Castle Ward
Castle Ward
4.5
Historic SitesPoints of Interest & LandmarksHistoric Walking AreasArchitectural Buildings
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Castle Ward will take you on a journey of discovery. The 18th-century eccentric house with two distinctly different styles, classical and Gothic, will entice you to explore further. This truly beautiful 332-hectare (820-acre) walled demesne, with walking trails, exotic garden, stunning vistas and picturesque farmyard, will unlock your imagination through family history, leisure pursuits, events and industrial heritage. A children's pastimes centre and laundry room are a short walk from the house in the stableyard, alongside a gift shop, second-hand bookshop and tea-room.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles665 reviews
Excellent
377
Very good
182
Average
55
Poor
25
Terrible
26

Gilly
Magherafelt, UK1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Couples
Very disappointed. Paid ten pounds each to see 4 rooms. No real signposting so no idea what you were looking for or what was there to see. The welcome at the entrance was only to try to sell membership. Being given some sort of idea where to go or even a map etc would be useful. Weather wasn't so great so after 10 minute visit to the house, found the visitor information by accident as the only place to head for was the cafe. There found a map but little idea given as to the time it might take or length of walk to certain landmarks.
Waste of money, wouldn't recommend unless you want an expensive picnic and just guess about the house
Written June 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alison G
Islandmagee, UK13 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Couples
Went on the bank holiday in July. Paid full price for 2 adults to find that house was not open even tho it advertises bank Holidays. And there was nothing at all down in courtyard where game of thrones was filmed tea room and shop was open..
Had a good walk round on very gravelly paths which were hard to walk on. The garden and scenery is lovely but other than that it was very disappointing.
I won't be rushing back to it...
I know large buildings like this within the national trust need alot of money to run but when charging full price either let people get there moneys worth or charge less to walk the grounds.
Would be an ideal place for kids to have a picnic and let of steam.
Written July 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

frank m
8 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Called in on Saturday at 3.50pm. The attendant on the gate told us the main house was closing at 4.00pm with all the other facilities closing by 5.00pm. He still charged us full price £12 per adult. It is a beautiful place and I understand the national trust needs to be funded but £24 for talking a walk is rather expensive. It would be more appreciated if they reduced their fees in the afternoon when you are not able to make use of all the facilities.
Written August 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mari Toch
Cardiff, UK34 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
Wrong information on website
Checked the website as visiting on a stormy Friday in October. “Cafe and house open” ( I took a screen shot but trip advisor doesn’t seem to allow me to upload it).
We arrived. Greeted at gate by two people who scanned both our cards, asked if we had visited before- we answered “No” and were given a map and were not told any restrictions for the day.
Signs from carpark poor to the house. Cafe closed and looked awful as surrounded by rickety wire fencing. Toilets the worse NT one’s ever seen- smelt bad , one out of order, looked like no one had cleaned there for weeks.
Got to house which was quite a long way on such a rainy day and vaguely noticed some sort of temporary sign set away from main door but had to hold on to my hood and my hair was flying everywhere. It wasn’t the day to stand and read a sign out in the rain and wind. Headed forward as could see people in hallway behind a closed door. Man peered back at us, then eventually managed to open the locked door a little and was quite abrupt informing me I had just walked past a sign explaining only guided tours available and he continued in this vane humiliating me in front of the people in the hall. It was blowing a gale, raining and I pointed this out and that the staff at the gate had not told us the house was not open which contradicted the website.
Someone behind him said we could come in and he reluctant repeated this but as I was humiliated and embarrassed I declined as I said we felt very unwelcome.
We went back to the car, drove down to the lough then left.
If I had paid for that visit I would have asked for a refund. As an annual member I am very disappointed. This place needs a serious management shake up!
Written October 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Trevor B
Randalstown, United Kingdom7 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
I would have to say I was somewhat disappointed with Castleward .Signage very confusing and stone pathways hard to walk on. Very easy to lose your sense of direction and where you were despite having a map/ guide
The facilities have massive potential but I feel they did not live up to my expectations. I have to say it is the least impressive National Trust property I have visited. Needs further capital expenditure on the infrastructure, I will revisit in a few years to see how it develops and improves .
Written July 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matthew J
2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Beautiful estate, lovely to cycle and walk in, can’t fault the grounds or it’s upkeep.

However at £10 per person I do feel somewhat aggrieved. I think the fairer pricing structure would be Maby £10 for car parking (to help with upkeep of the grounds, and then a fee per person for entry into the house itself, not everyone will visit the house but we all have to pay for it.
Written August 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MadDocNI
Belfast, UK1,207 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 • Family
The attraction is a lot closer to Strangford than Downpatrick.
Extensive parkland with walks, one down to the shore and jetty - quite a steep climb back, however.
There is a small cafe and giftshop, and entry includes a tour of the ground floor of the grand family house.
The outbuildings have a huge array of stables, laundry etc etc, plus a lot of 19th century agricultural machinery.
Best has to be the sunken garden, lowered 10 or more feet from the natural level (for no obvious reason), which was nicely laid out and maintained by the National Trust.
A good couple of hours diversion.
Written October 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Khun P
Cotswolds, UK42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
Location, history and beauty in one place. The House is incredibly interesting, grand, imposing, beautifully restored and offers an intriguing glimpse into what was clearly a party palace. Rooms full of character, cleverly staged. Excellent, very knowledgable, friendly staff and volunteers . Unparalleled far reaching views across the Lough. The Grounds are extensive with magnificent trees, lakes and landscapes. Child friendly with many educational attractions for younger visitors, dog friendly, most aspects wheel chair accessible. Castle Ward and its fantastic house and grounds did not disappoint, a must see and a very beautiful part of County Down. Abundant Bird life and cattle. Oh how they lived! A jewell in Ireland's crown!
Written April 10, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gary B
Vancouver, Canada485 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
Castle Ward was the last major location we visited while on a 3-day tour of Northern Ireland with Rabbies in May 2019. Sorry for the delayed review.

Castle Ward consists of the manor house, a 16th-17th Century defensive castle and ruins near the lough and the surrounding gardens and woodlands.

The manor house was the seat of Lord Bangor, and was first built by the Ward family who were the Earls of Kildare. The manor house has an odd dual architecture with the front and back of the house decorated in different styles (Paladian in the front and Gothic in the back). The back looks out over a deer park down to the Strangford Lough. We took a tour of the manor house and gardens but the real interesting part was the below stairs servant areas with the kitchens, laundry and food storage areas.

The defensive works near the lough (walls towers, cottages etc.) are I understand the older buildings and there are ruins further out along a headland. Apparently the defensive wall extends around most of the property. There are trails around the bay past mills, cottages, a boat house and what we thought might have been an ice house, and through the adjoining forest and fields. It really is a lovely area to walk about if the weather is good.

This entire area provided many locations for the Game of Thrones series including Winterfell, the Frey Castles (ruins of real life Audley's Castle), the Lannister encampment, and several North of the Wall scenes. If you want to see all of these locations, I suggest you search out Winterfell GoT filming locations in advance and bring a map along to navigate the details. The Trust does provide a map but it is labeled with new place names.

I thoroughly enjoyed our time here and we spent at least 3 hours visiting the manor house, old Castle Ward and the grounds.

I would really recommend Castle Ward for a visit.
Written September 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

njcavalier
Chatham, NJ393 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Castle Ward and its lovely grounds. A grand manor house, Castle Ward reflects the unhappy marriage of its first owners: The front facade of the house reflects the husband’s classic Georgian taste, while the rear facade reflects his wife’s love of Gothic architecture. More fascinating, the two styles continue inside the magnificent home, with the front rooms in Georgian style and the rear rooms filled with Gothic arches and other detail. And our tour National Trust guide, Dorothy, gave us a delightful, insightful tour of the home’s interior. There are also magnificent views from the lush grounds, a lovely sunken garden and more. This is a worthwhile visit in County Down.
Written August 13, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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