54.596423 -5.929466

Description

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 links for which it's famous today.

The castle is the official residence of HM The King and the Royal Family an association which began in the 1920’s. Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II as a princess in the 1940s developed a strong affection for the Castle, a sentiment which continues with King Charles III.  Hillsborough Castle and Gardens continues to be a focal point for Royal events in Northern Ireland.

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.

Tickets & Prices

 

 
  • 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.

Christmas at Hillsborough Light Trail

23.1 KM
04 - 31 Dec 2022

A dusting of seasonal magic will land throughout Hillsborough Castle and Gardens as the Christmas at Hillsborough Light Trail makes its return this December.

Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
Find Out More

Christmas Tours of Hillsborough Castle

23.1 KM
04 - 23 Dec 2022

Step back in time to 1850 where Hillsborough Castle is busy preparing for a special and fashionable family Christmas.

Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
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Christmas Wreath Making Workshop

23.1 KM
09 - 10 Dec 2022

Create your own handmade door wreath this Christmas at Hillsborough Castle using fresh foliage from the royal gardens.

Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
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