Glendalough Blog

Exploring the Enchanting Houses and Gardens of Wicklow

Nestled in the heart of Ireland, County Wicklow is often referred to as the “Garden of Ireland.” With its lush landscapes, historic estates, and meticulously maintained gardens, Wicklow offers an unparalleled experience for locals and visitors seeking beauty and tranquillity.
The Glendalough Hotel is located right in the heart of Glendalough Valley with lots to explore from our front door. Leave your car in our Guest car park and you can walk to the Monastic Site, to the upper and lower lakes, and choose from several walks and Hikes. The Wicklow Way, St Kevin’s Way, The Miners Walk and many more well-known hikes pass through Glendalough.
This bog introduces you to some of the county’s most captivating Gardens and Houses.

Russborough House, Powerscourt House & Gardens, Mount Usher Gardens, June Blake’s Garden, and the National Garden Exhibition Centre. You may have spotted some of them in Films and TV shows.

Russborough House and Gardens

Location: Blessington
Distance from Glendalough Hotel: 45 km (approximately 50 minutes by car)
Russborough House is a majestic Palladian mansion set against the backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains. Built in the 18th century, it is renowned for its splendid architecture, rich history, and extensive art collection. Russborough offers visitors the opportunity to explore the house with one of their guides where you will see the lavish interiors, which feature fine furniture, tapestries, and paintings. The estate also boasts a beautiful parkland, a maze, and a walled garden that is being restored and planted by volunteers, it is a perfect spot for Garden and history enthusiasts alike.

The drive from The Glendalough Hotel to Russborough is stunning and takes you over the Wicklow Gap through Hollywood Village and then along the N81 to the house. There is a beautiful Walk through forests and along the shores of Blessington Lakes that starts just across the road from Russborough house with food stalls serving a variety of food at The Avon which is at the end of the walk.
Guided tours of the mansion, (the guides are knowledgeable and passionate about this house)
Extensive art collection
Stunning parkland and maze
Seasonal events and workshops

Powerscourt House and Gardens

Location: Enniskerry
Distance from Glendalough Hotel: 30 km (approximately 35 minutes by car)
Named 3rd best garden in the world by National Geographic and Lonely Planet Top 10 houses to visit in the world. Powerscourt House and Gardens are arguably Wicklow’s most famous attraction. The grand estate features a mansion with elegant interiors and 47 acres of gardens that are considered among the finest in Europe. The gardens include formal terraces, serene lakes, Japanese gardens, and the iconic Triton Lake. The estate also houses the Powerscourt Distillery and the Avoca Handweavers café, offering a delightful experience for visitors.
Breathtaking Italianate gardens
Tower Valley and Japanese Gardens
Powerscourt Waterfall (Ireland’s highest)
Shopping and dining at Avoca Handweavers

Mount Usher Gardens

Location: Ashford
Distance from Glendalough Hotel: 27 km (approximately 30 minutes by car)
Described by Monty Don as one of his favourite gardens anywhere, Mount Usher Gardens offers a unique blend of natural beauty and botanical diversity. Designed in the Robinsonian style, these gardens are more informal, featuring winding paths, flowing streams, and over 5,000 species of plants. The gardens are set along the River Vartry, providing a picturesque and tranquil setting. The nearby Mount Usher Courtyard hosts charming boutiques and a delightful café.
The seaside town of Bray is not far from Powerscourt if you want to get a bit of Vitamin Sea after you explore the gardens.
Robinsonian garden design
Diverse plant species
Scenic riverside walks
Quaint courtyard shops and café

June Blake’s Garden

Location: Blessington
Distance from Glendalough Hotel: 18 km (approximately 20 minutes by car)
June Blake’s Garden is a hidden gem in Wicklow, offering an intimate and vibrant horticultural experience. Designed by the renowned plantswoman June Blake, the garden is a riot of colour and texture, showcasing a diverse collection of plants in imaginative combinations. The garden changes with the seasons, ensuring a captivating visit at any time of year.
Blessington is very close to Russborough House, so this Garden is another option when visiting those gardens. These gardens are open Thursday to Sunday but check their website as they do close in off seasons.
Seasonal plant displays
Creative garden design
Peaceful and intimate atmosphere
Workshops and plant sales

National Garden Exhibition Centre

Location: Kilquade
Distance from Glendalough Hotel: 32 km (approximately 35 minutes by car)
The National Garden Exhibition Centre is a must-visit for gardening enthusiasts. It features a series of expertly designed show gardens, each demonstrating different styles and ideas for landscaping and planting. The centre also includes a garden centre where visitors can purchase plants and gardening supplies, as well as a café to relax and enjoy a snack amidst the beautiful surroundings.

Check their website as the Exhibition gardens were being restored at the time we wrote this.
Innovative show gardens
Gardening workshops and events
Extensive garden centre
On-site café


The houses and gardens of Wicklow offer a diverse and captivating journey through history, design, and nature. Each location presents a unique experience, from the grandeur of Russborough House to the modern flair of June Blake’s Garden. Whether you’re a history buff, a gardening enthusiast, or simply seeking the tranquillity of nature, these Wicklow attractions provide a delightful escape.
Base yourself at the Glendalough Hotel and embark on day trips to these magnificent sites, all conveniently located within an hour’s drive. Immerse yourself in the beauty and heritage of Wicklow and create memories that will last a lifetime.
When you book directly with the hotel via our website, guests access exclusive online discounts for longer stays, giving you more time to explore Wicklow.