Castle Ward

Castle Ward is a building of two halves, the result of the ultimate marital compromise. Lord Bernard Ward wanted to live in a neoclassical mansion, but his wife Lady Anne was a big fan of Gothic architecture. So they built both.

The 18th century property, now run by the National Trust, is one of the most eccentric buildings in the UK. From the front, it appears to be a typical Palladian-style Georgian building with grand columns and round arched windows. Walk to the back and you’ll find Gothic pointed arches, battlements and spires, as if the house had been built 300 years earlier.

Castle Ward’s interior is divided in exactly the same way, with wood panelling and columns in Lord Bernard’s half and a Gothic boudoir in Lady Anne’s. Much more information about this odd couple is available at the house.

It’s not all about architecture at Castle Ward – the 820 acre grounds retain most of the buildings used to keep the Ward family in luxury, including a corn mill, sawmill, a Victorian laundry and farm buildings. The grounds have been used by the makers of the Game of Thrones TV series to depict Winterfell, and there are Westeros-themed tours available.

Castle Ward also has crafting exhibitions where artisans and experts make pottery and jewellery.

Elsewhere at Castle Ward, visitors can find a fascinating sunken garden and undisturbed woodland, which is perfect for walking and cycling. One trail goes along the shores of Strangford Lough so visitors can see ducks, swans and even rabbits.

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