Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
Hillsborough Castle is one of the most beautiful, and interesting historic properties in Northern Ireland. It’s the official residence of the royal family when they’re in Northern Ireland and has also been home to the Secretary of State since the 1970s.
This large Georgian mansion is open to the public and visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the Castle’s State Rooms filled with items from the Royal Collection. Visitors can learn about the Castle's intriguing history, and hear stories of its many visitors, from Her Majesty the Queen to Cilla Black, Eleanor Roosevelt to Gary Barlow.
The Castle is set in 100 acres of breath-taking gardens, developed from the 1760s onwards. The different styles and eras of development are still distinguishable and the grounds offer significant contrasts of woodland, waterways, gardens with trimmed lawns and meadows as well as specimen trees and rare plants.
Castle ToursA tour of the Castle will take you through the State Rooms. The State Entrance promises a grand entrance, where all visiting dignitaries are formally welcomed to the Castle. Next door is the Anteroom which today is where members of the royal family and visiting dignitaries sign the visitors’ book.
The Red Room is an intimate and opulent space often used as a small dining room, it looks out onto the Granville garden and what is arguably the largest rhododendron in Europe. The elegant State Dining Room continues to be the main dining room at the Castle since it was first built in 1788 and has been the scene of many feasts and banquets.
You’ll also visit the glamorous Throne Room; the ceremonial heart of the Castle as well as the relaxing State Drawing Room and Lady Grey’s Study, used by the royal family for private entertaining.
GardensEntry to the Castle includes unguided access to the grounds. Look out for the Granville Garden, Lady Alice’s Temple, the Ice House, Quaker Burial ground and Moss Walk. The formal gardens include the Jubilee Parterre (formerly the ‘Sundial Garden’) which was re-designed to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Tour timesGuided Castle tours (duration: approx. 45 minutes), includes unguided access to the gardens.
Open for public tours:
- Open Thursdays to Sundays from 1 April – 1 October 2017, including Bank Holidays
- Open Mondays to Sundays during Easter
- Open Mondays to Sundays during Summer.
Gardens unguided access
Open daily 10am - 5pm (last admission is one hour before closing (4pm)
|Guided Castle Tour & unguided Gardens access||Unguided Gardens access|
|Child under 5 years||Free||Free|
|Family (1 adult, up to 3 children aged 5 – 15yrs) ||£17.00||£12.00|
|Family (2 adults, up to 3 children aged 5 – 15yrs) ||£22.00||£15.00|
Directions to Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
From Belfast, take the M1 to Sprucefield, then the A1 (signposted to the South). At the Hillsborough roundabout, veer left onto Lisburn Road, continue on Main Street and Hillsborough Castle is at the top of the hill on your right.