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Please check with garden owners or their website to confirm current dates open
Open daily except 1 January, 12 July, 25&26 December and 31December)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30am - 5.00pm
Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am - 9.30pm
Saturday and Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm
Garden Coffee Shop is open from 9.00am daily.
A range of individual rooms for conferencing, meetings, workshops and events are available for hire at reasonable rates. A number of outdoor spaces including the inner courtyard, events field and the Large Parterre are also available to hire for special events. If you are looking for a venue for meetings, conferences or general functions, please contact us on 028 9448 1338 for further information on availability and rates.
Dogs on leads and cyclists are welcome in most areas of the Gardens with the exception of the Large Parterre, Ancient Motte and Her Ladyship's Pleasure Garden.
Clotworthy House and the surrounding complex of buildings provide a range of new facilities that support garden heritage and the arts. Look out for:
Spaces for community gardening and landscape design.
Large Parterre Pavilion - an outdoor classroom and covered activity area.
The Oriel Gallery for fine and applied art exhibitions. A new state of the art gallery has been created in the former Long Barn and features a year-round programme of exhibitions.
The Eyre Studio for community music activities.
-The Garden Coffee Shop - Visitors to Clotworthy House can now enjoy the new on site coffee shop operated by our catering partner, Castle Catering Ltd. The coffee shop is open daily serving quality refreshments, snacks and meals. Bespoke hospitality can be booked for conferences, weddings, events and private functions.
Visitor Gift Shop - The new shop stocks a range of gifts from homeware to jewellery, greetings cards and publications. We also stock books on garden history, design, heritage plants and pioneer gardeners. The shop maintains the Council's standards on sourcing Fairtrade products while also supporting local producers, craft makers and organic growers.
-Community Arts Facilitation Training
Are you a community organisation leader, youth worker or do you volunteer with a nursery group?
Would you like to learn some new skills to take back to your community?
Then why not come along to one of our training courses and pick up some new tricks and tips?
For general information or to book places on courses contact reception at Clotworthy House on 028 9448 1338 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Oriel Gallery and Massereene Room at Clotworthy House have been approved for civil wedding ceremonies from May 2012. Full on-site wedding packages including the hire of rooms for receptions are currently being developed in consultation with our catering partner, Castle Catering Ltd. For enquiries on civil ceremonies please contact the Registrar at Antrim Borough Council on 028 9448 1315.
The Garden Coffee Shop - Visitors at Clotworthy House can now enjoy the new on site coffee shop operated by our catering partner, Castle Catering Ltd. The coffee shop is open daily serving quality refreshments, snacks and meals. Bespoke hospitality can be
Antrim Castle Gardens is uniquely situated on the doorstep of Antrim Town, Antrim Forum Leisure Centre, Antrim Stadium and the shores of Lough Neagh and the Lough Shore Park. Amble along the riverside path leading from Antrim Castle Gardens, and you'll find yourself on the beautiful shores of Lough Neagh. Or why not leave the Gardens via the Barbican Gate and explore the town centre and main shopping area? Stop off at the Old Courthouse Information Centre and pick up a self guided Heritage Trail which offers the opportunity to learn more about this historical town. Or if you feel like taking part in some recreational activity, across the river you'll find the fantastic Antrim Forum with its swimming pool, spa and ten pin bowling, while just a short drive away is Allen Park where you can enjoy a game of golf or bowls.
How to get here : From Belfast, stay on M2 until reaching the junction for Antrim/Ballymena/Coleraine (A26). At the top of the slip road turn left, towards Antrim town. Proceed straight through three roundabouts (passing Junction One Outlet Stores on the right and a large petrol station on the left) before turning right at the fourth roundabout onto the Randalstown Road (A6). Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House is the first turn on your left approx. 200 yards from the roundabout.
By foot, access from the Antrim town is via access points along the Dublin Road boundary wall opposite the Castle Mall car park. Some temporary diversions are in place for site works. If arriving by bus or train, Clotworthy House is a 10 minute walk via Oriel Road and Randalstown Road.
Antrim Borough Council is proud to present a new era at Antrim Castle Gardens in providing visitors and the local community with programmes of activities bringing this historic and naturally beautiful setting to life. The recent reopening of Clotworthy House represented the first important step towards the revitalisation of Antrim Castle Gardens, one of the most unique and historically intact gardens in the United Kingdom and throughout Ireland.
For local people the Gardens and Clotworthy complex offer a beautiful location close to Antrim town centre for a stroll, a coffee or the opportunity to experience a variety of exhibitions. They also offer the opportunity to learn more about the Gardens, the Massereene family and in many ways the history of Antrim itself. For visitors, local, national and international, Antrim Castle Gardens is a destination like no other which is sure to be a firm favourite in a short space of time.
The Large Parterre
A small parterre was located in an enclosed garden compartment at the eastern side of the southern end of the canal. The garden probably had other parterres which await discovery with further research. However, a Large Parterre was laid out in a field to the west of the long canal during the 1990's so visitors could fully experience what the early garden looked like. This area had a varied history and had been in the late 18th and early 19th century a kitchen garden with a small glass house, while in the 20th century it was used as a hockey and cricket ground as well as agricultural showgrounds. The field with its high lime hedges had already a 17th century feel and made an ideal location for a reconstruction of a late 17th or 18th century formal parterre with boxed edged beds and period planting. The design of the beds was based on a parterre recovered by archaeology at the destroyed formal garden at Castle Coole, County Fermanagh. A platform was created at the northern end so the pattern of the parterre could be fully appreciated. Other 17th century features include groves of hornbeam planted in a quincunx formation.
The Italianate Tower
The only remaining remnant of Antrim Castle, has been preserved and the Castle 'footprint' and grand entrance have been marked out, giving an insight into the scale and layout of the building. A few surprises have been unearthed in the course of recent restoration work. Many previously hidden features from the original garden layout have been revealed including a network of tunnels and a Pleasure Garden where 'Her Ladyship' would have often taken a stroll.
Many local people will be familiar with the story of the wolfhound reputed to have saved the life of Sir Hugh Clotworthy's wife, Lady Marian. The wolfhound, immortalised in stone and one of the earliest found in Ireland, has recently been relocated to the new courtyard at Clotworthy House. Today, Lady Marian's protector takes pride of place in the landscaped courtyard and still looks out towards Lough Neagh defending the Gardens.
The Biodiversity Games is a recording project supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 'Your Heritage' Programme, in partnership with eight Biodiversity Officers. The project, which is open to all ages, aims to get people involved in helping their local biodiversity, so 'get recording'!
-Supporting Local Communities
Antrim Castle Gardens is a unique resource at the heart of the local community as well as a visitor attraction of national significance. Antrim Borough Council is committed to fostering and developing community engagement through;
-A 'Garden Friends' Volunteer Group to develop community gardening on-site.
-Provision of activity/meeting rooms at special concessionary hire rates for groups
engaged in cultural activity (contact reception for further information).
-Grant aid support for cultural activity and artists bursaries under the auspices of the Antrim Borough Arts and Heritage Committee
-Grants and Bursaries
Antrim Borough Council through the Borough Arts and Heritage Committee promotes a Small Grants and Young Artists Bursary scheme. Funding is available to groups and individuals for a range of cultural activities. The bursary scheme is promoted in association with the Enkalon Foundation and is aimed at young people under 25 years who can demonstrate a high level of achievement in the Arts. For further details, contact reception at Clotworthy house.
Application forms and funding criteria can be downloaded from the publications link at www.antrim.gov.uk
During the recent restoration process, Clotworthy House, the original castle stables and the surrounding buildings have been re-designed with increased emphasis on garden heritage facilities and exhibits on the Massereene story, the history and evolution of the Gardens and myths and legends associated with the site.
The brand new light-filled Oriel Gallery provides a unique backdrop to a wide ranging series of exhibitions, guaranteeing something for everyone.
A contemporary, state of the art multipurpose venue with top of the range recording facilities. Eyre studio serves groups and associations throughout the Borough in facilitating musical rehearsals, performance workshops, choirs and music groups.
Antrim Castle Gardens is a complex living museum containing over four centuries of culture and heritage alongside remnants of the Massereene family dynasty; it is the most unique historic garden under public ownership in Northern Ireland. The original location of Antrim Castle has now been integrated within the wider garden landscape in a contemporary and innovative way. At the heart of the garden is the refurbished building complex that includes Clotworthy House.
History: From the influences of Andre La Notre, designer of the Palace of Versailles in France in the 17th century through to the neo-tudor styling of Clotworthy House embraced by architectural genius Sir Charles Lanyon in the 19th century, Antrim Castle Gardens is a national treasure.
Massereene family names have become synonymous with the local area through the naming of roads, streets, hospitals, schools and much, much more. The decline of the family fortunes during the 20th century also marked a period of change for Antrim. The 1960's was an important decade, as the Gardens passed into public ownership, and Antrim was designated a 'New Town'. The demands of a growing population were met by the development of recreational areas while appreciation of the historical significance of the gardens went into decline. Now under the custodial care of Antrim Borough Council and with substantial grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the dawn of the 21st century marks the renaissance of a garden forgotten through time.