For this week’s Super Sunday we went to the North Down Museum and Walled Garden.
The building, which is now home to the North Down Museum was originally the stables of the adjoining castle. Built for Robert Edward Ward in 1852. The castle is now in use by the council for offices, and weddings (including our wedding).
The museum has been open to the public since October 1984.
The walled garden is a restoration of an old style Victorian walled garden, built by the Ward family in 1840’s. The main purpose of the garden was to provide fresh fruit/vegetables, cut flowers and an area for recreation.
The garden was closed to the public for as long as I can remember, and was affectionately known as the secret garden by locals. However, the garden has been returned to its formal glory, and was reopened to the public in 2009.
Where is it?
Public transport- A train from Belfast to Bangor will take approximately 30 mins, or approximately 40 mins by bus.
I recommend checking with translink for up to date pricing and times of trains and buses. Both the museum and walled garden are a short walk from the station.
Car- Bangor is approximately a 30 minute drive from Belfast, there are a number of sign posts as you enter the town which will lead you to Bangor Castle. There is ample parking in both areas, although if you want to be sure, head for the walled garden first, there is a huge car park belonging to the leisure centre.
North Down Museum
Monday 10.00am – 4.30pm (Bank holidays, July/August only)
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 4.30pm
Sunday 12 noon – 4.30pm
Bangor Walled Garden
April – October
Monday – Thursday 10:00am – 8:00pm
Friday – Sunday 10:00am – 6:00pm
The garden is as you’d expect, full of hundreds of varieties of flowers and shrubs. During certain seasons fruit and veg is grown and sold at the local market. On the day we visited there was also a Yurt festival going on in the back gardens. If you visit during Sea Bangor Festival, you can visit the outdoor cinema in the gardens.
The gardens are beautifully maintained, and although summer really is the best time to visit, there was still plenty to see during autumn when we visited.
There are plenty of places to sit and rest, and take in the scenery. The fountain area is so peaceful and calm, and sits right in the centre of the gardens.
Through the archway, and beside the bandstand, is a small coffee shop, selling tray bakes and ice-cream. There are plenty of tables and chairs outside.
There is even a ‘Dog Spot’ which I thought was a lovely touch, as did Geoffrey!
North Down Museum
A short walk through Castle Park will bring you to the North Down Museum.
We absolutely loved the way the museum is set up taking you through the ages, right up until the present day.
There was plenty for kids to see and do, Megan enjoyed dressing up, as a viking and a monk.
The first area covers Bangor through the ages.
Upstairs there was a fantastic display depicting a viking settlement, I learnt a lot about the history of the vikings and even got attacked by a mini viking.
Downstairs, we got to put our feet up and relax on old cinema seats and watch a film about Bangor Football Club., who at the time of writing are celebrating their 100th anniversary.
Outside the cinema is a coffee shop which sells hot lunches, kids meals, tray bakes and scones. There is plenty of seating, both inside and out.
Within the museum is a beautiful gift shop selling local products, and bit and pieces for the kids.
Would We Go Again?
Yes, we love the Walled Garden, and go quiet often in the summer months, it’s a great place to get away from the busy town centre. As for the museum, when Megan is a little older and learning about the history of Bangor in school, this will make for a brilliant trip. I’m sure she’ll find all the information she needs here to help with the homework!
1. Bring a picnic and enjoy a lunch in the lovely setting of the walled garden. If you need a caffeine fix, there is a coffee shop on site.
2. Extend your day and bring the swimming costumes and pay Bangor Aurora swimming pool a visit. It’s located directly opposite the walled garden.
If reading enjoy reading about our days out in Northern Ireland. Check out our other blog post here – Northern Ireland