Castle Ward sits on the south shore of Stangford Lough, nestled amid woodlands, gardens and the beauty of the lakeshore. This manor house is unique because it is made up of two completely different styles of architecture and décor.
Bernard Ward, the First Viscount Bangor, and his wife, Anne, built the home in the 1760s. According to history, they could not agree on the style for their new abode, so they each chose what they liked for half of the mansion.
Lord Bangor took the front portion, and chose a Classical, orderly and restrained style of architecture and furnishing, while Anne’s half, located at the back of the house, was designed and furnished in a more whimsical and ornate Strawberry Hill Gothic.
The two styles converge in the entrance hall, where classical stucco fruit and figure ornaments mingle with more humorous articles, such as a genuine fiddle, basket and hat, coated in plaster and mounted on the wall.
A particularly interesting feature is the Victorian playroom, equipped with a rocking horse, books, and dress up clothes. Children can play with period toys such as hoops, stilts, and tops. History also indicates that The Wards separated soon after the house was completed.
On the grounds, there is ample opportunity for scenic walks on the paths through the forest and along the lake. Restored estate buildings of all types are a testament to the amazing amount of effort and cost expended to sustain an aristocratic way of life on a country estate in centuries past.
Visitors can tour the farmyard, 16th century tower, and the Strangford Lough Wildlife Center, and enjoy a modern playground for the children. There is also an interesting Victorian style laundry and a theatre in the stable yards, where summertime operatic performances are held.