Castle Ward Estate

Top choice in County Down

Famed for its role as Winterfell in Game of Thrones, 1760s-built Castle Ward House has a superb setting overlooking the bay west of Strangford. The estate's history is relayed in entertaining 45-minute upstairs/downstairs tours of the house and servants' quarters.

On the extensive grounds are a Victorian laundry museum, a farmyard, 16th-century Plantation tower Old Castle Ward and 15th-century tower house Castle Audley, along with walking and cycling trails.

Castle Ward House was built for Lord and Lady Bangor – Bernard Ward and his wife, Anne – whose widely differing architectural tastes resulted in an eccentric country residence – and a subsequent divorce. Bernard favoured the neoclassical style seen in the front facade and the main staircase, while Anne leaned towards the Strawberry Hill Gothic of the rear facade, which reaches a peak in the incredible fan vaulting of her Gothic boudoir.

There's a caravan park on the estate with pitches for tents.

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