Categories: adventurefamilyFunOutdoorsHistory

The award winning, five star Montalto Estate, in rural Co. Down, is getting ready to unveil a  significant new tourism experience called The Lost Garden Trail. Made possible through major private investment, with additional support from Tourism NI’s Experience Development Programme,  The Lost Garden Trail will open to the public on 31st March, 2023.

The Lost Garden Trail, located within the 400-acre Estate, is part of Montalto’s ongoing business development strategy which identifies opportunities to support the longevity of the Estate, through the provision of unique tourism offerings. Having opened to the public in 2018, Montalto Estate provides a high-quality visitor experience, reconnecting visitors with nature through the Estate’s beautiful and historic surroundings. It also includes the award-winning wedding venue, The Carriage Rooms at Montalto.

During the 2018 opening preparations, the team at Montalto Estate uncovered stone slabs in an unexpected area, which led to a forgotten garden. Further investigative work was put on hold whilst focus continued on opening plans. With the arrival of 2020, the team took the opportunity to revisit the area, and continue the exploration of what else was still to be uncovered.

As a result, the team at Montalto Estate, working alongside a highly respected historic gardens consultant, has breathed life back into the garden. They’ve restored this historic setting, whilst adding sympathetic, contemporary elements. The Lost Garden Trail experience provides an understanding of what the area would have looked like back in 1912, when the Estate was owned by Lord & Lady Clanwilliam. The winding pathways, and diverse planting and features, will tell stories of days gone by which will help visitors step back in time, and experience a little of the tranquillity from that period.

David Wilson, Managing Director of Montalto Estate, said:
“We are delighted and very excited to be opening The Lost Garden Trail to the public. For the first time ever, visitors will have the opportunity to step back in time, and enjoy the tranquillity of this beautiful garden and its original pathways. Our aim at Montalto Estate has always focussed on providing a top-class visitor attraction which enhances the visitor experience in the region. With support from Tourism NI’s Experience Development Programme, we have breathed life back into this wonderful area. The Lost Garden Trail is a welcome addition to the character and heritage of this magnificent demesne, ensuring its long-term future as an important landmark and visitor destination within Co. Down.”

Supporting the opening of The Lost Garden Trail at Montalto, John McGrillen, Chief Executive, Tourism NI, said:
“We are delighted to support this exciting addition at Montalto Estate under the Experience Development Programme, a scheme which offered significant support to post-Covid regeneration for our tourism industry. Recent consumer sentiment research has confirmed that historic houses and gardens rank highly as a key motivator for both domestic and Republic of Ireland visitors, and the restored garden trail will serve to enhance the surroundings and visitor facilities on offer. Given the recent upsurge in visitors from the South, along with recovery of international visitor numbers, I am confident this project will entice culture seekers from near and far.”

Montalto Estate
Historic Sites, Houses, Castles & Buildings
Picture of Montalto House, Montalto Lake and Boathouse all within Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch.

Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch is a mystical and enchanting estate, set in magnificent natural surroundings. Visitor experience includes access to the estate's beautiful gardens; historic walks and trails and an exciting play area where children can engage, explore and learn.