Historic Montalto Estate gets ready to enchant as a new visitor attraction
John McGrillen, Chief Executive Tourism NI, David Wilson MD of Montalto Estate and Estate duty manager Bernie Hyland.
Montalto Estate, a 400 acre private estate located in rural Co. Down only minutes from the centre of Ballynahinch, is getting ready to open to visitors for the first time in its history. Owned by the Wilson family, the new visitor attraction represents a major private investment creating up to 30 new full and part time jobs in the tourism sector as well as the employment of 40 construction jobs.
The Wilson family, well known for running a range of successful Northern Ireland businesses, purchased Montalto Estate in 1995. Following a major renovation of the entire estate they developed an exclusive luxury venue for business and corporate clients. In 2012 this expanded to include the award-winning wedding venue – The Carriage Rooms at Montalto. Their on-going business development strategy identified an opportunity to support the sustainability of the Estate through the provision of a unique tourism offering. This features the opening up of the estate to the public by providing a high quality visitor experience aimed at reconnecting with nature through the estate’s beautiful surroundings.
Steeped in a long and fascinating history and set in a magnificent natural backdrop, Montalto Estate aims to reconnect visitors with nature through access to a range of captivating gardens and beautiful walks and trails. The development of this new tourism offering will help to ensure the long term sustainability of the estate for future generations to enjoy as well as complement the existing tourism portfolio across the region.
The Montalto Estate visitor experience will include; public access to the estate’s beautiful gardens with features including many varieties of flora and fauna along with unique and surprising garden features; historic walks and trails including the Lake Walk, the Garden Walk and the Woodland Trail with an exciting play area where children can play, explore, learn and wonder at their natural surroundings. A purpose built centre, designed in keeping with the look and feel of the estate will include a welcome area featuring interpretation of the estate’s history; a stylish 120 seat café offering flavoursome and beautifully presented food and a shop that will offer a mix of estate produce, local craft products and many other unique and exceptionally designed items.
David Wilson, Managing Director of Montalto Estate, said:
“ We are delighted and very excited to be opening Montalto Estate to the public. For the first time ever visitors will have the opportunity to see the beautiful gardens, walks and trails that makes Montalto a truly mystical and enchanting place to visit. This investment is part of our ongoing business growth strategy which includes the award winning The Carriage Rooms at Montalto wedding and conference venue. Our aim is to provide a top class visitor attraction which will not only add to the existing Northern Ireland visitor experience but which will encourage visitors into the region. The investment also provides us with the opportunity to preserve the unique character and heritage of this magnificent site which will help to ensure its long term future as an important landmark and visitor destination within Co. Down.”
Supporting the opening of Montalto Estate, John McGrillen, Chief Executive, Tourism NI said:
“We welcome this investment in Montalto Estate and are delighted to see this new addition to our long list of unique and high quality visitor attractions. 2017 was another record year for tourism as we welcomed almost 5 million visitors to Northern Ireland. Attractions such as Montalto Estate which enable visitors to connect with the culture, heritage and landscape of Northern Ireland are key to ensuring our continued success in attracting visitors to the region.”
Montalto Estate will open to the public in the autumn. Opening hours are Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm. Access to site including car park, welcome area, café and shop is free. Gardens, Trails and Walks will be ticketed with prices starting from £7.50 (adults) and Children (age 5 – 16) £5.00 with discounted rates when you book in advance online. Children under 5 are free. Visit www.montaltoestate.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ExploreMontalto.