Castle Ward

Castle Ward, Strangford: Hours, Address, Castle Ward Reviews: 4.5/5

Castle Ward
Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks • Historic Walking Areas • Architectural Buildings
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10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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638 reviews
Very good

Khun P
Cotswolds, UK33 contributions
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.

Tomas O
2 contributions
Aug 2020
We spent the August Bank Holiday camping at Castle Ward on Strangford Lough. Idyllic setting with great facilities. It caters for camping, RVs, caravans and also has a number of Pods onsite.
We were part of a group of which also had a Pod for the 2 nights. Great facilities with the added extra of a small kitchen with access to Microwaves, Toasters and Kettles which were a great addition given we had 8 kids in our group all looking for toast, hot drinks etc. (single ring camp gas stoves have their limitations). We did a lot of walking, taking in the setting of Winterfell (GOT) and the surrounds and the weather played its part. We also walked to the village of Strangford and took the ferry across to Portaferry, a 10 minute trip across the Lough. Stangford is a cute little place with some local places to eat and a small supermarket in case you have forgotten anything.
On arrival we were greeted by Eric (concierge), a French man living in the area for many years and what a fountain of knowledge:-) He was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and what an asset he is to to Castle Ward National Trust. We also learnt that he was responsible for the superp wood art as you drive in at the gate lodge. Definitely a must visit location.
Written August 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kelly F
596 contributions
Aug 2020
We ended up not touring the interior of the castle because we didn't prebook tickets in advance, but we were able to visit the grounds, primarily for the Game of Thrones filming locations (we paid a small fee at the gate guard upon arrival). The "Winterfell" scenes were filmed at the old castle/ barnyard area and it was a little underwhelming but probably due to COVID regulations right now. We walked down to Audley's Castle too which was a beautiful spot looking over the river. Overall, the grounds here are gorgeous and it's neat to get a small taste of the GOT filming spots.
Written August 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Magherafelt, UK1 contribution
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.

Alison G
Islandmagee, UK11 contributions
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.

Trevor B
Randalstown, United Kingdom7 contributions
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.

JohnAnn B
Vancouver, Canada403 contributions
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.

Coventry, UK1,560 contributions
Sep 2021
Castle Ward grounds extend over a very big area offering many walks, waterside access and lovely views. When we visited the house was not open, for covid reasons, I think.

The cafe is in a pleasant space but the cakes rather stale

Audley Castle is part of the estate, despite a public road running between the main site and the castle. (So you can access the castle without visiting Castle Ward. It is not clearly signed though.) It is in a prominent location with lovely views over the lough.
Written September 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Downpatrick, UK132 contributions
Oct 2019
Grandchildren having been cooped up in the house over Christmas were getting stir crazy. As regular visitors to Castleward we knew the activities park would exercise them well. They spent most time on the Zip Wire which offered a thrill a minute alsogot sone good photos for the new 2020 calendar. When they were sufficiently exercised we took them to the cafe in the Court Yard which changed managers quite recently, we enjoyed coffee drinks and delicious cakes while relaxing in a comfy sofa.
The cafe was quite bizzy with a friendly buzz. The staff were really friendly and we had the pleasure of meeting the duty manager who helped us really feel at home.
The children with Grandmother took the opportunity to spent their Christmas in the gift shop, I have no idea wat they bought but there were broad smiles all round. Castle ward is highly recommended and I will continue to visit it whilst on my bike or in the caravan or car and when possible tahe the Grandchildren.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Roamerabout7070, Thank-you for leaving us a five star review! This is such a lovely review to read, we are so pleased you enjoy visiting our beautiful 820 acre estate regularly. It sounds like you have experienced so much across our estate - play parks, walks, bike rides, the café & shop! Do keep an eye on our website for upcoming activities and events. Thank-you for your support, Melissa
Written March 27, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Belfast, UK1,122 contributions
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.

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Castle Ward is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
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