FREE open day for conservation charity’s places

Discover somewhere special on Saturday 8 March © National Trust / Paul Canning

Discover somewhere special on Saturday 8 March

Latest update 03.03.2014 14:27

National Trust is opening its spectacular houses, gardens and industrial heritage sites across Northern Ireland for free on Saturday 8 March.

With spring on its way, the free day is an opportunity to explore the great outdoors, step back in time at an historic mansion or experience industrial heritage in action.

Heather Thompson, National Trust Director for Northern Ireland, said:

‘Our free day on 8 March is the chance to get outdoors to breathe in the spring air or take inspiration from the unique stories of our many special places. It’s a perfect opportunity for those that have not been to National Trust places to discover what Northern Ireland has to offer.

‘We encourage you, with your friends and family, to join us on Saturday where you can discover the amazing work that goes on behind the scenes conserving collections and caring for spectacular landscapes, grand mansions and beautiful gardens.

‘As Northern Ireland’s largest conservation charity we are committed to looking after our places for ever, yet conservation costs rise faster than inflation every year. By visiting National Trust places you’re helping to protect Northern Ireland’s natural and built heritage for future generations. So we really do appreciate the support of our visitors and members.’

Here’s a taster of where to go for your FREE day out:

In County Fermanagh there is something for all the family to enjoy at Florence Court, set against a beautiful backdrop of mountains and forests. You can also savour the stately grandeur of Castle Coole with its new Lake Walk which is carpeted in stunning snowdrops. Or escape to the breathtaking Crom demesne where BBC show Blandings was recently filmed. (Note - National Trust places in Fermanagh will also be open for free on Sunday 9 March.)

Described as one of the best gardens in the world, the impressive garden at Mount Stewart in County Down makes the most of the unique microclimate of the Ards Peninsula – did you know it is the sunniest place in Ireland? Enjoy a stroll around the gardens and see conservation in action as the National Trust’s £7m project to restore the magnificent house to its former glory continues.

Also on the shores of Strangford Lough is Castle Ward, with miles of walking and cycling trails and stunning views. Nearby, Rowallane in Saintfield is a captivating natural garden with a dazzling variety of rare trees and shrubs from across the globe.

Along the North Coast take the exhilarating rope bridge challenge to Carrick-a-Rede island and enjoy a truly unique cliff top experience. Close by are the Giant’s Causeway, Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Portstewart Strand and White Park Bay.

In mid Ulster a tour of The Argory reveals this Neo-classical masterpiece has unchanged since 1900. You can also visit the charming 17th-century Ardress farmhouse or Springhill in Moneymore which has a beguiling spirit that captures the heart of every visitor.

For a flavour of our Industrial Heritage visit the unique Patterson’s Spade Mill in Templepatrick, Wellbrook Beetling Mill near Cookstown or Gray’s Printing Press in Strabane.