Historic Homes and Gardens of County Down
From Oakleigh House B&B follow the east coast to Strangford, where you should visit the National Trust property of Castle Ward. An 18th Century mansion built in two styles to accommodate the two different tastes of husband and wife. The west front is classical and the east front is Gothic style. There is a Victorian laundry and pastime centre and a water driven sawmill and corn mill. It is set in 700acres on the shore of Strangford Lough.
Cross Strangford Lough on the ferry and drive north to visit Mount Stewart House and Garden. It is an 18th Century house with 19th Century additions. When the home of Lord Castlereagh, the family collected works of art and furniture from all over the world. Mount Stewart also has one of the greatest gardens in the British Isles with all styles of gardening, a wondrous plant collection and extraordinary stone animal collection.
Travel to Newtownards to see Scrabo Tower and call in at Rowallane Gardens, a National Trust property outside Saintfield. Noted for its collection of azaleas and rhododendrons and featuring a walled garden, rock garden, wood and wildflower meadows.. On the way home call in at Seaforde Gardens and Tropical Butterfly House, home to hundreds of free flying tropical butterflies as well as parrots, reptiles and insects. Beautiful gardens include a maze and many rare trees and shrubs