Crystal Voluntourism Adventure: Protecting World-Class Gardens at Mount Stewart Estate

Part of Crystal’s “You Care. We Care.” program, this complimentary, volunteer-focused excursion takes you to historic Mount Stewart House & Gardens, where you will assist the groundskeepers in removing invasive plant species, helping to ensure the garden’s vigor and beauty for generations to come.

  • Code
  • Level
  • Walking Type
  • Activity Type
  • Age
    All ages
  • Duration
    Approximately 4½ hours

Traveling along the lively streets of Belfast, east to the market and manufacturing town of Newtownards, you will soon reach Mount Stewart House and Gardens.

The estate belonged to Lord Castlereagh, who served as British Foreign Secretary from 1812 until his death in 1822. Designed by George Dance, surveyor to the City of London and architect of the Newgate Prison, the house is impressively large and beautifully adorned.

Now owned by The National Trust, which is recognized as one of Europe’s leading conservation charities, they have responsibility for the protection and conservation of Mount Stewart House and Gardens, this wonderful 18th century historic mansion and 90-acre garden.

In the 1920’s, Edith, Lady Londonderry created the magnificent gardens at Mount Stewart which are considered one of the most unique and unusual in the island of Ireland, with the formal areas exuding a Mediterranean feel, and the wooded areas supporting a range of planting from all corners of the world. Due to the significance and importance of the gardens, essential conservation work is regularly undertaken to remove invasive species such as rhododendron ponticum and ivy.

As a group, you will work alongside their experienced gardening team to remove such invasive species from the gardens, thus ensuring its protection and conservation for future generations to enjoy.

Following your hard, rewarding work and as a gesture of appreciation, you will be invited to independently visit the interior of the exquisite House which has recently seen an extensive conservation project completed.

During your exploration of the estate’s interior, admire extensive memorabilia, including the 22 chairs Robert Viscount Castlereagh brought back from the Congress at Vienna in 1814, which now find a home in the dining room.

Enjoy some short free time in the Estate gift shop or indeed the café before departing for your return journey to your Crystal ship.

Important Notes:
This excursion is intended for guests seeking personal growth and a chance to volunteer in local communities. This excursion will require hands-on physical activity. As this excursion involves walking over uneven terrain and some stair climbing, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. Children must be accompanied by an adult. It is recommended that guests dress in warm, layered clothing and wear flat, sturdy footwear. Guests should also bring raingear in case of inclement weather. Gardening gloves and tools will be provided. This excursion will operate in all weather conditions. Flash Photography and tripods are not permitted inside Mount Stewart House. A minimum number of bookings is required for this excursion to operate. Pre-reservation of this Crystal Adventures excursion is recommended.