A day off work mid week is always a treat and keen to make the most of the day, I set off early last Wednesday to Montalto Estate, a privately owned demesne situated on the outskirts of Ballynahinch, about a 30 minute drive from Belfast. The historic estate itself dates back to the early 1600s but it is the current owners, who purchased the property in 1994, who have set about transforming Montalto into the modern tourist attraction it is today, complete with café, shop and walking trails set in 400 acres of rolling Irish countryside. Having seen beautiful images on Instagram, it’s been on my ‘must-visit’ list for some time. I have to say…it didn’t disappoint.
On arrival, I set off for a wander along the Garden Walk, autumn in full swing and full of fading hydrangeas in gorgeous blues and pinks and every hue in between. I must have stopped every few minutes to take a photograph…
Scenes from The Garden Walk
Then I followed the trail that led around the lake, stopping first to take in the view of golden autumnal colours from the boathouse before walking further along to see Montalto House come into view across the water.
Views along The Lake Walk
Amazingly, despite the gloomy forecast, the weather held for my entire visit, staying crisp and calm and rain free, and just cool enough to merit a trip to the lovely café afterwards for a light lunch and a warming pot of tea. I should mention I had cake too (pear and raspberry bakewell tart) ! Of course, I couldn’t resist a browse through the shop (and the Christmas shop) and came away with some treats for the family and myself. All in all, it was an inspiring day – connecting with nature, getting in some photography practice and enjoying the warmth and cosiness of the café after two hours of gentle meandering along the trails.
I hope it’s not too long before I can return again.
For details on opening times, ticket prices as well as more information about the estate and it’s history, you can visit the Montalto Estate website
I’ll be sharing some more pics on my Instagram Stories later. You can find me here if you fancy a nosy.
In the meantime, have a lovely Sunday x