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Airlie Gardens, Wilmington

(750+ reviews on the web)
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
  • This is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours hiding from the heat and admiring beautiful gardens.  more »
  • We toured these gardens today and enjoyed it immensely. Tickets were reasonably priced and we were provided with a walking trail map and verbal instructions. We enjoyed all the gardens and history. We...  more »
  • Wonderful peaceful walk in in the gardens. Reasonable admission price and you could easily spend a couple of hours walking the grounds  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Airlie Gardens is a nice place for walking (even though they have a tram ) or a picnic. The Spring is the best time to go because of the flowers blooming but they bring in new flowers all Summer. Great place for kids.
  • Had a very relaxing and peaceful morning walk, the grounds & gardens are beautiful! Weather was perfect for end of March. Go early on a mid weekday to avoid the crowds if you want a nice stroll alone. Will certainly look forward to another visit soon!
  • So beautiful! Large grounds to picnic on. Beautiful gardens and friendly staff. It's a very family friendly place.