54.596423 -5.929466


From grand family home to charming royal residence, Hillsborough Castle has welcomed the world and witnessed pivotal chapters in politics.

This splendid late Georgian house, surrounded by 100 acres of glorious gardens, was built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, later 1st Marquess of Downshire. Generations of the Hill family lived here – giving the town its name – until the early 20th century when Hillsborough Castle began to develop the political and royal associations for which it's famous today.

The castle is the official Northern Ireland residence of HM The Queen. In the 1940s, the then Princess Elizabeth enjoyed family holidays here with her sister Princess Margaret, and she continues to visit and attend official engagements here today.

The Castle is set in 100 acres of breath-taking gardens and offers significant contrasts of woodland, waterways, gardens with trimmed lawns and meadows as well as specimen trees and rare plants.


Guided Castle Tour & unguided Gardens access: 

  • Adult £9.50

  • Child £6

  • Concessions £7.50

  • Family (1 adult, 2 children) £18

  • Family 2 (2 adults, 3 children) £25

  • Under 5s free

Unguided Gardens access

  • Adult £5

  • Child £3.50

  • Concessions £4

  • Family (1 adult, 2 children) £12

  • Family 2 (2 adults, 3 children) £15

  • Under 5s free.


  • Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
  • Hillsborough
  • Down
  • BT26 6HR
Embrace a Giant Spirit

Top Reasons To Visit

  • Beautiful 18th century mansion house
  • Official residence of the Royal Family when in NI
  • 100 acres of ornamental grounds
  • Granville Garden has the largest rhododendron in Europe
  • Group tours available throughout the year
  • Investment

    Historic Royal Palaces are investing over £16m into an ambitious programme of capital projects and associated activities that will open the site to the widest possible audience; conserve and re-present the heritage; explore its stories and engage communities and learners. A newly interpreted 18th Century Walled Garden will open in Spring 2019, along with new visitor facilities including a coach and car park, retail shop, café and Clore Learning Centre.

  • Castle Tours

    A 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.

  • Gardens

    Hillsborough Castle’s glorious gardens are a joy to explore. From ornamental grounds to peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens, there are over 100 spectacular acres to discover.

    Don’t miss the tranquil Lady Alice’s Temple, where several Secretaries of State found welcome respite from the pressures of politics; here you’ll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding gardens.

    Other highlights include Europe’s largest rhododendron, Yew Tree Walk, Moss Walk, Ice House, Pinetum, a Quaker Burial Ground and the beautiful Granville Garden created by HM The Queen’s aunt Lady Granville in the 1940s and 50s. The formal gardens include the Jubilee Parterre which was re-designed to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

    These special gardens are a delight to the senses throughout the seasons and offer countless places to unwind, contemplate, socialise and seek inspiration.

    Entry to the Castle includes unguided access to the grounds.

  • Tour times

    • From July – September 2018, tours will run daily from 10am – 4pm
    • From October 2018 – March 2019, tours will run Wednesday – Sundays from 10am – 3pm

    Castle tours include self-guided access to the gardens.


    Gardens unguided access


    • The gardens will be open daily in July – September 2018 between 9.30am – 5pm
    • The gardens will be open daily in October 2018 – March 2019 between 9.30am – 4pm.


    Last admission is an hour before closing.

The Jubilee Garden Party

02 - 05 Jun 2022

The Jubilee Garden Party from the 2 – 5 June will be a vintage affair, with local businesses and creators setting up stalls on the lawns…

Find Out More

Platinum Jubilee Tree Trail

Tue, 07 Jun 2022, 6:00pm

Enjoy the splendour of the gardens after-hours for an extra special tour celebrating HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This is a 90-minute walking tour.

Find Out More

Honey Fair

06 - 07 Aug 2022

The Hillsborough Honey Fair is back and bigger than ever! Discover over 50 high quality local producers and food vendors with a wide range of local…

Find Out More

You might also like

  • Titanic Belfast
    Titanic Belfast

    Titanic Belfast

    2.72 KM

    Titanic Belfast is the world's largest Titanic visitor experience and a must-see on any visit to Belfast and…

    Find Out More
  • Linen Quarter
    Linen Quarter
    See & Do

    Linen Quarter

    0.22 KM

    The historic Linen Quarter is rapidly becoming one of the most vibrant, must visit areas of the city,…

    Find Out More
  • Seamus Heaney HomePlace
    Seamus Heaney HomePlace

    Seamus Heaney HomePlace

    69.85 KM

    Explore Heaney’s home at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy, a centre dedicated to the life, work and legacy of…

    Find Out More
  • Ward Park
    Ward Park

    Ward Park

    30.67 KM

    A perfect park in the centre of Bangor and an ideal spot to enjoy the local wildlife and…

    Find Out More
  • Áras Uí Chonghaile (James Connolly Visitor Centre)
    Áras Uí Chonghaile (James Connolly Visitor Centre)

    Áras Uí Chonghaile (James Connolly Visitor Centre)

    4.33 KM

    Áras Uí Chonghaile is an award-winning modern, inspirational, visitor centre based in the heart of Belfast’s Gaeltacht Quarter…

    Find Out More
  • Belfast Zoological Gardens
    Belfast Zoological Gardens

    Belfast Zoological Gardens

    6.46 KM

    Belfast Zoological Gardens is home to more than 120 species of animal, many of which are in danger…

    Find Out More
  • Mount Stewart
    Mount Stewart

    Mount Stewart

    35.61 KM

    Discover a place of enchantment

    Find Out More
  • The Copeland Distillery
    The Copeland Distillery
    See & Do

    The Copeland Distillery

    44.39 KM

    The Copeland Distillery is home to a range of Irish spirits including classic Irish Gin, Rhuberry Flavoured Gin…

    Find Out More
Ask Us
Ask Us

We're here to help, so if you can't find the info you're after, or you just want to ask a really odd question, then we're here for you.

Ask A Question
Choose a date
Choose a date
Back To Top
In order to display distances relevant to you, we'd like to be able to use your GPS location. Privacy Policy
In order to display distances relevant to your current position, we'd need to be able to use your GPS location. To find out more about how we use your location, please read our Privacy Policy
You have previously denied access to your GPS location. In order to allow access to your location, you need to update your site settings through your browser settings to allow this site access to your location.

To find out more about how we use your location, please read our Privacy Policy
Your settings have been updated. They will take effect next time you refresh the page.
By default, all distances on the site are calculated from Belfast City Centre. You can choose a different starting point here, or specify your own.

If you select a location more than 15km from the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, your location will be set to Belfast City Centre.

Open 'Ask a Question' window Close 'Ask a Question' window

Ask a Question


Hide this tool

Open 'Sign up for Newsletter' window Close 'Sign up for Newsletter' window

Visit Belfast Newsletter


Sign up to the Visit Belfast newsletter and receive inspiring ideas, events and offers which showcase the best of Belfast and Northern Ireland.


Hide this tool