The magnificent Russborough House is one of the most impressive houses in Ireland.
This stunning Palladian mansion and 18th century estate overlooks the Blessington Lakes and surrounding mountains.
From parkland rambles to history tours, you could easily spend a full day exploring Russborough House in Wicklow.
In the guide below, you’ll discover everything from things to do at Russborough House to where to visit nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows before you visit Russborough House in Wicklow
Although a visit to Russborough House in Blessington is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Russborough House is located near the border of Counties Wicklow and Kildare. It overlooks Blessington Lakes, just five minutes south of Blessington Town. It’s also a handy 20km drive from Dublin off the N81.
2. Opening hours
Russborough House is currently open every day from 10am to 4pm. The park is open 9am to 6pm.
The prices for Russborough House vary depending on what you want to do. Here are the latest prices (note: these may change):
- House tour: €12 (adults) €6 (kids)
- Maze: Family ticket (2 adults + 4 kids): €12
- The Dark Maze: €12.50
3. Things to see and do
There are plenty of things to see and do at Russborough House. You could easily spend an entire day with the whole family within the estate grounds. For history buffs, you can enjoy a house tour and browse the art exhibitions to appreciate the outstanding architecture and history of the house. More on this below.
Things to do at Russborough House
The reason that Russborough House in Blessington tends to rank high in many guides to the best things to do in Wicklow is do the the sheer volume of attractions it boasts.
Below, you’ll discover everything from the mighty maze and the Birds of Prey to lovely walks and more.
1. The maze
The whole family can try to find their way through the 2000 metre beech hedge maze at Russborough House.
You’ll see a statue of the Greek goddess, Fame, in the centre which is where you have to try and reach after many twists and turns through the hedges.
There’s a beautiful view over the maze from the bathroom window upstairs, which you can see on a guided house tour.
2. The house tour
To really appreciate Russborough House and its unique architecture, head off on the house tour. This allows you to see the inside of the house and admire the art and design of the building from the 1740s onwards.
The tours take you by artworks commissioned and collected by the Milltown and Beit families since the 18th century.
You’ll also get to learn about the fascinating history of the house which began with its construction by Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltown.
One of the best ways to explore the parkland is, of course, on foot. There are a variety of walking routes to choose from.
You can opt for the 2km wildlife trail or the 2km woodland and rhododendron trail or you can combine them for a longer ramble through the estate grounds.
The paths are relatively easy with a few spots to stop on the way to enjoy the scenery. You might even get to see foxes, hares and badgers.
4. Walled garden
Russborough’s 18th century walled garden is one of the estate’s highlights. The stunning garden has been carefully restored over time by volunteers.
The works have included reinstating the garden paths, repairing the brick and stone walls using traditional methods and replanting the hornbeam hedge.
The overgrown vegetable garden is even once again back in productivity as well.
5. Kids activities
The renowned sheepdog handler, Michael Crowe, can give you a snapshot of rural farm life while demonstrating the skill and intelligence of the border collies in action while they herd sheep.
6. The café
The Tea Rooms at Russborough House is where you’ll want to head to feel like true royalty as you enjoy a meal.
The café has an array of soups, salads and sandwiches as well as desserts inside the historic tea room of the house. It’s the perfect place to relax after exploring the house and gardens.
There’s a small outdoor area if it’s a nice day or you can enjoy the dining room which is adorned with some of Lady Beit’s recipes and photographs hanging on the walls.
7. The National Bird of Prey Centre
Russborough House is home to the National Bird of Prey Centre. This outdoor educational centre is home to a variety of birds from around the world, including eagles, owls, hawks and falcons.
The centre opened in 2016 and currently has over 40 birds on display. During a visit to the centre, you can enjoy an expert guided tour as well as a handling session with some of the owls, which the kids will love.
Things to do near Russborough House in Blessington
One of the beauties of this place is that it’s a short spin away from a clatter of other things to do in Wicklow.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Russborough (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. The Blessington Greenway
Leading right to Russborough House, the Blessington Greenway is a great way to explore the area on foot or by bicycle. The 6.5km trail is an easy cycle or walk from the historic town of Blessington to Russborough House offering incredible views across Blessington Lakes and the Wicklow Mountains.
2. The Wicklow Mountains National Park
You can’t miss the Wicklow Mountains National Park, both literally and figuratively. The huge park area covers an impressive 54, 000 acres across most of County Wicklow and reaching north towards Dublin. It’s the largest area of continuous high ground in Ireland, offering incredibly rugged peaks and beautiful woodland. It’s home to:
Glendalough is a glacial valley in the Wicklow Mountains and is most well-known for being home to the historic ruins of the early Christian settlement founded by St Kevin. The site is considered one of the most important monastic ruins in the country. See our Glendalough walks guide for more.
4. Walks, walks and more walks
County Wicklow is home to so many walks that you’ll never be short of places to stretch your legs. There are literally trails galore enabling you to enjoy some of the incredible natural landscapes found in the county. See our Wicklow walks guide for more.
FAQs about visiting Russborough House
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the maze and the Birds of Prey Centre to what to do nearby.
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.
What is there to do at Russborough House?
You can take a guided tour, visit the Birds of Prey Centre, get lost in the maze and explore the gardens.
Is it worth visiting?
Yes, although entre is relatively exprnsive, this is a nice place to spend a dry day, as there’s plenty to see and do.
What is there to see nearby?
There’s lots to do near Russborough House in Blessington, from the Greenway and the lakes to plenty of walks.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.