Come and visit Grey Abbey House & Gardens
Grey Abbey House welcomes historical, architectural and horticultural groups and we are able to provide lunch, tea and dinner by arrangement. We cater for flexible numbers and larger groups can also be accommodated.
Various organisations visit the Grey Abbey Estate on a regular basis, along with some popular events such as the County Down Traction Engine Club who hold an annual rally on the Estate. We have also hosted classic car meetings for the MG Owners Club and Rolls Royce Owners Club.
As well as local and national visiting groups, we also have visitors from much farther afield. The Australian Garden History Society visit us annually, and we have welcomed various groups from the Royal Horticultural Society and garden enthusiasts from France, Italy and Sweden. Students from two horticultural colleges in France come to work in the gardens every summer.
Some of Grey Abbey's visitors
It is always exciting to welcome visitors from other countries and Grey Abbey has a long-standing arrangement with overseas groups such as the Australian Garden History Society and guests from Academic Arrangements Abroad, who visit us on a regular basis via their their cruise ship Sea Cloud II. We also have annual visits from passengers aboard the Hebridean Princess.
Both of these ships drop anchor in Portaferry, at the sea entrance to Strangford Lough, and following their visit to Grey Abbey, passengers only have a short journey in order to re-join their ships.
This summer we were happy to host another annual meeting for the MG Owners Club of Northern Ireland. Grey Abbey House provides the perfect venue to showcase the member's cars.
The first proper meeting was in 1981, as a result of a small publicity campaign launched in the Belfast and County Down area. They now have around 180 members throughout the Province and have a very active programme of events throughout the year, all of which are very well supported.
County Down Traction Engine Club
Every summer for the past seven years, we have hosted an annual meeting for the County Down Traction Engine Club. Grey Abbey House provides the club with a classic setting for this rally and to show off these amazing machines.
The County Down Traction Engine Club works in close association with D. Coy - an independent group of military vehicle enthusiasts primarily based in the County Down area.
Committed to the restoration and preservation of iconic and historical military vehicles, they believe in getting them out to shows such as the one at Grey Abbey, and especially those in support of charities.
Photo Shoots at Grey Abbey
Grey Abbey House and its environs are often requested as a location for photography as it provides a classical backdrop for a number of occasions and subjects.
Recently, we hosted a photo shoot for Courtney Stuart with her dressage horse Luther. The façade of Grey Abbey House provided the perfect setting for them.
Courtney is a rising star in the dressage world and based at Gransha Equestrian, County Down. She is curently competing at PSG and I1 working towards Grand Prix.
Courtney was chosen to represent Ireland at the '2017 BYRDS Home International, with her horses Flynn and Luther.
Photography by Bradley Henderson
Nature & Wildlife
The environs of Strangford Lough are a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Special Scientific Interest (SSI).
Our temperate climate supports a wide variety of flora & fauna and we are fortunate to have some special and unique natural history on the Grey Abbey Estate.
The lake is home to Otters, native Swans and migratory Swans that overwinter here. We also have our own colony of Red Squirrels, rare trees and interesting fungi.
Queen's University, Belfast, the RSPB and other organisations have carried out geological surveys of the Estate, monitored Red Squirrels and wild birds such as Yellowhammers, and recorded our Fungi.