Things to see and do at The Argory
Explore all The Argory has to offer on your next visit. Explore the house, enjoy family activities, spot kingfishers and discover seasonal highlights in the grounds.
Winter Illuminations at The Argory
Thursday 7 December - Sunday 10 December (4pm-8pm)
Look forward to some time together with loved ones, as you experience The Argory in a new light. Enjoy masses of twinkling lights as you are welcomed to a beautiful and iconic atmosphere at The Argory after dark. The winter illuminations are everything you need for an unforgettable experience with friends and family.
Discover the light trail as you start outside our historic courtyard and walk beside the blackwater river, watch out for the light projections onto the mansion house then onto the lime tree walk. On your return you’ll meander along the boardwalk to finish in the courtyard with music and winter warmers from our Courtyard Café.
The winter illumination trail is self-led, giving you the space to enjoy the walk at your own pace. Wandering through your favorite places with an added sparkle for Christmas.
To learn more about the event and book your ticket, visit
Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December (11am-4pm)
The Christmas Fair will return to The Argory, bigger, better and more festive than ever before, with live music, food and craft stalls and plenty of opportunities to tick off that Christmas gift list with unique locally made finds.
Featuring a variety of local craft, food and drink stalls, as well as festive traditional entertainment. Soak up the wonderful atmosphere and see the house decorated for Christmas. Families will also have the chance to meet Santa and his elves in the grotto.
Experience Christmas of yesteryear
Saturday 25 November - Sunday 7 January (12pm -4pm)
Throughout the festive season, visitors can see the house dressed for a traditional Christmas. Trees, trinkets and garlands will decorate the rooms and the dining room table will be set for a celebratory festive feast.
Experience what life was like for the MacGeough Bond family and their servants as they prepare for the festive period. See the house in a whole new light and hear how the family celebrated Christmas in the 1800s.
Winter walks at The Argory
Discover the beauty of The Argory, stripped bare by winter, full of life as busy woodland residents emerge to be spotted traversing the tangled network of branches with ease, gathering fodder for their winter feasts. Red robins with their feathers all fluffed up against the cold follow the gardener waiting for tasty treats to be unearthed as he works the soil. It’s the perfect time of year to see a kingfisher perched above the icy river blackwater warming himself up in a patch of winter sun.
Snowdrops at The Argory
Snowdrops are a striking bloom in winter months when little else is growing, a walk through a blanket of snowdrops is a seasonal pleasure for many.
The small, white, bell-shaped flowers are always a welcoming sight as winter draws to a close. Snowdrops, also known as galanthus nivalis, are brave little flowers and the colder the weather, the longer they will last, with some flowering into March.
Art Collections at The Argory
Mr Bond, was an avid collector of modern art. During his lifetime, he amassed an extraordinary collection of work by many artists, which he hung in his suite of private rooms in his family home. Added to by successive generations it still contains much of its original George IV furniture, chandeliers, sculptures, clocks, and fashion for visitors to enjoy.
Black History at the Argory
Mr Bond travelled to Jamaica each winter to be in a warmer climate – during his time here he built relationships with the artistic community and purchased items for his modern art collection. He often mentored and encouraged new artists during this time.
Walter McGeough Bond – the last owner of The Argory acquired Head No. 4 by artist David Miller Jr's (1903-1977) in Jamaica and gave it to the National Trust in 1979. The man is bald and thick-necked, and is depicted staring directly ahead, with a slight smile on his lips. Signature and inscription on the underside.
David Miller Jr is best known for his series of sculpted heads. Miller and his father, David Miller Sr, began their careers by creating curios and carvings to supply the tourist industry in Jamaica. It was from the 1940s that they both began to carve in a more three-dimensional mode and became increasingly recognised for their individual contributions to modern Jamaican art.
Full information on the sculpture can be found here.
Discover The Argory
The Argory has something to offer every visitor. With winding walks around the estate, a house filled with beautiful art and historic collections, a jam packed bookshop and indoor and outdoor play areas for kids, plan your perfect day out at The Argory.
Explore the house
You can explore the house at The Argory, book your guided tour at visitor reception on arrival. Please check our opening times as the house has limited opening with the exception of July and August when we are open daily.
Stroll around the grounds
Discover the tranquility of The Argory's rolling estate as you set out on a stroll through its beautiful woodlands, along the boardwalk, Lime Tree walk, or River Blackwater. Take in all the sights and sounds of nature as the landscape changes through the seasons. In these late winter months, rows of delicate snowdrops can be spotted along Lime Tree walk.
Blackwater Second-hand Bookshop
Our volunteer run, second-hand bookshop has something for everyone with a range of genres from gardenings to children's fiction, stop in and find your next read on your next visit. The second-hand bookshop is stocked with generous donations from visitors and members, so if you have pre-loved books you want to pass on consider donating them on your next visit. All sales from second-hand books fund the ongoing restoration and conservation of The Argory.
Courtyard Coffee Shop
Enjoy a relaxed beverage in the courtyard alongside a sweet treat, such as one of our signature scones baked freshly every day. Please adhere to the dog-friendly areas of the café. Water bowls are provided throughout the courtyard.
Kingfishers at The Argory
The Argory is one of the best places to do some kingfisher spotting. Kingfishers can often be seen at the edge of streams and river banks. Head to the River Blackwater with your binoculars to catch a glimpse of them fishing.
With their unmistakeable bright blue and orange plumage, kingfishers are possibly the most distinctive birds in Northern Ireland. They fly lazily over the water and swoop down to spear a fish with their sharp beaks.
Kingfishers are shy birds, so getting close views of them isn’t always easy. The best way to watch them is to find a spot where they go fishing and the River Blackwater is one of the best in the North.
There's at least one pair usually nesting somewhere on the riverbanks. Search carefully and quietly and you may glimpse one perched on an overhanging branch, watching for fish.
Your dog will love The Argory with plenty of sights and smells to explore around the estate, as well as a dedicated play area. The Argory is a two pawprint rated place.
Treat yourself to a delicious snack or lunch in the Courtyard Coffee Shop and browse the second-hand books at the Blackwater bookshop. Visit 'The Coach House Collective' artisan pop-up shop, supporting local artists at The Argory.
Discover the history of The Argory. Find out how a rare barrel organ survived a fire and stories from the family and servants discovered in a treasure trove of letters and photographs.
Why not try some blackberry picking along the Blackwater river. Here are our top tips for foraging for these delicious berries.