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Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Thomas Dixon purchased the estate in 1919.A prosperous Ulster businessman he served as a High Sheriff of Belfast and was knighted. Lady Dixon became a Dame of the British Empire (D.B.E.) for her work for the armed forces during World War 1 and for her public and private benevolence. She died in 1964, aged 92 years.

Much of the park is accessible to scooters, manual wheelchairs and walkers with limited mobility. A circular walk is described here, covering some ¾ miles – or more – dependent on the number of excursions off the main route. The area includes parkland, specimen trees, open morn grassland, meadow, mixed deciduous woodland, copse, walled garden, and river, stream and marsh _____.

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The acres (128) now covered by Dixon Park was established  – as the Wilmont Estate – by the Stewarts, a family of prominent Scottish farmers in the mid – 18th century. The original house stood near the present lower car park/barbecue location whilst the land was used for growing crops and bleach greens for linen. In 1859 the new owner James Bristow, an influential ______, built the present house (his initials are inscribed on the wall near the main door). Thereafter the house and estate changed hands several times until required by the Dixons in 1919. In 1959 Lady Dixon bequeathed the property “for the greatest good of the citizens of the City of Belfast” in memory of her husband. From 1963 to 1988 Wilmont House served as a nursing home with the land developed by the Belfast City Council as a public park. The house is presently largely unused be secured in anticipation of a future role. As for “claim to fame”, over the years the estate has hosted many famous visitors, including Captain Scott (of the Antarctic) in 1904 and the billeting of American forces during World War 2. Further, re – landscaping of the rose garden in the 1990s’ has ensured its claim as one of the worlds leading rose gardens.

Degree of Difficulty

Wide, tarmaced paths throughout, other then around rose gardens (grass).

Scooter: 1 (easy)
Part of the route (around the Rose gardens) is ever grass and prudence must be exercised- in other words if wet/damp go there at your peril of getting stuck! There are steps in vanous places so caution!

Manual wheelchair/walking: ½ Easy/Moderately easy
There are inclines/fairly steep slopes. So judgement must be used. Pushing by one person would be a bit of a challenge.


  • Car parking
  • Café – Stables Café
  • Toilets for disabled

Features of Special Interest

  • International Rose Garden - 1st trial roses planted 1964. Each Year roses are sent “for trial” by rose growers from all over the world. Local experts judge these over 2-3 seasons, an international panel carries out the final judging each July in Rose week at which time some 45,000 roses are in Bloom throughout the park.
  • Historical section - the story of the rose presented by way of a spiral path.
  • Heritage section - Some of the best local roses, featuring world experts Dickens of Newtownards and McCredy, formerly of Portadown.
  • Princess Diana Memorial Garden
  • Japanese Garden (Limited accessibility)
  • Walled Garden
  • International Camellia “Trial”: Some too camelies “on show”. Best seen, March to June.
  • Golden Crown Fountain Commissioned 2002 as part of Queens Golden Jumble Celebration.
  • Outdoor Sculptures – There are a number of outdoor Sculptures e.g. “Boris the Badger“ beside the Nature Study Centre.
  • Others! Nature Study Centre and Eco-Trails, playground Barbecue area, wild flower meadows.


Dixon Park lies on the southern outskirts of Belfast at Dunmurry. Admission is by two gates on the Upper Malone Road – for the purpose of this account the Lower Car Park should be used.

Opening Hours

Sunrise to Sunset throughout the year.



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