Helen’s Tower

Bangor, Co Down.

Helen's Tower perched high above the rolling hills of Co Down, is an enchanting three storey stone tower nestled deep in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate. Adults only.

  • Sleeps 2

  • From £296 for 2 nights

  • Open Fire


  • Standing on top of the world with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, one can see as far as distant Scottish shores, the Isle of Man and mountains in Wales from the top of Helen's Tower.  Visitors to the area can enjoy walking routes, known locally as Clandeboye Way (Helen's Bay to Whitespots Country Park).  Other places of interest include Ava Gallery, Ireland Off Road Experience, Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers and Clandeboye Estate.

    Please note, because the Estate on which Helen’s Tower is located may from time to time need to use the Tower for its own purposes, bookings can only be taken a short time prior to start date.  Please keep an eye on the website as dates will be made available to book at they are released to Irish Landmark Trust.


    • 1 Double Bedroom - adults only
    • Electric Storage Heating.  Portable heaters available.
    • Open Fire in Sitting Room
    • Beautiful Reading Room
    • Roof Terrace with spectacular views
    • Electric Oven
    • Microwave
    • Fridge/Freezer
    • Towels and Linens provided
    • Hair dryer
    • Iron and Ironing Board
    • Cooking Utensils and Equipment
    • Shower over half-hip bath
    • Separate W/C
    • Narrow stone staircase
    • Radio
    • Car Parking

    WiFi Free Zone:  Irish Landmark believes that digital detox is good for the mind, body and soul.  This is why Irish Landmark properties advocate the properties in our care as WiFi and television free zones. Reconnecting with our lives, nature, our surroundings, books, as well as family and friends, is vital for a happy life. This continues to make us very proud and happy to be a WiFi Free Zone.

    Special Notes: This property had a narrow spiral stone staircase.  Although in an isolated location, please note that this property is close to a very popular walking/hiking track and guests may encounter people on outdoor pursuits during their stay.

    A contribution towards energy fees is applied to all bookings.   As a not for profit organisation, this fee makes a significant contribution to energy costs.   It is our aim to reduce our energy consumption at all self catering properties and encourage guests to reuse, reduce, recycle.
  • history

    Helen's Tower perched high above the rolling hills of Co Down, is an enchanting three storey stone tower nestled deep in the woods of the Clandeboye Estate.  Standing on top of the world with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, one can see as far as distant Scottish shores from the top of Helen's Tower.

    Built in 1848 by Frederick Lord Dufferin, 5th Baron of Dufferin and Ava in honour of his mother Helen Selina Blackwood, Helen's Tower has since been immortalized by Tennyson in the poem of the same name.  Designed by architect William Burn and constructed in 1848-1850 as a famine relief project, Helen's Tower helped relieve unemployment at this time.

    The tower has taken on an unforeseen poignancy, as an almost exact replica of it, the Ulster Tower, was built at Thiepval in 1921 to honour the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division who fell at the Battle of the Somme. Clandeboye Estate was used for army training during the First World War, and the 36th (Ulster) Division trained beside Helen's Tower before leaving for France.

    A Game Keepers Tower, the interiors and fittings of this building were unique to this period.  An octagonal room on the third floor with its paneling throughout with poems engraved on metal plates are set into the walls.

    Helen's Tower is equipped with 1 double bedroom, shower room, separate bathroom, kitchen, living room, dining room and rooftop reading room.

    Visitors to the area can enjoy walking routes, known locally as Cladeboye Way (Helen's Bay to Whitespots Country Park).  Other places of interest include Ava Gallery, Ireland Off Road Experience, Andrew Jackson Cottage and US Rangers and Clandeboye Estate.

    Two well known poems by Tennyson and Browning about Helen's Tower


    HELEN'S TOWER, here I stand,
    Dominant over sea and land.
    Son's love built me, and I hold
    Mother's love in letter'd gold.Love is in and out of time,
    I am mortal stone and lime.
    Would my granite girth were strong
    As either love, to last as long
    I should wear my crown entire
    To and thro' the Doomsday fire,
    And be found of angel eyes
    In earth's recurring Paradise.



    Who hears of Helens Tower,
    may dream perchance
    How the Greek Beauty from the Scaean Gate
    Gazed on old friends unanimous in hate,
    Death-doomd because of her fair countenance.

    Hearts would leap otherwise, at thy advance,
    Lady, to whom this Tower is consecrate!
    Like hers, thy face once made all eyes elate,
    Yet, unlike hers, was blessd by every glance.

    The Tower of Hate is outworn, far and strange:
    A transitory shame of long ago,
    It dies into the sand from which it sprang;
    But thine, Loves rock-built Tower, shall fear no change:
    Gods self laid stable earths foundations so,
    When all the morning-stars together sang.

  • visitor book

    "The place is full of character and beautifully maintained. Had a wonderful, restful holiday, we will return."

    Davison family, UK

    "Our visit to Helen’s Tower was truly a fantastic weekend. From the very warm welcome we received from Shirley who showed us around to the wow factor of the place itself. Thanks to all in ILT and the wonderful work you do."

    Fergus, Galway

    "This has been the most amazing 3 days – wish I could stay here for at least a week. Really don’t want to go home."

    Bernie, Dublin


    Loc8: J8X-77-R14
    GPS: 54.622755 , -5.694462


    Our buildings were made to the standards of earlier times – and sometimes without the intention that they should be lived in.  Consequently, you may encounter features that reflect their particular character but that deserve due care and attention, particularly by the young, elderly, less mobile or visually impaired.  Examples of these are steps worn with age, uneven surfaces, low ceilings and beams, unexpected drops or changes in level, and by modern standards low or absent lighting.  In all cases we have sought to make a sensible compromise between due regard for safety and the careful retention of the fabric of each building, which makes it an interesting place to stay. We ask you to appreciate and use the building with this understanding. If you have any queries about the property you are interested in and would like more clarification please contact Irish Landmark at

    Arrival and Departure Time?

    Unless otherwise agreed with the House Manager the earliest time at which you can check in is 4.oop.m.  Guests may NOT take over the property any time later then 9.00pm.   Guests are requested to vacate the property by 10.00am at the latest on the day of departure.

    Is there a TV?

    No, but there is a radio, board games, cards and plenty of books.

    Is there WiFi?

    No, at our properties you have an opportunity to experience the best of a former way of life:  beautiful architecture, fascinating history and a peaceful relaxed ambiance, without modern electronic distractions, where you decide the pace of your holiday.

    Can I bring a dog?

    No, this property is not suitable for dogs.

    Is linen supplied?

    Yes – the bed is prepared and ready for your arrival.

    Is there an open fire?

    Yes.  There is an open fire in the sitting room.

    Can I light a fire?

    Yes.  You can light the open fire in the sitting room.  There is a limited amount of fuel left for the fire (where applicable) so guests may want to bring more for the duration of their stay.  Please contact the local House Manager for more information on what type of fuel is used at your chosen property.

    Do I need a car to get here?

    It would be preferable to have a car otherwise it will be difficult to get to shops etc as the Tower is situated within the Clandeboye Estate.

    How do I get the keys?

    When you complete your booking, you will receive an email giving you information about arranging access for your arrival date.

    Can I arrive early?

    Only by special arrangement with the bookings office and agreement of the local House Manager.  A charge is made if you are requesting a morning arrival, as this means we cannot take a booking for the night before your arrival date.

    What is the latest departure time?

    10.00am.  The House Manager will discuss arrangements for your departure on the day you arrive.

    How far to the nearest town?

    From the front door of Helen's Tower it can take about 30 minutes to Bangor.

    Is there a caterer who will come in to cook meals?

    We do not know of anyone who can go in to cook meals at this property.

    Is it suitable for children?

    No.  This is a small property that only sleeps 2 adults only.  There is a winding stone staircase which would not be suitable for young children.

    Is it suitable for older people?

    This property does not suit anyone with mobility issues.  There is a narrow stone winding staircase up to all the floors.

    Does it have facilities for disabled people?


    Is it suitable for a wheelchair?


    Is there central heating?

    There is electric central heating at Helen’s Tower.  There are storage heaters throughout the building.  There are also portable heaters available.

    Is the cooker electric or gas?

    There is an electric cooker.

    Is there a shower?

    Yes – there is an electric shower over bath in the bathroom.

    How many bathrooms?


    Do you supply towels and bed linen?

    Yes.  The bed will be made up on your arrival and you will be provided with a bath towel and guest towel according to the number of beds in the property.

    Can I get to the house by public transport?

    Yes.  You would get a train or bus to Belfast and then a local train to Bangor.  A local taxi could take you onwards from there to the tower.  However, you would need a car to get to local shops, etc.

    Where is the nearest train station?


    What type of heating is in the house?

    Electric storage heaters.

    Can I book for just one night?


    What is your minimum booking period?

    Irish Landmark Trust have a 2 night stay minimum at all of our properties.  Some Special Dates will have restrictions on arrival and departure date which will effect the minimum number of nights.

    Is there a garden at the house?

    No.  However there is a roof terrace with outdoor furniture.

    How many cars can I bring to the house?


    Is there parking on site?

    Yes, there is parking for 1 car in front of the lodge.

    Is there outdoor furniture.

    Yes, a table and chairs are provided on the roof terrace.

  • location

    Content required for this area.

Articles about Helen’s Tower

Late Availability Offers

September 17, 2021

Late availability discounts are available on new bookings within the next 14 days

Aer Lingus Cara magazine

March 5, 2020

Helen’s Tower features in the February/March issue of the Aer Lingus inflight magazine. As many people are forgoing air travel at the moment, we are sharing a link to the online version of Cara magazine. Our property Helen’s Tower appears in the feature on Strangford Lough, pages 58-66. Avoid the flight and book your stay […]

View all articles about Helen’s Tower ›