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Things to do at Rowallane Garden

A family exploring the gardens at Rowallane Garden, County Down
Spend time together in nature at Rowallane Garden | © ©National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Discover one of the most beautiful gardens in Northern Ireland, filled with unusual plants, colours and sculptures. The Victorian garden is a mix of formal and informal spaces with dramatic vistas and unique plants from across the world. The trees, plants and shrubs range in age, size and colour, creating a spectacle throughout the year. Explore the Pleasure Ground, stroll through the Walled Garden and wander through woodland.

A garden for every season

Make sure you check out our upcoming events section to see what's in store each month for visitors to enjoy.

A Garden for all seasons

Visiting the garden at Rowallane is an ever changing experience and no two visits are the same. Under the care of garden team and volunteers, the garden transforms seasonally with no two scheme exactly the same.

Burts of Blossom in the gardens

Make your way to the Walled Garden, originally built for vegetables by the Reverend John Moore, the Walled Garden became more focused on ornamental planting under the supervision of Hugh Armytage Moore, John's nephew. As well as herbaceous plants, bulbs and herbs, the Walled Garden also boasts a magnolia so tall that when it's in bloom it can be seen from the car park.

Pleasure Ground at Rowallane Garden
Pleasure Ground at Rowallane Garden | © Catriona Corrigan

The Pleasure Ground

With paths looping through the towering conifers, planted by the Reverend John Moore in 1858, you can take in views of the farmland or pause at the bandstand. Formerly a feature of the Newcastle promenade, the carefully restored, distinctive blue structure was donated to the National Trust in 1986.

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Seasonal garden tours

Throughout the year our dedicated Garden team welcome vistors to join them on a guided garden tour. Garden tours will take place on the first Tuesday of the month from 11.30am.

Taking you through both the history behind the garden as well as going into detail about the sights, sounds and smells on offer. There will also be the chance to hear more on future plans for conservation and further development.

Check back each season for a whole new experience. These tours are completely free, although normal admission applies.

Share your visit

Don’t forget to tag us on your photos on social media using #BlossomWatch and #Rowallanegarden at @nationaltrustbelfast on Facebook and Instagram.

Family activities in the garden

Let your little ones run wild in our natural playground. It's been made using completely natural materials. Fallen trees have been reimagined as climbing frames, activity dens are made from branches from the garden and stepping stones are inventively fashioned from cut stumps and logs. Intricate chainsaw sculptures depicting exotic animals.

Find out about visiting Rowallane with the family here

Family fun in the garden

Follow the winding paths to dicover what's growing in the garden. Put on your wellies and splash through muddy puddles and let your imagination run wild in the Natural Play area. There are lots of buggy-friendly paths in the garden – ask at the Ticket Office for more information.

Rowallane Garden Pottery Shop
Rowallane Garden Pottery Shop | © Catriona Corrigan

Rowallane Pottery

Located near the Outer Walled Garden is the Pottery Shed, where Rowallane's resident Potter, Matt whiles away his days crafting beautiful pieces of pottery. Open Thursdays to Sundays, subject to Matt's availability visitors can stop by, say hello and watch as Matt turns lumps of clay into stunning vases, jogs, bowls and cups. Visitors can purchase Matt's work on site or, commision something bespoke.

Plant Shop

Visitors can bring a little piece of Rowallane Garden home with them by picking up a plant or two from the Plant shop located in the garden. What's on offer changes seasonally and all purchases help fund the ongoing conservation and restoration of the beautiful gardens at Rowallane.

The second-hand bookshop

The second-hand bookshop at Rowallane Garden is a great place to while away some time during your visit. We have a large selection of fiction and a wide variety of non-fiction including cookery, gardening, history, travel and much more. We also have a lovely children’s corner.

The books are simply priced and generally our suggested donation is £1 for paperback and £2 for hardbacks.

Donate your old books

Without the donation of books; paperbacks, hardbacks, fiction, non-fiction and children's books, we wouldn't be able to keep the shop going.

If you'd like to donate some books, please give our main office a call or email us or bring them with you on your next visit and a member of staff at the Welcome Hut will be happy to help.

Family walking in Rowallane Garden, County Down in November

Discover more at Rowallane Garden

Find out when Rowallane Garden is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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Accessibility at Rowallane Garden 

The National Trust is for everyone, and at Rowallane Garden our team have been working hard to improve accessibility across the garden to enable more visitors to enjoy and explore this special place.

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Our work at Rowallane Garden 

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

A couple walk through the Outer Walled Garden at Rowallane Garden

Gardens and parks in Northern Ireland 

The National Trust look after the greatest collection of historic gardens and garden plants under single ownership in Europe, if not the world. With Rose Gardens, Walled Gardens and Kitchen Gardens, discover some of the best historic gardens in Northern Ireland. Voted as one of the top ten gardens in the world, Mount Stewart reflects a rich tapestry of design and planting artistry while Castle Ward is home to one of the best examples of a Victorian garden in Ireland.