Saturday, 4 July 2015

Birthday Day Out at Mount Stewart

Exactly a month ago today it was my birthday. We both took the day off work and the husband and I had a great day out. Amazingly the weather was good that day!

Mount Stewart, a National Trust property, has recently been renovated and re-opened to the public. So it was in this beautiful location that we spent the day.

First of all we wandered round the house. They don't do guided tours; you just wander about at your leisure and can ask questions of the guides located in each of the rooms. Lady Rose Lauritzen still lives in her private wing of the house. She passed us while we were on the landing! When she heard it was my birthday, she invited us for afternoon tea. Oh, sorry, that didn't happen. She did pass us but moved swiftly on.

The gardens (voted one of the top ten gardens in the world) have also had a lot of restoration work done to them. We were really glad that it was such a nice day for our look round the gardens. First, though, we treated ourselves to lunch in the lovely restaurant.

There were lots of rhododendrons and azaleas blooming; they were magnificent.

Look at the bark on this tree!

There were plenty of bluebells among the trees.

There is a beautiful, calm lake in the gardens.

There are ducks ...

... and swans.

Swans with their little family of cygnets.

There's always one offspring bringing up the rear!

Seven cygnets all in a row.

We carried on with our walk.

Still getting odd glimpses of the lake on our way.

We had to cross two of these little bridges over streams that feed the lake.

We came to Tir Na'n Og, meaning Land of the Ever Young in Gaelic. A good place to visit on your birthday! We climbed the steps ...

... to the small Vane-Tempest-Stewart's burial ground.

There is a beautiful white wisteria growing round the building.

There is also another view of the lake from up here.

Back down again and past the lake ...

... to get to the formal gardens. This is the shamrock garden, an area in the shape of a shamrock, hedged with Irish yew with this fantastic topiary harp in the centre.

There are various topiary figures on top of the hedge. This hare is on one side ...

... and opposite it is the goddess Diana with her bow and arrow.

She has managed to hit the hare with her arrow!

You can just make out a topiary ship here.

This is it a little bit closer; you can even see a person in the ship.

You can just make out a figure on top of the hedge here; as far as I know, this is the devil!

A horse and rider. The gardeners are very talented!

I'm not sure what these bedding plants are but they were just started to bloom with red flowers. When they are in full flower this will represent the Red Hand of Ulster.

More gardens, called the Italian gardens, close to the house.

There are old, twisted but beautiful wisteria bushes everywhere.

We were there quite early in the year so there will be lots more flowers to come.

There's a lovely pond.

We spotted some newts in the pond.

Can you see the newt?

Even though the visitors can walk round the gardens, volunteers and gardeners are still working hard to keep the gardens looking their best.

This sculpture is amazing! There's a Noah's ark with dodos on either side. See that arched bit underneath? I'll show you what's in there just below.

So here's what's in the arched section. I think this is meant to be a snake's head but I'm not sure.

Anyway, whatever it is, it has two crocodiles for company.

More strange animals for Noah to look after.

There are all sorts of unusual sculptures round this garden.

Each of these were made up of different parts of animals. This one has a monkey's head and also a man's head with goats legs.

A little sheltered spot to sit and enjoy the garden.

The house from that sheltered spot.

You can tell I was really in love with the wisteria!

A dinosaur guarding the entrance to this part of the garden.

A last look at Noah's ark.

That was the end of our very enjoyable visit to the gardens. This photo lets you see where Mount Stewart is situated; right on the shores of Strangford Lough.

Well I hope you enjoyed my birthday day out as much as I did. Sorry I'm so late posting about it but better late than never. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Mount Stewart then it would be very worthwhile.

I'd better go and prepare myself for a barbecue we're having this evening. Weather permitting!


  1. Hello Gillian,
    At first congratulations with your birthday.
    But what a wonderful images. Nice buildings and a great kind of nature. Nice to see the figures in the hedges. Wonderful. The shots of the swans arfe so nice too. You must have be agood time.

    Many greetings and a big birthday kiss,

  2. Happy Belated Birthday Gillian!
    We LOVE Mount Stewart, and visit every time we are home as it's fairly close to where we satay (Bangor). I didn't realise they'd opened the house, do thanks for the tip :)
    Have a lovely weekend :)

  3. What a beautiful place to visit on your Birthday! I am reminded of the lost gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. The swan family sweet. x

  4. Congrats on your birthday, which I'm sure was really fun judging from the delightful photos. Best wishes!

  5. This is absolutely lovely! Thanks for sharing with us! Glad you had such a wonderful birthday!

  6. A Happy Belated Birthday, Gillian! What a memorable way to spend your birthday. An amazing garden. Love the swans and signets. Very pretty pictures. What a lovely tour of the property. I feel like I've been there! Have a lovely weekend. Barbara xx

  7. Happy belated birthday !!! It looks like a wonderful day ... the place looks great !! thanks for sharing and I agree better late than never ... have a lovely weekend !

  8. Glad you had a great day for your birthday, NT gardens are so beautiful. Hx

  9. Happy belated birthday! What a wonderful birthday celebration. The little baby swans look adorable :)

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  10. The gardens are amazing. Looks like you had a lovely day. Happy belated birthday!

  11. Hi Gillian! Happy (belated) Birthday wishes from me, too!!! What a wonderful place to visit! Thanks for taking me along on a virtual tour, I would have loved to spend a day there, so beautiful! Lovely photos!!!
    Have a good week!
    Ingrid xx

  12. Belated Birthday wishes! That looks like a weird and wonderful place to visit!

  13. What a lovely day you had, glad to read you enjoyed it, and great photos too! : ) I love the swans, and the newts are so cute! xx

  14. Happy Birthday, what a lovely day out. I particularly like the topiary and the Noah's ark. It's all so well kept. Thanks for posting. Sally :)

  15. What a gorgeous place to spend a special day.
    It is inconceivable that all of this used to belong to one family.


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