Built in the 18th century for Lord Bangor and his wife, this mansion blends Palladian and Georgian Gothic styles of architecture.
The Ward family has lived at Castle Ward since around 1570. The current building was built in the early 1760s for the 1st Viscount Bangor and thought to be designed by the architect James Bridges. The 1st Viscount and his wife, Lady Ann Bligh, had two very different ideas about how they wanted the house to look: it’s half Georgian Gothic, half Palladian. These differences continue on the inside of the house, too, which you can visit on a guided tour.
In 1748, the 2nd Viscount Bangor inherited the house from his father. However, he was deemed insane and his youngest brother, Robert, decided to move him to a smaller house into Downpatrick in 1812 and strip Castle Ward of valuable items. But when the 3rd Viscount inherited the house in 1827, he and his family restored the building. In 1950 it was given to the Government of Northern Ireland, who gave it to the National Trust in 1952.
You might recognise the Georgian farmyard from the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones, which often used Northern Ireland as a film location. Head a bit further out from the castle to see the restored sunken garden, or take a canoe out onto Strangford Lough. But if water isn't your thing, you can simple walk or go for a cycle in the woodlands, or pick up a book from the second-hand bookshop in the house.