Explore our new Natural Play Area

Did you know that Edith, Lady Londonderry wrote a children’s book called The Magic Ink-Pot?

'These are stories about a Magic Ink-Pot, who was a great friend of two children who lived in Ulster at a place called Mount Stewart on Strangford Loch, In County Down. Quite a real place, which is marked on your geography maps. Their names were Mary and Robin Stewart. She was Seven and He was Six. It was just at the time when they
began to do lessons, that the ink-pot visited them’  - extract from The Magic Ink-Pot.

Edith, Lady Londonderry wrote these stories for her children combining ideas from fairy tales and Irish legends. She called it “The Magic Inkpot” after a well-known object in the house.

The Magic Ink-Pot by Edith, Lady Londonderry
The Magic Ink-Pot by Edith, Lady Londonderry
The Magic Ink-Pot by Edith, Lady Londonderry

Lady Londonderry notes in the foreword to the book, that she wrote most of the stories as letters to her daughter while she was away in Spain.She was honoured to return home to find them typewritten. The stories were so enjoyed that she added others with the addition of Celtic legends woven into the narrative.

The wonderful Illustrations were contributed by the famous illustrator and watercolour artist Edmund Brock, and by the Lady Londonderry’s daughter Margaret.

Illustration of Mhairi and Robin from The Magic Inkpot Book
Mhairi and Robin Image from The Magic Inkpot
Illustration of Mhairi and Robin from The Magic Inkpot Book

In the book, the inkpot is transformed into Dagda Mor, the ancient Irish King of the fairies and takes two of the children, Mairi and Robin on exciting and marvellous adventures. Dagda Mor is always there to intervene in times of trouble, but the children are also protected by the Stewart Dragon, magically brought to life from the Londonderry coat of arms.

The Dagda Mor, The green Harper
The Dagda Mor, The green Harper
The Dagda Mor, The green Harper

The natural play area provides an ideal setting in which families can play and learn .  Children develop an affinity with nature and let their imagination run wild with balance beams, stepping logs, traversing beams, tree cave, squirrel run, see-saw / teeter-totter, and sea dragon climbing frame.

The Natural Play Area at Mount Stewart

“It is a sad fact that nearly all “grown-ups” lose the power of “seeing” odd creatures and fairies, and they certainly cannot play the game of “Make-Believe”- the game in which you can make any odd piece of wood or furniture or bits of stuff become anything you want them to. I always feel so sorry for them- they miss so much. “ - extract from The Magic Ink-Pot.

The Natural Play Area at Mount Stewart

Why not create your own Family Story at the Natural Play Area?

Upcoming events

Monthly Birdwatching

Sat 02 Mar 2019
Mount Stewart and surrounds is an ornithologist's delight with a wide range of feathered friends calling it home throughout the year.

Free Open Day

Sat 09 Mar 2019
Enjoy free admission at a number of National Trust places today. Come and meet our staff and volunteers, and learn more about the amazing places we look after.

World Book Day Weekend

Sat 09 Mar 2019
Do you like jumping in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig or do you have adventures like The Famous Five? We would love to hear all about your favourite stories and characters at our World Book Day Weekend. Come dressed up and join the fun.

Night Run - Experience Mount Stewart in a New Light

Sat 09 Mar 2019
Join us for our Night Run this March, in partnership with Cotswold Outdoor. This event is about having fun at your own pace, meeting new people, exploring Mount Stewart after dark and raising funds for our ongoing conservation work.

Spring Demesne Walk

Sat 23 Mar 2019
Enjoy a three mile walk through the rolling countryside of the Demesne and discover the wealth of wildlife, history and stunning landscape of this unique estate.

Mother's Day at Mount Stewart

Sun 31 Mar 2019
Treat your mum to a fabulous afternoon tea. Sit back and relax with a glass of prosecco while celebrating your marvellous mum.