Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in south Belfast is one of our most popular parks. It is home to the City of Belfast International Rose Garden, which attracts thousands of visitors to our Rose Week celebrations, which take place in July each year.
Covering more than 128 acres, the park is made up of rolling meadows, copses, woodland and gardens and is home to a wide range of plants and animals. An ideal base for exploring nearby Lagan Valley Regional Park, it contains international camellia trials, a walled garden, a Japanese-style garden with water features for quiet contemplation.
Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park was donated to the people of Belfast by Lady Dixon in 1959, in memory of her late husband, Sir Thomas.
Originally formed in the mid-18th century, as part of the Wilmont estate, the park was first owned by the Stewarts; a farming family from Scotland. The estate was used for growing crops and bleaching linen and the main family house stood on the site of what is now the park’s lower car park.
In the mid-1800s, the estate was bought by the Bristow family. A family home, Wilmont House, was designed by Thomas Jackson for the Bristows and was completed in 1859.
The estate, which also included a walled garden, informal planting areas and gate lodges, attracted a number of different owners before it was taken over by the Dixons in 1919.
During World War II, American troops were stationed in the grounds of the estate while their officers lived in Wilmont House. Lady Dixon was well-known for her work with the troops and was created Dame of the British Empire as a result. Before she died in 1959, she donated the estate to the city of Belfast in memory of her late husband, a former High Sheriff of Belfast.
The site was re-opened as Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park later that year.