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Historic Houses and Stately Homes

Take a day trip to one of our historic houses and stately homes and learn about each unique history, within easy reach of Belfast. From grand family homes to royal palaces, take in neo-classical and gothic architecture surrounded by sprawling parkland and formal gardens. 

See all Historic Interest attractions or look at National Trust attractions.

Hillsborough Castle & Gardens

Hillsborough Castle underwent a transformation from a modest country house in the eighteenth century. The house was extended in the nineteenth centure when a great library, Billiards Room and better servants' quarters were built. Hillsborough is the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland, and has also been used as the residence for the Secretary of State since the 1970s. On a tour of the Castle you will find the State Rooms where you'll see The Throne Room, Candlestick Hall and The Red Dining Room which looks out onto the Garden and the largest rhododendron in Europe. Tours April-September only, gardens open 10am-sunset. Read more >>

Belfast Castle

In 1862, the third Marquis of Donegall, a descendant of the Chichester family, decided to build a new castle within his deer park, situated on the side of Cave Hill in what is now north Belfast. Designed by John Lanyon, who designed Queen's University, the castle and surrounding estate was presented to the City of Belfast in 1934. Today you can relax in the extensive gardens overlooking the city, or enjoy lunch, dinner and even afternoon tea in Belfast Castle. Read more >>

Stormont Parliament Buildings

Although never used as a home, the 'house on the hill' is home to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Built using Portland stone, Stormont was opened in 1932 by Prince Edward (later Edward VIII). Take a tour to see the grand main hall, bedecked floor to ceiling in Italian marble, and the vibrant ceiling painting where a secret paint formula means it has never had to be repainted since 1932. Tours are free and run between 10am and 3pm and the estate opens at 7.30am daily, closing at 6pm Mon-Fri and 5pm Sat-Sun. Read more >>

Malone House

Located on the site of a 17th century fort, Malone House was built in the 1820s for William Wallace Legge, a rich Belfast merchant who had inherited the surrounding land. A keen landscaper, he designed and planted most of the estate's grounds, which remain relatively unchanged today. This stunning Georgian mansion is surrounded by acres of majestic parkland and the venue offers free exhibition in the Higgin Gallery and several pieces of public art in the manicured gardens. Open 9am-6pm Mon-Sat, 12pm-4.30pm Sunday. Read more >>

Clifton House Belfast

Clifton House is charming, atmospheric and one of the last Georgian buildings in Belfast. Built in 1774 by the Belfast Charitable Society, it served as the Poor House for Belfast until the late 1880s. Now fully restored to its original Georgian elegance and with the history lovingly preserved, Clifton House combines a fascinating interpretative centre with a large collection of antiques and artefacts. Hear the stories of past public spirited citizens without whom, Belfast would not have become the city it is today. Tours take place every Friday at 3pm, £6.50, tickets available from Visit Belfast Welcome Centre. Read more >>

The Argory

The former home of the MacGeough Bond family, a tour of this neoclassical masterpiece reveals it is unchanged since 1900. The eclectic interior still evokes the family's tastes and interests. Outside there are sweeping vistas, superb spring bulbs, scenic walks and fascinating courtyard displays. A second-hand bookshop, adventure playground and Lady Ada's award-winning tea-room provide retreats for children and adults alike. Tour the elegant Victorian Drawing Room to have a go on the beautiful rosewood Steinway grand piano and see the original cabinet barrel organ commissioned in 1822. Grounds are open year round, house opens Thu-Sun 12pm-5pm from mid-March. Read more >>

Mount Stewart

The neoclassical home of the Londonderry family was built in the eighteenth century. Engaging tours of the opulent house reveal its fascinating heritage and historic, world-famous artefacts and artwork. Enjoy the house at your leisure with a guide available in each room to tell you more about your surroundings. The garden reflects a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry and is a great draw to the house with the mild climate of Strangford Lough allows astonishing levels of planting experimentation. Gardens open 10am-4pm November-March, house 12 - 3pm November - March, (Saturdays and Sundays only) and 10am - 5pm daily from 20 April - 1 November. Read more >>

Castle Ward

The fascinating home of the Ward family since the 16th century, Castle Ward is one of the most complete demesne landscapes to survive in Ireland. The dual architecture, reflecting the differing tastes of Lord Bangor and his wife, Lady Ann Bligh means the entrance side of the building is done in a classical Palladian style with columns while the opposite side is Georgian Gothic with pointed windows, battlements and finials. Visitors can also enjoy seeing the Victorian laundry, cornmill and sawmill and walk the woodland, lakeside and parklands. Far from an historic artefact, Castle Ward provides a film locations for the smash hit television series Game of Thrones. Gardens, grounds and woodland open 10am-5pm daily in winter months, 10am-8pm in summer, house open 12-5pm during summer months. Read more >>

Florence Court

Florence Court enjoys a majestic setting in the Fermanagh countryside. Explore the extensive estate through landscaped grounds, forest trails and the well-kept Walled Garden. Take a guided house tour of the Georgian mansion at the heart of the estate to hear stories about the Cole family and staff that lived here for over 250 years. Read more >>

Ballywalter Park

Ballywalter Park has been in the ownership of Lord Dunleath's family for over 150 years and is one of Ireland's most important Historic Houses.There has been an ongoing programme of restoration and the house is now available for exclusive corporate and incentive use and has hosted lunches and dinners for many prestigious national & international clients. The formal Dining Room can seat up to 24 guests whilst the Drawing Room can accommodate up to 90 guests. The house is surrounded by 270 acres of pleasure grounds, fields, lake & woodland. Groups tours of the house & gardens are available on prior arrangement by appointment only with a minimum group size 15-20. Read more >>

Sentry Hill

Built in 1835 in the townland of Ballyvesey, Sentry Hill replaced the existing thatched farmhouse. In the 1880s it was improved with the addition of a front porch and conservatory, bathroom and kitchen. Each generation of the family made changes to suit the times they lived in yet the house’s unique personality remained with Sentry Hill providing a physical link between generations of McKinneys. Remarkably, the contents of Sentry Hill have survived almost intact. A wealth of artefacts and archival material was amassed down the years, with credit due to William Fee McKinney who was born in 1832. His extensive collection provides a rare insight into the working lives, social activities, beliefs and values of rural families in Ulster during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Read more >>