This paper presents the implementation of holey structured metamaterial lens for ultrasonic characterization of subwavelength subsurface defects in metallic components. Experimental results are presented, demonstrating ultrasound-based resolution of side drilled through-holes spaced (λ/5) in an aluminum block. Numerical simulation is then used to investigate the parameters that can help improve the resolution performance of the metamaterial lens, particularly, the addition of end-conditions. This work has important implications for higher resolution ultrasonic imaging in the context of practical non-destructive imaging and non-invasive material diagnostics. © 2016 Author(s).