Skip to content

Explore the garden at Mount Stewart

Mother and daughter walking on south terrace with flowers in bloom
Explore the gardens in Spring at Mount Stewart | © Sarah Harkness

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.

Spring is truly a magical time at Mount Stewart, bows everywhere are heavy with beautiful blossoms from magnificent Magnolias to flowering Cherry trees and that's before we even get to the rainbow of colour the Rhododendron's bring. Everywhere you go there is blossom but for a real show take a leisurely walk round the lake and take a moment to admire the display!

In Edith Lady Londonderry's garden diaries from the 1940’s, there were numerous references to "Tulip Time” and spring bulbs were a particular highlight in the formal gardens during April and May, which the garden team has revived by planting over 15,000 tulips across the Mairi, Shamrock and West Terrace beds. These are colour themed to each area, with the Mairi Garden in blue and white, consisting of 5,000 white tulips of mixed cultivar and 2000 blue Dutch iris, 4,000 red tulips into the Shamrock Garden, and 4,000 yellow and orange tulips in the West Terrace beds. Don't miss this magnificant display!

When the spring bulbs reach their finale late in the season, the internationally renowned rhododendron collection takes centre stage. The Rhododendron Wood should not be missed, as in our mild climate, rhododendrons grow to a tree-like size, and in May and June many areas erupt into a blaze of colour with flowers in hues of yellow, red, white, orange, and purple. The rhododendron collection is spread across the garden and around the Lake and the Lily Wood.

We're starting a new tradition that emulates Hanami. Hanami is the ancient Japanese tradition of viewing and celebrating blossom as the first sign of Spring – and we love it.

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.

Two women walking in the Central Hall of the House

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.

Evening visitors take their dogs into the Laburnum Arch at Bodnant Garden, North Wales

Gardens and parks 

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

Gardener working in the walled garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Gardening tips 

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