Skip to content

Explore the garden at Mount Stewart

Families exploring the Sunk Garden
Families exploring the Sunk garden | © Chris Lacey

Take a stroll through the world-class gardens at Mount Stewart and discover an extraordinary plant collection and original, historic features. The garden at Mount Stewart is truly unique, and with so many elements to explore including a Shamrock Garden, intriguing sculptures and flowering blooms, there are plenty of things to see and do.

Autumn highlights in the gardens

As summer begins to fade and the days become shorter, the gardens and pleasure ground of Mount Stewart burst into a last display of colour for the year, with rich reds, oranges, blues and golds. Walk in any direction and you will find a riot of autumnal colour from the formal gardens to the serene lake walk.

A hardy variety of plants

The Mount Stewart microclimate allows plants to grow here that are not found anywhere else on this latitude and this also means that the Italian and Rose garden is still blooming and vibrant until the first frost in late Autumn.

Autumn colour in the formal gardens

Wander into the Shamrock garden to admire the deep blues of over 20 varieties of Eucalyptus Trees set against the firey red Maples and the canary yellow leaves of the Coral Bark Maple, set behind the topiary harp.

Stroll up to the stunning Rose Garden and spend some time in quiet reflection while taking in the beautiful scents of our wonderful roses until the first frost.

Come late September the Lake Walk becomes a colourful carpet of leaves and there is no better time to watch the foliage turn from green to rich reds, ambers and gold.

The Shamrock Garden at Mount Stewart, with an Irish harp topiary at the centre of the Shamrock hedge, surrounded by blooming flower beds
The Shamrock Garden at Mount Stewart | © National Trust Images / James Dobson

The Sunk Garden

Soak up unique views of Mount Stewart house from across the lawn of the Sunk Garden. Designed by Edith, Lady Londonderry to relate directly with the ground floor of the house, the planting is based on a sketch in one of nine garden notebooks dated 1922.

The Shamrock Garden

Spot carefully sculpted topiary in the Shamrock Garden. Cut into the Shamrock hedge you can find creatures from Irish mythology, characters from a children’s story and figures inspired by Mary Queen of Scot’s prayer book. The artist and family friend Edmund Brock is also depicted holding a bottle of whisky.

Visitors walking in the formal gardens at Mount Stewart, County Down
Visitors walking in the formal gardens at Mount Stewart, County Down | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

The Italian Garden

Take a look at the statues positioned in the Italian Garden, and spot figures from Greek mythology depicted on the Southern Wall. Edith, Lady Londonderry was known by friends as Circe, the sorceress goddess in Homer's Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Circe turns half of Odysseus’ crew into pigs and in the Italian Garden you can find statuary depicting their faces and that of Circe on the herms on the southern wall. The planting is derived from an article Lady Londonderry wrote for the RHS Journal in 1935.

The Dodo Terrace

Discover intriguing sculptures which reveal the stories of Edith, Charles, their family and friends. Dotted about the garden you’ll find many creations in concrete, stone and topiary.

Crafted into the concrete you can spot animals from the ‘Ark’, a weekly social gathering held by Edith and Charles during the dark days of the First World War, where members took on pseudonyms which were usually a pun on their name.

Charles for example, became Charley the Cheetah – he was tall and elegant and as sleek as a cat, and his infidelities were also an open secret; whilst his cousin Winston Churchill became Winston the Warlock.

The Dodos refer to Edith’s father who was caricatured as such after serving 35 years in the House Commons in 1903. Thomas Beattie created most of the remarkable sculptures around the garden, including the tall herm pillars topped with orangutans, which Edith adapted from the classical versions at the Villa Farnese at Caprarola near Rome.

Below the orangutans are men’s faces, and careful observation shows that each one becomes more pig-like.

Visitor in the Italian Garden on an electric mobility scooter at Mount Stewart with a view of the house in the background
Visitor enjoying the Italian Garden at Mount Stewart | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

The Spanish Garden

Take a stroll past the tall walls of cypress hedges designed by Edith, Lady Londonderry, and explore the Spanish Garden, which was inspired by an early 16th-century description of the Garden of Generalife near Granada.

The blue and green colour palette is based on the hue of the Casita tiles and the salmon-pink limestone of the decorative well head, which was bought by Edith at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 1926.

The Mairi Garden

Wander through the Mairi Garden, bursting with blue and white flowers designed to reflect the emblem of the Women’s Legion, a voluntary organisation founded and directed by Edith, Lady Londonderry during the First World War.

The bronze statue commemorates the birth of Lady Mairi in 1921, surrounded by bells and cockle shells based on the nursery rhyme.

The Rose & Walled Garden

At the top of the lake walk you can follow the path leading to what was once the Rose Garden, Dairy and Vinery. The Walled Garden combined two of Edith, Lady Londonderry’s passions, the desire for scents and perfume within the garden and healthy eating.

The Vinery which is under long term refurbishment is home to a very significant vine, ‘White Syrian’, (planted only one year after the oldest vine in the UK, the Hampton Court Vine, planted in 1768), making it beyond doubt the oldest vine in Ireland. In recent years the Rose Garden has been restored to its former glory and is the perfect place to sit back and revel in nature.

A family walking across the garden lawn surrounded by flower beds and hedges at Mount Stewart, with a view of the house in the background

Discover more at Mount Stewart

Find out when Mount Stewart is open, how to get here, things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

Visitors walking their dog in the parkland at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Visiting Mount Stewart with your dog 

Discover Mount Stewart with your dog. With acres of parkland to explore there's plenty of space for them to bound, sniff, jump and splash. Mount Stewart is a two pawprint rated place.

Visitors exploring the House at Mount Stewart

Step inside the house at Mount Stewart 

Explore the historic house and wander through the elegant rooms to discover a much-loved family home, filled with magnificent portraits and personal treasures.

Visitors stopping to enjoy the view of Srtangford Lough from Mount Stewart, County Down

Exploring the estate at Mount Stewart 

Pull on your walking boots, choose your route and head out for a walk on the Mount Stewart estate. Spot seasonal wildlife as you go, or run wild in the natural play area.

Lady Londonderry's Sitting Room at Mount Stewart, with couches, armchairs and side tables, along with bookcases and family belongings in the background

History of Mount Stewart 

Home to the Londonderry family for generations, uncover the stories of the people who lived and worked at Mount Stewart

Oil painting on canvas. Portrait of a Lady, called Mary Cowan, Mrs Alexander Stewart (1713 - 1788) attributed to Sir John Baptist de Medina (Brussels 1659 - Edinburgh 1710), Mount Stewart, County Down.

Women’s history at Mount Stewart 

Discover more about the women of Mount Stewart from leading the Women’s Legion, using their influence with Parliament and hosting visits from royalty.

Sunrise over Croome, Worcestershire

Gardens and parks 

From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.

A gardener tending to the borders at Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Gardening tips 

Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.