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8 reasons to visit the newly restored Mount Stewart

Mount Stewart will come to life this weekend with an exciting programme of arts and animation.

Located on the shores of Strangford Lough in Co Down, Mount Stewart is one of Northern Ireland’s most loved historical houses.

Cared for by the National Trust, the 19th-century house has recently undergone a three-year £8 million restoration programme, making it a must-see attraction.

Mount Stewart Conversations Festival 2017 is taking place on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October, promising an exciting weekend for little and big kids alike.

Here are just a few things to explore during your visit:

1. Garden of Thought Experiments

Challenge your minds in the Garden of Thought Experiments where the world famous gardens will come to life and you will meet an array of characters that will challenge, amaze and engross you in the world of philosophy and introduce the young and old new ways to expand our minds.

2. Lakeside Clip Show

Drop into the Lakeside Clip Show and spend some time in the world of children’s entertainment. Explore it all from The Magic Roundabout to Ren and Stimpy with classic favourites.

3. Circus school

Test your circus skills at the circus school or learn about street art in an interactive workshop.  Try a Grime rap and production workshop, or leave your mark on the interactive Conversations art wall.

4. Mount Stewart’s woodlands

Take time to visit the natural play area in Mount Stewart’s woodlands, with its unique mix of climbing frames and walkways inspired by the story of the Magic Inkpot written by Edith, Lady Londonderry in 1928.

Wildlife fans should walk the one-mile red squirrel trail, which takes in the path around the lake and gardens. Mount Stewart and the Ards Peninsula has one of the few surviving populations of red squirrels in Northern Ireland.

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Mount Stewart

5. The Lookout

Step inside The Lookout, a wildlife interpretative centre showcasing the wildlife on Strangford Lough. Telescopes and remotely controlled cameras allow close up views of basking seals and breeding seabird colonies.

Turn your visit into a County Down short break, and stay at one of the family-friendly hotels nearby.

6. Castle Espie

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Castle Espie

There are loads of nearby attraction, including this WWT wetland centre is the perfect place to spend some quality time with your family in tranquil surroundings. Hides and nature walks allow you to get close to the wild birds and collection of endangered birds from around the world.

7. Exploris Aquarium

Located in Portaferry, visitors to the aquarium will enjoy a diver’s view of marine life from around the world.

Starting in Strangford Lough with Northern Ireland native fish you will travel to the Tropical Oceans to view coral reefs and finally to the dark depths of the Amazon Rainforest to meet reptilian inhabitants including a crocodile.

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Exploris

8. Heli Power

Experience magnificent aerial views of Belfast and the Ards Peninsula from the air.

Departing Newtownards Airport, the flight tracks towards Belfast via Stormont Estate then heads towards the Titantic Quarter and Harland & Wolf. Turning towards the Castlereagh Hills will bring the Ards Peninsula into view with its stunning array of islands and coastal towns.

For more information on Mount Stewart Conversations or to plan your short break to County Down, visit DiscoverNorthernIreland.com

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