Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens

Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens

Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens
4.5
Speciality MuseumsArchitectural BuildingsGardens
About
Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens is famous for its magnificent Regency period house, beautiful formal gardens and world renowned arboretum. It is located 12km east of Cork City on the northern shore of Cork Harbour, adjacent to Cobh. Fota House was built by the Smith Barry family and was redesigned by John "The Magnificent" Smith Barry in the 1820’s. Today you can hear Fota's legendary stories for yourself with guided tours led by a team of volunteers whose passion for heritage is contagious!Our guides will show you the grand principle rooms with their exquisite decor. A special feature is our service wing, where you can experience what life was like for the cooks, butlers, footmen and maids who supported the lavish lifestyles of the gentry. Experience the the heavenly rose garden and explore the arboretum where you will discover a host of rare and majestic trees. A key feature of our recent restoration programme is the Victorian Frameyard Garden, now one of the finest in the country. Visitors can also enjoy top class food in the cafe and browse in the gift shop, Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens is a charitable organisation and is managed by the Irish Heritage Trust. Our high season is from April to September, when the house is open for public tours. A guided tour of the house is €8 per person.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Tours & experiences
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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 bubbles193 reviews
Excellent
138
Very good
42
Average
7
Poor
3
Terrible
3

Eve O
1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021 • Couples
Came here with my husband and 11month for his first trip to see Santa. The overall experience leading up to seeing Santa was very good and it was lovely to walk around the old house.

When we got there it was pouring rain and we went to take shelter under the enter ace of the house as there was nobody there. We were quickly told we’re weren’t allowed to stand there.

When we saw Santa there was no option to have a proper photo taken. We were asked for our phones (which during Covid is unsanitary) and every single picture we have is blurry.
It’s really disappointing and not really what your paying to go to Santa for. When we got out of the room we were carrying three coats two bags and an 11month old we asked could we put his coat on before goi g outside (as we were shoed out the door from Santa and it again was still pouring rain outside) but we were told no we had to go straight out. There was nobody in the hall.

Overall probably wouldn’t recommend it to be honest which again is such a shame.
Written December 22, 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.

Just So
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Business
We attended a Local Enterprise event at Fota House and Gardens with Hanna's Bees and it was one of the best events I have ever attended. We had a presentation in the house then a walk to the walled gardens where we had a delicious lunch and then Ian the head gardener took us on a wonderful and informative tour of the garden and orchard. His knowledge was impressive and he was great to answer questions. The whole event from start to finish was very enjoyable.
Written May 22, 2024
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.

Olivia C
Waterford, Ireland111 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
An amazing experience. On the day we visited we had intended to walk around the beautiful gardens but we stumbled on an Orchard Tour. We were taken around the various poly tunnels and orchard by gardener Ian. Although apples were not ready for picking it was interesting to see the different varieties - some of which we were familiar with, other new to us.
We also looked into the polytunnels to see cucumbers, gherkins and chilies growing. The various varieties of tomatoes were very interesting -these include brown tomatoes.
We finished our tour back at the house where we relaxed for a while with coffee and cake, served by a very friendly, helpful young man called Adam.
We hope to return very soon, the next time to take a tour of the house itself.
Written July 31, 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.

Steve Y
Silver Spring, MD4,053 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
This was my 2nd visit to Fota House and Gardens. However this time we did a guided tour of the mansion. It was really cool and informative.
We then checked out the surrounding gardens and orangery.
Gardens are well kept and the cafe still remains a treat!
Written July 20, 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.
Hello Steve Thank you very much for your kind review. We are thrilled that you have taken the tour of Fota House and found it cool! Please call again soon. The House and Gardens are open seven days a week. regards Bryan Conlon Visitor Services Manager.
Written August 4, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LexiR
Cork, Ireland403 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022 • Family
Had a lovely time here yesterday for the Snakes and Shamrocks trail. The kids loved doing the trail and reading the facts and completing the trail. They were delighted with their jelly snakes at the end. This was followed by lots of running around and exploring in the gorgeous gardens and tree climbing. Lovely cafe which has good coffee and pastries.
Written March 20, 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.

Sharon M
Dublin, Ireland18 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Friends
As a member of The Irish Heritage Trust, and having had a lovely tour of Johnstown Castle earlier this year, I took the opportunity to join a tour of Fota House last week. Our guide Michael gave us a fascinating account of the history of the house over the centuries. Really enjoyed it. Like stepping into Downton Abbey!
Written April 15, 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.

Lisa O
115 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Solo
Practically everyone knows about Fota Wildlife Park and Fota Island Resort, but for some reason, there's little noise about the House and Gardens. This, I feel, should be rectified ASAP as what a little gem!! Not only is it a 'Big House' open to the public in Cork, but as our tour guide Rita pointed it, it's got the most extensive art collection outside of the National Gallery and it boasts last remaining game larder in the country. The House has been extensively restored and while there is a charge for the tours, you can see where your money is going. What's extra nice about the house is, although you're told not to touch the art or furniture it's set up to look that a house that's lived in, ie, a pipe on the table in the library, no roping off of the art work, unlike other museums and gallery's. The staff are super friendly, and during the tour of the house, made the history of the house, not only fascinating but funny and also gave you interesting facts about the time period, such as where the saying 'your face will crack' originates from, but you'll have to take the tour yourself to find out! There's a lovely cafe, and seating outside which is ideal for summer weather. While there's a fee for a tour of the house, the cafe is open to the public. There's also a tour of the Arboretum, which will be for the next trip there, but you're free to amble about the garden to the best of my knowledge. Definitely gets my number one spot of attractions in Cork.
Written June 10, 2015
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.

LexiR
Cork, Ireland403 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Couples
Visited the gardens for the first time today. The house and cafe were closed (until April). Gardens are lovely. Great place to pass an hour. Lots of families and couples around so there was a lovely atmosphere. There were a lot of dog walkers around as well, but all of the dogs were kept on the lead so this was fine. There is a €3 charge for the car park on your way out. Will be returning.
Written March 8, 2015
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.

JaneSY4
Shrewsbury, UK8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2014 • Friends
Fota is a great example of an Anglo-Irish 'big house' in which both the grand rooms used by the owners, and the service wing used by the servants, have survived and have been meticulously restored. The plasterwork in the main house is outstanding, as are the kitchens and larders. The stories of the people who lived in the house (on both sides of the green baize door) are very well told, and as a result there is a real sense of what life was like.
The gardens are equally enchanting. The Italian garden and the frameyard with its Victorian glasshouses have been restored, and the house is surrounded by rolling lawns and an arboretum with a lake, fernery, winding paths and some truly outstanding specimen trees. Just the place to walk off that delicious cake you couldn't resist in the cafe....
I will certainly be back!
Written September 27, 2014
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.

jim t
Russell, Canada443 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2015 • Couples
Close to Cobh, the house has guided tours which were very well done. It was an interesting house with many artifacts of the era. The tour provided interesting info on the house. We would go again. There is also a cafe inside worth stopping for a bite.
Written June 12, 2015
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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Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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