Sitting on the banks of the River Foyle, at the edge of the walled city of Derry~Londonderry, Brook Hall Estate & Gardens is a beautiful eighteenth-century demesne. Having played an important role in the history of the region, it is now making a name for itself for its gorgeous gardens and its focus on sustainability.
Since 1858, Brook Hall has been owned by six generations of the Gilliland family, who have developed the garden and arboretum into one of the finest private collections on the island of Ireland.
Brook Hall has recently launched three new guided tours on the topics of heritage, nature and sustainability.
Led by a member of the current generation of the Gilliland family, the heritage tour recounts the stories of those who lived and worked on the estate. It reveals that the mansion was the headquarters for King James II and a key stronghold during the Siege of Derry in 1689 due to the estate’s unique location on the banks of the River Foyle.
There is also the chance to tour the estate’s beautiful arboretum where, over almost 100 years, a collection of some 1200 rare and unique trees and plants from around the world has been established.
The true beauty of this collection lies within the personal stories of the owners and gardeners who have passed through the estate over the centuries, with each tree and plant reflecting the individual’s passion and enthusiasm for various specimens.
Brook Hall has journeyed over 35 years to become Ireland’s first measurably carbon neutral heritage landscape and the third tour focuses on sustainability. Visiting the working farm, the tour explains the journey towards sustainability and how data-driven strategies are helping to maintain this heritage landscape.
The visitors centre has also been upgraded and throughout the year other experiences can be enjoyed on the estate such as willow weaving, wild foraging, and arts and crafts.
For those wanting to stay longer on the estate, the gate lodge of Brook Hall Estate is available to rent and sleeps up to six.