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 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.
 

Prices

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.
 
 
location_on
The Square,
Hillsborough.
BT26 6AG

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 the Castle

gps_fixed 18.23KM
Wed, 28 Nov 2018, 9:30am See All Dates (33)

Visit Hillsborough Castle and Gardens for live music, festive food, family workshops, choral concerts and Christmas ghost stories this November and December.

location_on Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
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Christmas Ghost Stories with Ian McElhinney

gps_fixed 18.23KM
Fri, 28 Dec 2018, 7:00pm

For the Victorians, Christmas ghost stories became an essential custom of the season. Visit the Throne Room for an atmospheric, candle-lit experience of the Cas...

location_on Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
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Hillsborough Late: The Invention of Christmas

gps_fixed 18.23KM
Fri, 07 Dec 2018, 6:45pm See All Dates (2)

The Victorians are often credited as being the ‘Inventors of Christmas’ by popularising many of the traditions that we still celebrate today.

location_on Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
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Paper Cutting Masterclass

gps_fixed 18.23KM
Sun, 02 Dec 2018, 10:00am

This adult masterclass will introduce you to the intricate art of paper cutting.

location_on Hillsborough Castle & Gardens
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