Things to do in Castle Ward house
Castle Ward is famed as a house of contrasts both inside and out. One side is Gothic, one side is classical Palladian – allegedly all because of a marital disagreement – but is that the whole story about this eccentric 18th-century house overlooking Strangford Lough? Wander through the Georgian rooms to see the historic interiors and collection, and uncover the stories of the people who lived and worked here.
The house will be open for guided tours on weekdays (excluding Tuesday and Wednesday) until November 2023. These will run every Hour from 11.00am with the last tour at 3pm. Entrance is by ticket only and these can be collected from visitor reception in the stable yard. At the weekends, the house can be enjoyed as a self-led audio tour with room stewards also happy to answer questions
Go on a self-guided audio tour of the house (Weekends only)
Take a self-guided audio tour of the mansion house to discover the story behind the unusual architecture, see the Georgian interiors and uncover the stories of the people who lived and worked here.
You'll see some of the more unusual items in the collection like the stuffed Kodiak bear which is named after one of Lord Bangor's daughters, the boxing squirrels and the large Gothic wardrobe.
In the dining room, look out for the intricately carved panel depicting Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and harvests. Demeter is surrounded by four putti, who symbolise the celebration of a good harvest and the abundance of the first fruits of the season. It's a beautiful reminder that the Ward family relied on a good harvest so that they could provide a table of plenty for themselves and their guests.
See the servants' quarters below stairs
At its peak, Castle Ward estate would have employed around 40 staff to keep the house and grounds running through its 200-year history. From the laundry maids and boot boys to the butler and the scullery maids, everyone had their own job and learnt the hierarchy of life in service.
Explore the laundry at your own leisure and learn about the inner workings and the activities undertaken by the staff and servants who worked there.
Please note that the dairy and the servants' quarters are currently closed to visitors while they undergo important conservation works.
Unique and unusual, this eccentric 18th-century house is famed for having been built with two completely different architectural styles, both inside and out. Find out why.
Discover the stories of some of the most notable people who have lived at Castle Ward over the centuries, from one of the mansion’s creators to a celebrated war correspondent.
Discover one of the best examples of a Victorian garden in Ireland. Explore the 17th- and 18th-century pleasure grounds, stroll by the lake and see an important piece of history.
Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about what makes these places so special and plan your visit.
There’s so much to take in when exploring the houses and buildings across Northern Ireland including dramatic clifftop views at Mussenden Temple and an historic costume collection at Springhill.