The stunning Bantry House and Gardens is one of the most beautiful estates in Ireland.
The historical stately home is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way overlooking the beautiful Bantry Bay.
It’s a great place to stroll around or stop in for a fancy feed at the tearoom. It’s also a stone’s throw from plenty of other things to do in West Cork, which make it a great addition to a visit to the area.
Whether you’re scouting places for your dream wedding or just looking for a day out in Bantry, here’s a quick guide to visiting Bantry House and Gardens.
Some quick need-to-knows about Bantry House and Gardens
Although a visit to Bantry House in Cork is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
You’ll find Bantry House in Cork, just outside of Bantry Town. It overlooks the water in the bay and is conveniently opposite the Whiddy Island ferry pier.
Here’s an overview of how much admission to Bantry House costs (note: prices may change – get the most up-to-date info on their website):
- Adult Estate Admission: €14
- Child Estate Admission: (5-16)-€5
- Family Estate Admission: €33
- Concession Estate Admission: €11.50
A brief history of Bantry House and Gardens
Bantry House was built in 1710 and was then referred to as Blackrock. In 1765, Councillor Richard White bought it and changed the name to Seafield.
Below, you’ll find a brief history of Bantry House and Gardens. You’ll discovery the full story when you step through its doors.
The White Family
The White family had settled on Whiddy Island in the bay in the late 17th century after having been merchants in Limerick.
They did really well for themselves and went on to purchase land around the house to add to the estate. By the 1780s, Bantry House and Gardens spanned across 80,000 acres.
The gardens were developed by the second Earl of Bantry and his wife Mary in the 1800s. The ongoing project saw seven terraces developed, with a hundred steps, fountains and beautiful flowering plants.
The estate was used as a hospital during the Irish Civil War in the 1920s and then as a base for the Second Cyclist Squadron of the army during the Second World War.
Open to the public
It was officially opened to the public for the first time in 1946. During this time, the gardens were neglected and left to wither in certain places. In the late 1990s, a European Grant helped to fund the restoration and revival of the stunning garden area, which is still ongoing.
Things to see at Bantry House in Cork
If you’re looking for places to visit in Cork when it’s raining, Bantry House is a great shout, as you can take a tour of the house itself.
Here are some other things to see at Bantry House and Gardens, including Bantry House Afternoon Tea (very fancy, I know!).
1. Step back in time at the house
The house is open for visitors so you can step back in time and wander around the elegantly refurbished and restored rooms.
The walls are adorned with an important collection of art treasures collected by the second Earl of Bantry on his grand tours around the world.
The visits are self-guided with guidebooks available and a free briefing on the history of the house given a couple of times per day.
2. Then ramble around Bantry Gardens
The gardens have been completely revived since the 1990s with ongoing works of improvement. The original seven terraces and main fountain still dominates the southern part of the house.
The northern terraces have 14 round beds flanked by replica statues. There are also two walks in the woodlands that you can ramble around.
One leads up to the top of the hundred steps called Old Ladies Walk and the other follows the stream to the Walled Garden.
While the Walled Garden has been completely abandoned, there are plans to make a full restoration to its former glory in the coming years.
3. Afternoon tea
The Tearoom is located in the west wing and is the perfect way to extend your time at the estate. Ticket-holders can enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and snacks in a lavash setting.
Or, if you’re really organised, you can order a picnic basket from the Tearoom 24 hours in advance to be enjoyed in the gardens.
Bantry House accommodation and weddings
Yes… you can actually stay here! And the accommodation at Bantry House rivals many of the best hotels in Cork.
The stately home offers a number of bed and breakfast rooms in the 19th century east wing of the house that would rival some of the best hotels in Cork!
Each of the rooms have an en-suite and overlook parts of the beautiful gardens and terraces. Guests also have access to a full Irish breakfast served each morning, as well as the refurbished billiard room and library.
It’s popular for small groups and family celebrations such as weddings or special occasions, with the Maritime Hotel at the end of the drive a perfect place for dinner and extra rooms.
Average cost of a stay
The price for a stay at one of the Bantry House B&B rooms is from €179 for two people per night in their standard rooms or from €189 in their larger double rooms (note: prices may change).
Other accommodation nearby
If you’d like to stay near Bantry House, you’ll find some good options in our Bantry Hotels guide. The town is home to several highly reviewed hotels and guesthouss.
Bantry House Weddings
There’s hardly a more beautiful place you could imagine getting married in West Cork. The House and Gardens offer the perfect setting for a fairy-tale wedding.
The accommodation onsite is perfect for the family, with the Maritime Hotel at the end of the driveway available for additional accommodation.
What to do near Bantry House and Gardens
One of the beauties of Bantry House and Gardens is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other attractions, with plenty of things to do in Bantry and places to see nearby.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Bantry House (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Glengarriff Nature Reserve
The Glengarrif Nature Reserve covers an impressive area of 300 hectares of woodland. There are plenty of walking trails to explore inside the park, from gentle strolls to challenging climbs up to a lookout.
It’s not far from Glengarriff village, just around the other side of Bantry Bay. There’s also plenty of things to do in Glengarriff, too!
2. The Beara Peninsula
The rugged and beautiful Beara Peninsula in southwest Cork is known for its stunning scenery from mountains down to the sea. Most people explore the peninsula on the Ring of Beara scenic route around the coast. It’s the perfect addition to a trip on the Wild Atlantic Way and goes from Kenmare to Glengarriff with plenty of stops to enjoy on the way.
3. Healy Pass
A side trip from the Ring of Beara is this incredible mountain pass known as Healy Pass. It crosses the Caha Mountains from Lauragh to Adrigole across the peninsula with sketchy hairpin bends that are worth the spectacular views from the top.
4. Whiddy Island
Whiddy Island is located in Bantry Bay, just off the coast from Bantry Town and is the perfect place to explore from the House and Gardens. The island is known for its abundance of wildlife and birds with nature lovers heading there to enjoy the coastal wilderness in utter peace.
5. Garnish Island
Garnish Island is also located in Bantry Bay, but off the coast of Glengarriff around the other side from Bantry Town. This beautiful garden island is a popular place to visit in West Cork and is accessed by ferry. You can easily spend half a day exploring the 37-acre island and its famous gardens with a number of historical buildings as well.
FAQs about Bantry House in Cork
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from what’s the story with Bantry House weddings to what to do when you arrive.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
Is Bantry House and Gardens worth a visit?
Yes! The gardens are glorious to stroll around and the tour of the house is a great way to spend a rainy morning (you can also follow it up with afternoon tea).
What is there to do at Bantry House in Cork?
You can stroll around the gardens, take a tour of the house, spend a night or try some of the Bantry House afternoon tea.
What is there to see near Bantry House and Gardens?
Glengarriff Nature Reserve, The Beara Peninsula, Healy Pass, Whiddy Island and Garnish Island are all within easy reach.