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Visit us

Lady Alice Temple, Hillsborough Castle

Explore the castle and gardens at Hillsborough Castle via our guided tours. Please note that admission to the castle is by tour only. Please check closures before your visit.

Historic Royal Palaces members should book their FREE tickets by calling 0844 482 7799. Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

About Hillsborough Castle

The castle

The late Georgian mansion was built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, first Marquess of Downshire and was later remodelled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, it is a working royal palace functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland, and it has been the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s. A tour of the castle will guide you through the elegant State Rooms, still in use today, including the majestic Throne Room and graceful Drawing Room.

Faces of Hillsborough
Discover the more personal side of the castle at our exhibition. Visit the Downshire Gallery in the palace to see photographic portraits of some of the great many people who have worked in, stayed at and visited Hillsborough Castle over the past 130 years.

The gardens

Wander through 96 acres of beautiful gardens developed from the 1760s onwards, offering a contrast of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways, and trimmed lawns. Look out for the statue of Ossian outside the main entrance, the Lady Alice Temple, the Quaker Burial ground and the Ice House.

Find out about castle tours and gardens access


Hillsborough Castle's gardens will be closed on 25 and 26 December 2017.

Hillsborough Castle is a working royal residence and sometimes has to close at short notice for official visits and private events. Please check for closures before your visit by calling 028 9268 1300.

Opening times

The gardens are open all year. Castle tours are available on selected dates between April and September 2017. Private group guided tours can be arranged throughout the year. 

Events are held at the castle throughout the year.

Gardens – for unguided access

The gardens are open daily* from 10:00 – 17:00 Monday – Saturday and 11:00 to 16:00 on Sundays.

Garden walks (self-guided) duration: approx. 30 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes. A valid ticket or Historic Royal Palaces membership is required to visit the gardens. Tickets can be purchased on the day from the Visitor Information Centre in the Court House.

From March 2017 garden admission tickets are £5.00 per adult, Family ticket is £15.00 (2 adult) £12.00 (1 Adult).

Last admission is an hour before closing.

Pre-booked group tours are available throughout the year please call the Visitor Services team on 028 9268 1376 or

*Gardens are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Find out what's on at Hillsborough Castle

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