The sun shone on bank holiday Monday so, having tidied the garden a bit, we loaded the dogs into the car and set off for Mount Stewart House and gardens. My satnav got me there without too much trouble even taking into account the closed roads for the Marathon. (Just trying it out!) It is certainly a very popular spot and they had opened a field for overflow parking.
The estate was bought by the Stewart family, who later acquired the title, among many others, of Marquess of Londonderry, in 1744. It was then known as Mount Pleasant. The second marquess left it to his son Viscount Castlereagh who committed suicide a year later due to stress (must be something about Castlereagh). After a period of decline the wife of the 7th Marquess, Edith, took on the refurbishment of the house and a complete redesign of the gardens from 1915 to 1957 when, following he death it was taken over by the National Trust.
There are a number of specific gardens within the estate together with a large lake. There are extensive walks and the variety of trees, flowers and shrubs are unrivalled in any gardens I have visited.
A great place for walks and to take the children for a picnic.
Needless to say, having the dogs with us, we did not take a tour of the house but will return to do so at some later stage.