Gardens Open by Appointment 2019

Important Announcement 7th March 2020

"Owing to the proposed fundamental change in governance arrangements between the National Trust and the Ulster Gardens Scheme, the Ulster Gardens Scheme committee have, with great reluctance, decided that they are unable to continue to operate the scheme.
Given the particular nature of the scheme’s fundraising activities, which demand considerable time, effort and personal expense, the committee feel that the additional responsibilities being imposed upon them are unduly onerous for a small group of volunteers.
The committee regrets the future loss of enjoyment that the scheme’s open gardens have brought to the public over the past sixty years.
Having reached this decision, the committee have allocated all residual funds held in the accounts of the Ulster Gardens Scheme to various National Trust garden projects in Northern Ireland."

These gardens are open by appointment in aid of the National Trust gardens in Northern Ireland. This scheme is in addition to the established Ulster Gardens Scheme of fixed day openings.

Admission £4


10 Riverside Road, Bushmills, BT57 8TP

A large garden with deep borders and unusual plants and shrubs. Woodland walk, snowdrops, primroses, bluebells, scillas etc. large lawn, facing south with country views.

Location: From Bushmills take the Castlecat Road. After approximately 1 mile, turn right onto Riverside Road. Continue for 0.75 miles and turn left at house on left onto drive. Garden at end of drive, approx. 200 yards.

Tel: Mrs Pam Traill for appointment on 028 2073 1219 or 0792 2795 6720

All Year

17 Drumnamallaght Road, Ballymoney, BT53 7QX

An interesting garden with unusual plants, scree, crevice garden, stone troughs, herbaceous border, pond and a stream. Featured in the Greenmount Gardens television programme and listed in Shirley Lanigan’s book, The 100 Best Gardens in Ireland. Plants for sale.

Tel: Mrs Dorothy Brown for an appointment and directions to the garden on 028 2766 2923

April – end September

11 Sallagh Road, Cairncastle, Ballygally, Larne, BT40 2NE

A two acre plantsman’s garden situated on the Antrim Coast and consisting of a number of paths winding through maturing woodland. There are several small ponds and it holds an extensive collection of herbaceous plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees, many of which have been propagated by the owner. Large collection of Hellebores.

Parking limited. Not suitable for children. Partial wheelchair access.

Location: From A8 Belfast to Larne Road, turn left on B148 for Cairncastle at new Millbrook roundabout. After approximately 4 miles, leave B148 at ‘Old Dairy’ (yellow cottage), and fork left onto Sallagh Road. House is 0.75 miles on right, below road.

Alternatively: From A2 Coast Road at Ballygally, from rear of Ballygally car park turn left and drive approximately 1.75 miles to T junction. Turn left again onto B148 and then, shortly after, sharp right onto Sallagh Road access.

Tel: Mr and Mrs D Ledsham for appointment on 028 2858 3003

April – end October

13 Ballynagard Road, Ballyvoy, Ballycastle BT54 6PW

This country garden near Ballycastle, on a 0.5 acre site, is approximately 400ft above sea level with a stunning view of the sea and Kenbane headland. The garden is designed for the prevailing environmental conditions and to protect each section from the severe winds structured windbreaks have been created from ceanothus, potentilla, fuchsia, escallonia, weigela, cistus and conifers. From the first snowdrops, daffodils and primulas in the main garden there is a continual mass of colour until early autumn with lilies, agapanthus, alliums, azalea, hydrangea and many more.

At the end of the garden a number of small paths lead through a large rockery of mature plants and rhododendrons to a fruit tree area. Another area of the garden is planted with a wide variety of hostas, apple trees and other mature shrubs.

Due to limited car parking and narrow road, groups are limited to 10 and regrettably unsuitable for wheelchairs.

Location: Drive through Ballycastle, pass the Marine Hotel on left, take second exit at the roundabout onto the A2 and follow signs for Cushendall. Two miles onto Ballyvoy (Hunters Pub on corner) continue on A2 for 0.75 miles, Ballynagard Road is on the right. Drive approximately 0.75 miles and arrive at first bungalow on the right.

Tel: Tom and Penny McNeill for appointment on 077 5419 0687

Late May – September


7 Mount Charles North, Bessbrook, Newry, BT35 7DW

This garden is in the delightful 18th century village of Bessbrook. A connoisseur’s garden with a superb collection of alpines and clematis, cleverly planted with herbaceous plants and shrubs. There are alpines in troughs and a new addition is a crevice bed.

Location: From Belfast take the A1 for Dublin then take the A27 turn-off for Newry. At the roundabout take the 3rd exit under the bridge (signposted A28 Markethill/Armagh). At the 2nd roundabout take the 2nd exit (signposted Craigmore. Bessbrook 2). At crossroads at Millvale Arms turn right onto B133, after 0.6 miles take first left past Vauxhall Garage, Bessbrook B112. 0.3 miles past the Gospel Hall turn left through the iron gates at railings. The garden is 5 minutes from the main Belfast/Dublin A1.

Tel: Mr and Mrs W McKelvey for appointment on 028 3083 8006

Open May – August


3 Brooklands Park, Manse Road, Newtownards, BT23 4XY

A compact garden with emphasis on trees, shrubs, roses and herbaceous perennials grown to attract birds, bees and butterflies. It has an extensive range of plants, and the garden areas have features aimed to enhance and intrigue. The garden has been artistically planted to give year-round interest and the colourful, broad herbaceous border is an attractive feature at the front of the house.

Partially suitable for wheelchairs.

Location: From Dundonald follow the A20 to the roundabout at Ards Shopping Centre. Take the first exit onto Blair Mayne Road North. Turn left into Manse Road. Continue until you reach Brooklands Park on the left.

Tel: Miss Gillian Downing for appointment on 028 9181 5263

April – September

77 Magheratimpany Road, Spa, Ballynahinch, BT24 8PA

This delightful 25 acre garden includes a cottage garden, woodland with shade loving plants and a rock garden. There is a wonderful collection of trees and a wildlife pond.

Partially suitable for wheelchairs.

Location: South of Ballynahinch A24. 200 yards past the Millbrook Lodge Hotel turn right on to the Ballymaglave Road, towards Spa. Turn left on to Magheratimpany Road and Number 77 is on the left hand side.

Tel: Dr and Mrs Colin Tindall for appointment on 028 9756 2812

May – September

‘Glenkeen’, 12 Dunevly Road, Portaferry, BT22 1NB

This is a 12 year old, informal, half acre garden with a variety of interesting plants. The delightfully colourful garden includes soft fruits and vegetables and is wildlife friendly with bee hives. Woodturning studio, dolls' houses and local crafts for sale. 

Open 10am to 4pm during Creative Peninsula Week with refreshments available during the week.

Location: From Newtownards take the A20 main Newtownards to Portaferry Road. Approximately 6.5 miles from Kircubbin turn left into Dunevly Road (opposite Lough Cowey Lake sign) Number 12 is just over 1 mile on the left at a U bend. From Portaferry take A20 road towards Newtownards. Dunevly Road is just over 2 miles on the right.

Tel: Ann and Mike Miall for appointment on 028 4277 2418

Groups limited to 15 people

June, July and August

‘Forth Cottage’, 67 Lisnacroppin Road, Rathfriland, BT34 5NZ

This cottage garden has been extended and revamped over three generations of gardeners in the family. The changes reflect the greater variety of cottage type plants available in the 21st century and ideas inspired by many garden visits. The south facing rose garden, in front of the 19th-century part of the cottage, is planted for year round interest and gravel mulched for ease of maintenance. On the terrace, inside the walled garden, crevice style alpine troughs give spring interest, and gravel
paths wind through the beds. The middle lawn is original field grass, with curving beds and a west facing rock solar. The bottom garden is mostly wild flower planting, with the working area, compost bins and the ‘rompers and roamers bed’. The garden is largely wheelchair friendly with plenty of seating available. Car parking limited.

Location: Take the B10 Rathfriland Road, exiting from the A1. Go 7.5 miles, then take a right turn up a steep hill onto Lisnacroppin Road. After 2 miles on Lisnacroppin Road, the garden is on the right. Parking on right after the cottage. From Rathfriland go 2 miles on the B10 and turn left onto Lisnacroppin Road.

Tel: Mrs Helen Harper for appointment on 028 4065 1649

Maximum group of 10 people

May – July

Old Balloo House and Barn, 15-17 Comber Road, Balloo, Killinchy, BT23 6PB

Gardens of approximately one acre, developed around a late Georgian house and outbuildings, leading down to the River Blackwater. The garden immediately around the house, created in the mid-20th century, has been restored and extended by the current owners. A wide range of plants is placed artistically, within the different spaces. Winding paths take you through the garden where spring bulbs, especially daffodils, cherry and apple blossom, primula, flowering shrubs, roses, clematis and  specimen trees abound. The planting offers carefully framed views within the garden and to the surrounding farmland. Herbaceous material is used throughout the garden as under planting or in the New European Perennial style. Many of the plants have been propagated on site. The garden includes many interesting features such as a water-trough cascade, feeding a rill, which empties into a pond. Please note that part of the garden is not accessible to everyone due to the steep incline.

Unsuitable for young children and wheelchairs.

Location: Between Comber and Killyleagh on the A22 (on crossroads opposite Sofaland).

Tel: Lesley Simpson 028 9754 1485 or Moira Concannon 078 1141 6642 for appointment. Small groups only please, 6–8 max

Open April – June


‘Hampstead Hall’, 40 Culmore Road, Londonderry, BT48 7RS

A fascinating city garden in the suburbs of Derry. It is comprised of a Japanese style garden, an Italian garden and a formal garden in front of an elegant Georgian House. A new area is under development. Described and illustrated in Shirley Lanigan’s ‘The 100 Best Gardens in Ireland’. Partially suitable for wheelchairs.

Location: Follow the signs for the city centre after crossing the Foyle Bridge. After double set of traffic lights take second right into Baronscourt. House is third driveway on the right.

Tel: Mr Liam Greene for appointment on 028 7135 4807 (evenings)

Groups only

Open May – end September


Tattykeel House, 115 Doogary Road, Omagh, BT79 0BN

A country garden of approximately 1.5 acres created over a 25 year period, planted with conifers, shrubs, roses and perennials. There is a sheltered seating area, a Japanese influenced area, interesting features and a collection of well grown climbers on the house. The garden was featured on the BBC television series ‘Greenmount Gardens’. Mrs Ward runs a very interesting craft studio at the house.

Partially suitable for wheelchairs.

Location: Tattykeel House is approximately 2.5 miles from Omagh on the south side of the A5 Omagh to Ballygawley Road. There is a sign at the entrance gate.

Tel: Mr Hugh and Mrs Kathleen Ward for appointment on 028 8224 9801

May – July