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Airlie Gardens, Wilmington

4.6
#1 of 9 in Sightseeing in Wilmington
Historic Site Tourist Spot
Embark on a self-guided walking tour of the sculpted formal gardens at Airlie Gardens. More than 100,000 azaleas and numerous camellias bloom along the walking trails that weave throughout this garden by the sea. Along the way, you'll get glimpses of Bradley Creek and many freshwater lakes. Look for the ancient, 467-year-old Airlie oak tree. At the butterfly house, watch 11 species of native butterflies as you learn about their life cycle and which plants allow them to thrive. Other features include the Bottle Chapel, Lebanon Chapel, and Mystery Grave, which supposedly belongs to one of Napoleon's marshals. Before you head to Wilmington, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Wilmington vacation generator, to make sure you see all that Wilmington has to offer, including Airlie Gardens.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
824 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Stopping here was well worth it. There are so many sections and pathways to walk through and the grounds are well maintained. There are flower gardens, marsh areas, sculptures, butterfly house, swans,...  more »
  • Airlie gardens has the most beautiful Oak trees I have ever seen. Christmas in Airlie is spectacular in how they showcase the trees and create a winter wonderland.  more »
  • We went in early Spring. It was beautiful. We even saw a Momma fox with her cubs playing. There is a old church that is still in use. It's a great way to spend the day and see nature at it's best. The...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful! No other word for it. See the photos for yourself. This is a large park with easy-to-walk-on paved paths in most places, and a few dirt trails in the wilder parts. There are benches available for seating and enjoying the view along most of the paved paths. Good for all ages and walking ability. Bring sunscreen as not all paths are shaded. Absolutely worth the trip and the price for the giant 400 year old oaks alone, and there is so much more to see! If you're a fan of wild natural beauty or manicured gardens full of flowers, this place has something for you.
  • Airlie Gardens doesn't rank among North America's, or even the South's, top gardens, in part because it likely doesn't have the funding to do the things a leading garden does. Having said that, we spent a very enjoyable morning strolling the grounds. We were there in late February 2017, and the camellias were in full bloom. Because there are so many camellias here, it really made the experience for us. But soon the camellias will have peaked, and I'm not sure how the gardens will be then. There were also some Japanese magnolias in gorgeous full bloom. I certainly would recommend a visit in the very early spring. We had gorgeous weather for our visit. Summers in Wilmington, at least away from the water, can be brutal, so that would be a consideration for a hot-weather visit. We were impressed by the way water elements were used in these gardens. Two swans are in one "lagoon," and we saw many turtles and wood ducks. The chapel here is lovely from the outside (it was locked so we couldn't enter). Sadly, the Airlie mansion was torn down many years ago, but there is a small scale model of it on display near the entrance to the gardens. The "bottle house" is a hoot! One plus is that the gardens are quite flat, with nicely paved or graveled paths, so getting around is easy, even for those who may not be up for heavy hiking. The total pathway is about a mile.
  • Pretty park not in full bloom with a butterfly house, chapel made from wine bottles and other interesting features. Handicap accessible. Well worth the small price.
  • This is one of my favorite places to explore and admire the plants. There are so many little pockets of tranquil beauty. I especially love the Pagoda overlooking the water.
  • Beautiful gardens! What a wonderful afternoon enjoying God's beauty! It is an easy walk and lots to look at and enjoy!

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