PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Perhaps most famous for its wildly rugged countryside and breathtakingly beautiful coastline, Northern Ireland is also peppered with stunning houses and impressive estates just waiting to be explored. We learn more about the country’s rich heritage as we visit intriguing places on this unique tour, featuring an exclusive guided tour with the owners of Ballywalter Park; offering an intimate insight into the generations who have lived in this architectural treasure. We also admire the much-loved family home and world-famous gardens of Mount Stewart House plus the exquisite Glenarm Castle, combining these fascinating discoveries with the mystical Giant’s Causeway.
We fly to Belfast and transfer to the Holiday Inn, Belfast. Later, we enjoy a welcome drink reception hosted by our tour manager.
Monday: Glenarm Castle, Giant’s Causeway & Benvarden
This morning we head to one of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful estates, Glenarm Castle, which has been the private residence of the Earls of Antrim for 400 years. Throughout the castle are superb examples of Irish furniture as well as portraits of family members from the early 17th century onwards, which we learn about on our guided tour. We also explore the castle’s walled garden, one of Ireland’s oldest, originally created to supply the house with fruit and vegetables and now filled with lovely flowers and specimen plants.
We continue along the stunning Causeway Coastal Route with its breathtaking views and rugged beauty, meandering along to the Giant’s Causeway. So-named for the enormous basalt columns produced by volcanic eruptions some sixty million years ago, it is now a designated World Heritage Site. Interactive displays, exhibitions and audio guides in the state-of-the-art visitor centre unveil the stories and science that surround this natural phenomenon. Please note that it may not be suitable for those with limited mobility.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the picturesque journeyto Benvarden, a historic estate established in the late 17th century and owned by the Montgomery family since 1798. The house is set in lovely walled gardens leading down to the River Bush with fruit trees, herbaceous borders, roses, a box parterre and kitchen garden.
Tuesday: Redhall Estate & Titanic Belfast
Today we take a peek into the Redhall Estate, a private family home which dates back to the 16th century, with a 12th-century motte and bailey still standing proudly near to the house. Sitting pretty in ancient parkland, Redhall has been shaped by various generations and boasts stunning views over Islandmagee and Larne Lough.
Afterwards, we make our way back to Northern Ireland’s vibrant capital to visit Titanic Belfast, a fantastic interactive exhibition located on the site of the original shipyard where the famous liner was built. Hear heart-breaking tales about the vessel's passengers, discover the detail behind the mammoth task of building the ill-fated ship and dive into the depths with an immersive video exploring the wreckage on the ocean floor.
Wednesday: Montalto Estate & Hillsborough Castle
Our first visit is to the impressive Montalto Estate, once a much-loved residence and now open to the public. Dating back to the early 1600s, Montalto has been almost exclusively a family home and we find out more about its history on our guided tour. Outside, the estate boasts exquisite 400-acre grounds of Emerald-green Irish countryside, twisting trails and beautiful gardens.
Next, we head to Hillsborough Castle, a beautiful late Georgian mansioncreated in the 1770s by Wills Hill, the first Marquis of Downshire. Surrounded by 100 acres of glorious gardens, Hillsborough boasts elegant State Rooms filled with wonderful paintings, furnishings and curiosities. Generations of the Hill family lived at Hillsborough until the early 20th century when the castle began to develop the political and royal associations for which it is famous today. Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret spent many holidays at Hillsborough and since the 1970s, it has been the official residence of both the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the British monarch.
Thursday: Mount Stewart House & Ballywalter Park
Our destination this morning is the magnificent Neo-classical Mount Stewart House and Garden, located on the shores of Strangford Lough. Home of the Stewart family, Marquesses of Londonderry, for over 250 years, this recently restored and much-loved family home offers a wealth of treasures. The wonderfully atmospheric garden, with its series of formal themed garden compartments, full of rare and tender plants from across the globe, has been voted as one of the top ten gardens in the world.
From here we make our way to one of Ireland’s most important historic houses, Ballywalter Park, for a fascinating guided tour with the owner. Home of Lord and Lady Dunleath, the house was built in the Italianate Palazzo style for the present owner’s great, great, great grandfather between 1846 and 1850 to the designs of the eminent architect, Sir Charles Lanyon. A conservatory and billiard room wing, also by Lanyon, was added around 1870. The house has been afforded Grade A* listing as being of exceptional architectural importance and is situated within a walled demesne of some 270 acres, featuring pleasure grounds, a fine collection of specimen trees and pretty rhododendrons.
We check out of our hotel and transfer to Belfast airport for our return flight home.
Please note: the itinerary order is subject to change and owner-led tours are subject to availability.
- Return flights to Belfast
- Airport taxes & luggage allowance (one piece of checked-in hold luggage per person)
- Airport transfers in Ireland
- 5 nights at the Holiday Inn, Belfast with dinner & breakfast
- Welcome buffet dinner on the first evening
- Porterage where available
- Welcome drink
- After-dinner tea & coffee at the hotel
- Coach transfers to & from your excursions
- Visits to Glenarm Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Benvarden, Redhall Estate, Titanic Belfast, Montalto Estate, Hillsborough Castle, Mount Stewart House & Ballywalter Park
- Guided tour of Glenarm Castle
- Guided tour of Ballywalter Park
- Accompanied by a friendly tour manager in Ireland
- 5 nights at the 4-star La Mon Hotel & Country Club, near Belfast with dinner & breakfast
- Visits to Benvarden Garden, Lissanoure Castle, Belfast, Titanic Belfast, Glenarm Castle & Ballywalter Park
- Guided tour of Lissanoure Castle
- Guided city tour of Belfast
- Guided tour and lunch* at Glenarm Castle
- Exclusive guided tour by the owners and refreshments at Ballywalter Park
- Scenic drive along the Causeway Coastal Route
- Accompanied by a knowledgeable Tour Manager in Ireland
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Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre (JG4 rating)
The Holiday Inn Belfast City Centre is ideally located in walking distance of local restaurants and traditional Irish bars and cafés, perfect for soaking up the welcoming hospitality of this vibrant city. The hotel offers everything we need for a comfortable and you can expect a relaxed open lobby with a bar and Starbucks coffee shop, restaurant, fitness centre, free Wi-Fi and stylish rooms with tea and coffee-making facilities and a flat-screen TV.Back to top