Belvedere House and Gardens lie on the shores of Lough Ennell, south(ish) of Mullingar, co. Meath, just off the N52. It is well sign-posted from the N52. Plenty of parking available.
We visited on a sunny afternoon in August and were able to enjoy the parkland, beautiful walled garden, woodland walks and the children particularly liked the two playgrounds near the cafe. Rooms in the House have been restored and can be visited (kitchens, dairy room, dining room, living room). Even though I thought our two young ones would be bored (aged 4 and 9), they were happy to look around. At the house you can hear the story of the jealous Earl who locked his wife away for several years because he suspected her of infidelity.
There are various marked walks through the extensive grounds, including a "Narnia" trail through the woods where children can find various creatures turned to stone by the White Witch (they appeared to me to be stone ornaments that can be purchased from a garden centre!!), and visit the beaver's dam, the stone table and the witch's castle (in reality a gothic gazebo). With a little encouragement from parents and use of imagination, younger children will find this fun.
There is also an "animal sanctuary" near the cafe and "Jealousy Wall" (an enormous folly; you can't miss it!), however, I hardly think two donkeys and a couple of goats really warrant the description of "animal sanctuary". Perhaps it's still in early stages.
The only disappointment was the food in the cafe, which is housed in the old stable block. The building is light and airy and looked a pleasant place to have lunch, however the food was awful. I ordered potato wedges with cheese, and expected to eat freshly prepared potato pieces with perhaps a nice Irish cheese. What I received was a dish of wedges cooked from frozen (I spotted them in a freezer near the cafe only after the event!) topped with tasteless very synthetic-looking cheese. Not good.
we paid €24 for a family ticket and spent an afternoon at Belvedere.
the woodland walk (Narnia Trail) and the walled garden; children loved the playgrounds.
take a picnic with you and enjoy it at the lakeside picnic tables (if only we'd known!!).
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