Mount Stewart is a beautiful day out, only a thirty minute drive from Belfast. Despite living close by, quite embarrassingly I had never visited this National Trust property. As a child my parents took us to all the other properties in Northern Ireland, but bizarrely we never came to stroll the gardens of the estate closest to us.
This gave me the chance to approach the day out as a true tourist. We picked the perfect day, warm, dry and a nice amount of visitors. We started with a picnic on the lawn, then explored the house gardens. The exquisitely kept gated gardens are peppered with fountains, topiary animals, exotic plants & trees and a menagerie of carved stone beasts. I adore topiary, but throw a couple of statues of dodo birds in there and I'm in garden heaven.
Next we took the mile or so walk around the lake to find The White Stag in the meadows. Very peaceful.
We were lucky that day the house, which is still used as a residence, was open to the public. I was blown away by this part of the property. It is well into its refurbishment and the rooms are stunning. I highly recommend touring the house as part of your visit. I plan on returning some day in the autumn when my son is in school and getting a guided tour, as its my dream mansion, full of curiosities and I'm sure the curious tales behind the objects.
All in all, a fantastic day out, and very entertaining for little ones too. My son loved spotting the statues, unusual trees in the atrium and the treasure hunt in the grand house kept that part fresh for his tired eyes and legs at the end. If you live here, visit, if you don't, add Mount Stewart to your trip itinerary for a relaxing day out.