts and archival material was amassed down the years, with credit due to William Fee McKinney who was born in 1832. His extensive collection provides a rare insight into the working lives, social activities, beliefs and values of rural families in Ulster during the 19th and early 20th centuries.