01 Oct 2019
Enchanting Montalto Estate in County Down is a magical place to reconnect with nature, explore local heritage and indulge in afternoon tea.
Four hundred acres of manicured gardens, natural woodland and parklands bursting with horticultural delights make Montalto Estate a naturally beautiful space for spending a tranquil day out.
The estate opened its doors to the public for the first time in September 2018 – and the people have voted with their feet in droves. Having already chalked up 100,000 visitors, the property has now been graded as a five-star attraction by Tourism Northern Ireland.
With a café, trails, gardens and an exciting natural play area for children as well as a newly developed history trail, the grounds can be explored by following one or more of the four walking routes on the estate.
The short Garden Walk takes you past a large collection of colourful rhododendron hybrids and two of the estate’s four champion trees: a giant redwood and a large sycamore. Or stroll around the fish-shaped lake on the Lake Walk and see marvellous shrubs, the azalea bowl and the Wood Cutters’ Statue.
The longer Woodland Walk meanders through ancient forest and passes a delightful glen, hugging Ballynahinch River, where a dipper kingfisher can frequently be spotted.
For those interested in the history of the area, the History Walk leads to the edge of the estate to the site of the 1798 Battle of Ballynahinch and a prehistoric settlement site.
It was the First Earl of Moira , Sir John Rawdon, who originally built a mansion on the estate. Now known as Montalto House, it has been a family home almost exclusively ever since. Available for private hire, the magnificent Georgian property has nine opulently decorated bedrooms sleeping up to 18 adults and a chef on hand to cook bespoke meals.
It offers the perfect base for exploring the rich heritage and culture of County Down, including the famous Mourne Mountains, beautiful beaches, golf courses and the rich natural environment of Strangford Lough.
Montalto is home to a variety of flora and fauna including woodpeckers, otters, pine martens, butterflies and dragonflies and areas have been specially developed to support its growing numbers of red squirrels.
Keen gardeners will enjoy spending time in the individually themed gardens which include the Alpine Garden with its 300 varieties of plants, the stunning Walled Garden with its water features and the unusual Winter Garden.
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