It's not every day you can stay at an enchanting home immortalised in the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, yet Helen's Tower in stunning County Down offers exactly that.
"Helen's Tower, here I
stand, Dominant over sea and land."
Standing deep in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate, Helen's Tower was built in 1848 by Frederick Lord Dufferin in honour of his mother, Helen Selina Blackwood. Today, this former gamekeeper's tower provides incredible accommodation for two fortunate guests - the perfect romantic hideaway with more than a touch of fairy-tale magic.
Four storeys high, Helen's Tower is brimming with magnificent original features and homely touches. What's more, it offers some of the most spectacular views imaginable over the surrounding area of Bangor and beyond. On a clear day, you can even see as far as the distant shores of Scotland from your rooftop lookout!
As you ascend the stone spiral staircase and explore every room, you'll soon see how every interior and fitting reflects the Victorian roots of Helen's Tower. From intricately upholstered dining chairs to ornate mahogany tables, every touch is a true delight and contributes to the home's enchanting ambience.
The exquisite sitting room is decorated in opulent blues, reds and golds, and is the perfect place to curl up and relax in front of the open fire. Equally ornate is the wood-panelled, octagonal dining room, complete with an intricate wood-carved ceiling rose above - the ideal room for majestic feasts!
The light and airy double bedroom is finished with cream wood panelling perfect for a serene night's sleep, but before you turn in for the night, make your way up to the top of the Tower to make the most of those vistas from your private roof terrace. Catch a sunset or two, keep a keen eye for local birdlife flying overhead, or grab a blanket and count the stars for ultimate romance.
Guests to Helen's Tower will also notice that, alongside the preservation of these stunning original features, modern luxuries have been integrated seamlessly to ensure your stay is a comfortable one. You'll find a shower over the half-hip bath in the bathroom, while the pretty, country-style kitchen features an electric oven, a microwave and fridge-freezer for your convenience.
Your stay at Helen's Tower wouldn't be complete without greater insight into this home's rich history. Designed by famed Scottish architect William Burn, the construction of Helen's Tower was a famine relief project, providing work for local unemployed workers. And, in addition to Tennyson, a variety of other poets - including Robert Browning and Rudyard Kipling - have penned odes to this remarkable building. Why not take time to read some? You'll find them on the dining room walls!
However, the most poignant fact about Helen's Tower is that an almost-exact replica - the Ulster Tower - stands at Thiepval in France. Built in honour of the men of the 36th Ulster division who trained in the shadow of Helen's Tower, yet fell at the Battle of the Somme, it pays a remarkable tribute to these local heroes.
As well as this spectacular home and its wonderful history to appreciate, there's also much more to experience beyond your front door. The Clandeboye Estate and stunning County Down can be easily explored on foot, while adventurous souls might feel more at home with the Ireland Off-Road Experience! Art lovers will enjoy a stroll around the Ava Gallery, while further afield, visit the Andrew Jackson Cottage (the ancestral home of the notorious US President) and the US Rangers Centre in Boneybefore.
The perfect bolthole for a romantic escape, the equally perfect base for exploring County Down and beyond, this wonderful home offers sensational accommodation you'll remember for a lifetime. So make your next retreat an unforgettable one at Helen's Tower.
Things to note
No pets permitted, please note that the property has a narrow spiral staircase.
Tried and tested
"A most enjoyable break in an interesting and unusual destination. Wonderful historic building in a secluded woodland. Marvellous."
"What could be more romantic than staying in a tower on a hill in the middle of a forest? Everything about staying at Helen's Tower is amazing - from the drive up through the woods, the cosy rooms to the magnificent views. We love it. This was our second stay. We will be back again soon."
"If you want peace, time to reflect, or to enjoy another's company in beautiful surroundings then this is the place for you. The tower is certainly isolated and you would need a car if you wanted to explore the surrounding areas. Also the tower will keep you fit as each room is on a different level and accessed by a stone spiral stairway. My friend absolutely loved it. We had three beautiful days of sunshine, so the views from the rooftop were stunning."
Region: Bangor, County Down
Cost (from): £279 (2 nights)
Minimum stay: 2 nights
Property ref: 373
Sleeps 2, bedding & towels provided, bathroom, shower over half-hip bath, hairdryer, kitchen, electric oven, microwave, fridge/freezer, kitchen utensils & equipment, sitting room, reading room, iron & ironing board, open fire, radio, roof terrace, parking.
Off-road experience, festivals, museums, walking, cycling, distillery, forest park, surfing, Giants Causeway, golf.
At a glance
- Four-storey, Victorian tower offering self-catering accommodation in Bangor, County Down
- Sleeps 2 - the perfect couple's retreat.
- Stunning period interiors and fittings
- Ideal for poetry and history lovers!
- A small extra charge is made for heat and light during your stay.
- Located on the celebrated Clandeboye Estate
- Explore County Down and nearby County Antrim; 12 miles from Belfast