Top summer gardens in Northern Ireland

Discover the magical gardens at Mount Stewart

With striking colours, perfumed scents and relaxing spaces to take in the view, our gardens are wonderful places to visit during the summer months. It’s time to make the most of nature and enjoy vibrant displays of flowers on long, refreshing days.

Celebrate the arrival of summer with a visit to one of our top gardens this season. You'll be greeted with colourful flowerbeds, sensational scents and plenty of places to enjoy a pinic or a treat from one of the tea-rooms.

The gardens at Mount Stewart, voted one of the top 10 in the world

Mount Stewart, County Down 

Mount Stewart is one of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated gardens. A place of the imagination, the Formal Garden around the house is themed using an exotic choice of plants from all round the world. While the Pleasure Ground surrounding the lake is a semi natural woodland garden containing many rare plants which thrive in the mild climate of the Ards Peninsula. In bloom: The rhododendrons are a must until mid-August and then the exotic displays of the Formal Gardens take centre stage.

The newly restored Windsor Garden at Castle Ward

Castle Ward, County Down 

Castle Ward has features such as the Temple Water, an early 18th century formal canal, Irish Yew trees and the Rock Garden created on a natural outcrop. Most recently the former Sunken Garden, now renamed the Windsor Garden, has been restored to its original Victorian design with elaborate parterre flowerbeds. The parkland grounds are ideal for those interested in garden history and those wishing to immerse themselves in ‘times gone by’. In bloom: The newly renovated Windsor Garden is a sight to behold featuring over 7,000 bulbs, it’s a riot of colour.

The Argory features a rose garden with dwarf roses

The Argory, County Armagh 

In a wooded park above the River Blackwater, The Argory is surrounded by sweeping lawns with two formal gardens. The first, a charming rose garden with dwarf rose bushes in box-edged beds, is planted around a sundial. The second much larger and called the Pleasure Ground, has a terrace overlooking the river. In bloom: The mixed borders carry a wealth of plants, many of them scented. Roses bloom brightly in the small rose garden with light floral scents filling the air.

The period gardens of Florence Court

Florence Court, County Fermanagh 

The magnificent Florence Court gardens are overlooked by the dramatic outline of the Cuilcagh Mountain. Florence Court is well known as the home of the original Irish Yew and the forest park trails surrounding the garden are now accessible. The developing Kitchen Garden within the Walled Garden has colourful new herbaceous borders this year. In bloom: Roses, paeonies, penstemon, dahlia and clematis in the herbaceous borders and seasonal vegetables in the open quarters.

Rowallane Garden is a riot of colour in the summer

Rowallane Garden, County Antrim 

Rowallane Garden is a true plantsman’s garden with one of Ireland’s premier plant collections. The Spring Garden is full of rhododendrons while the Walled Garden once the kitchen garden for the ‘big house’ is filled with mixed shrub borders, roses and perennials for summer colour. In bloom: Azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias in the Spring Garden succeeded by meconopsis, paeonies and penstemon in the Walled Garden.

Springhill garden is a delight in the summer

Springhill, County Londonderry 

The herb garden at the pretty seventeenth century plantation home of Springhill, is designed around a scented camomile Lawn - a long tradition in ‘big houses’ to enjoy the sweet fragrance that fills the air as you walk on the soft, springy camomile. Situated on the edge of the picturesque Sperrin Mountains, this charming house is also home to a series of small walled gardens. In bloom: A charming garden with successions of rhododendron and magnolia followed by the fine roses and herbaceous displays of the Dutch Garden.

Downhill Demesne

Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry 

The beautifully landscaped Downhill Demesne is set on the wild and rugged north coast. The best known features of this famous demesne are the exquisite Mussenden Temple and the ruined palace of the eccentric nobleman, Frederick Hervey, the famous Earl Bishop of Derry. But if you enter the estate via Bishop’s Gate you come upon an appealing ornamental garden. In bloom: The Bog Garden is a riot of primulas and the shrub borders are alive with lilies during the summer. Take time to explore the new Downhill Tree Trail.