An Irish Victorian Christmas


  • 28 November to 23 December 2018

Ticketing information

All events are included in a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle.

The last tour will leave at 16:00.

Included in palace admission Buy tickets for Hillsborough Castle

It's 1895 and Lord and Lady Arthur Hill are decorating the castle for their Christmas and New Year celebrations. Join the household each day from 28 November to 23 December 2018 as they prepare for a festive bazaar and plan their musical entertainment.

Enjoy the elegant State Rooms, gorgeously decorated and lit by candlelight. Then make a wish and steal a kiss under the mistletoe kissing ball in the Stair Hall and enjoy the festive music around the traditional Christmas tree.

Christmas decorations will adorn the State Rooms including exquisite paper cut artworks by local artist Emma Davison. Our Explainers will introduce the castle's characters and their stories as they guide you through.

Live music and festive food

Each weekend, costumed interpreters will bring the castle to life as its residents above and below stairs prepare for the festivities.

There will be live music from local musicians including Downshire Brass and Sestina, and the kitchen staff will provide Twelfth Cake and Wassail Cup to sample as they describe the menu for each occasion.

Festive family fun

Workshops for all ages will explore wreath making and paper cutting — see our full schedule of family workshops below.

Meet Father Christmas

Father Christmas will be in residence in the castle on 15-16 and 22-23 December. Listen to a storyteller before dipping into the Bran Tub for an authentic Victorian Christmas gift.

Family workshops

All of these family workshops are included in your castle tour ticket for the date specified. There is no need to book, although spaces are limited. Suitable for children aged 5+. All children must be accompanied.

02 December 2018

Pop-up Christmas Cards Workshop

Get in the Christmas spirit by making your own pop-up Christmas card with local paper-cut artist, Emma Davidson.

Workshops will take place every half hour between 14:00 and 16:00 (last workshop starts at 15:30) in the Market Room.

15 December 2018

Christmas Decorations Workshop

Join Hillsborough Castle's resident florist to make a festive decoration to take home, using natural materials from the grounds.

Workshops will take place every half hour between 14:00 and 16:00 (last workshop starts at 15:30) in the Market Room.

16 December 2018

Victorian Cornucopias Workshop

Make your own traditional Victorian Cornucopia and silhouette decoration to take home, with artist Kim Montgomery.

Workshops will take place at 10:30-11:15, 11:15-12:00, 12:00-12:45, 13:45-14:30, 14:30-15:15 and 15:15-16:00 in the Market Room.

Visitors and live interpreters during the Hillsborough Castle Christmas celebrations in 2017
Lucy Worsley, Joint Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, speaks at a reception

Historic Royal Palaces' Chief Curator and TV Presenter Lucy Worsley will guide you through the life of Queen Victoria.

30 November 2018

Hillsborough Castle


Food historian Marc Meltonville tells visitors about the invention of Christmas.
Tours and talks

Discover the origins of Christmas while sampling Victorian food, drink and music on this special festive tour of the house.

07 December 2018

Hillsborough Castle

First tour 18:45, Second tour 19:45

Moss Walk at Hillsborough Castle in the snow

Join acclaimed actor Ian McElhinney for a special candle-lit reading of spooky stories in the atmospheric Throne Room.

28 December 2018

Hillsborough Castle


Hand embroidered in silk and metal threads, this luxury tree decoration depicts Victoria as a young Queen.

Queen Victoria tree decoration

Hand embroidered in silk and metal threads, this luxury tree decoration depicts Victoria as a young Queen.


Picture of our Royal Victoria bone china tall mug - gold, silver and white

Royal Victoria bone china tall mug

Enjoy an afternoon tea party with our exquisitely designed Royal Victoria tall mug. Made in the UK from bone china, the design is inspired by Queen Victoria's Honitons lace wedding flounce which she wore for her wedding.


Image is of a tea cup and saucer with our exclusive design.

Royal Victoria bone china tea cup and saucer

Enjoy a regal afternoon tea with our Royal Victoria blue tea cup and saucer set. Available exclusively from Historic Royal Palaces, the design is inspired by one of Victoria's most iconic crowns and by the pattern found on her wedding dress.