Red Room

Political history meets royal life, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle

Political history meets royal life, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle

When

  • Open Wednesday-Sunday for castle tours

Ticketing information

Included in castle tours (members go free)

This splendid room was originally the Drawing Room of the house, and has been the setting for historic political meetings since the 1970s.

It was in this room that Her Majesty The Queen met President Mary McAleese of Ireland in 2005 – the first time that the two heads of state had met on the island of Ireland.

Royal visitors would have entered the gardens through the French window on the right; in the 1960s it had to be lowered so that the petite Princess Margaret could step over comfortably!

Today, the walls are covered in striking red silk damask fabric and a collection of art, which includes works by Antony van Dyck, Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth.

Highlights of the Red Room

The Bone Miniatures

As you admire the many pieces of artwork in this room, take a moment to admire the 40 miniature portraits of English sovereigns, and several of their consorts, which span the walls.

Prince Albert commissioned this collection, named the Bone Miniatures, in 1843. Albert and Queen Victoria used to place the portraits on the floor to test each other’s knowledge of the family tree.

The collection is named after its creators, Henry Bone and his son Henry Pierce Bone.

A group of visitors enjoying a viewing of the Red Room, one of Hillsborough Castle's State Rooms. Two young girls appear in the foreground along with a young couple. A small group of older ladies and gentlemen can be seen in the background having just entered the room. The walls are lined with a deep red silk damask and a variety of oil paintings in gold frames of various sizes fill the walls. A chandelier hangs above a small round wooden table in the centre of the room. The walls are lined with grey and gold detailing.
A lady stands in the foreground looking around her at the gold-framed paintings adorning the Red Room. The walls are covered in deep red silk damask and a marble fireplace is visible. An older couple can be seen in the background, also looking at the paintings.

The round table

The round table was regarded as a key element to the function of the room as a place for political discussions and negotiations.

The shape of the table avoids any hierarchy of 'top and lower' seating, meaning that no one can be placed at the 'head' of the table. This is evocative of the legendary Arthurian Round Table.

A guide shows a group of visitors the Throne Room in the State Rooms at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Two red and gold thrones sit at one end of the room and the walls are lined with green silk damask and the walls are lined with historical artwork.
Tours and talks Things to see

Discover elegant State Rooms still used by the royal family on a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle.

Wednesday to Sunday

Hillsborough Castle

One tour per hour, starting on the hour (first tour: 10:00, final tour: 15:00)

Included in castle tours (members go free)

The South Terrace, looking south-east across the terrace flagstones towards the small topiary trees and summer shrubs. The Greek Temple is just seen through the castle portico in the background on the left of the image.
Things to see

Discover the ornamental lawns, meandering waterways, peaceful woodlands and picturesque glens that surround Hillsborough Castle.

Open daily

Hillsborough Castle

09:30-16:00 (last admission is 15:00)

Included in gardens admission (members go free)

A music festival takes place in front of a huge crowd within the Tudor courtyard of Hampton Court Palace
Events

A series of open-air summer concerts in the spectacular and iconic Tudor courtyard at Hampton Court Palace.

06-21 June 2019

Hampton Court Palace

Separate ticket (advanced booking required)

Image is of a Clogau designed silver stacking ring inspired by The Great Pagoda at Kew.

Clogau Kew Pagoda silver and rose gold ring

Inspired by the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens, this exquisite silver stacking ring features an intricate octagonal oriental design with accents of rare welsh gold.

£149.00

This beautiful ceramic bauble features a Palace Crest design, designed exclusively for Historic Royal Palaces.

Royal Palace Crest fine bone china bauble

This beautiful ceramic bauble features a Palace Crest design, designed exclusively for Historic Royal Palaces.

£55.00

Kew Palace luxury embroidered hanging decoration, luxury Christmas ornament depicts the Dutch House of Kew Palace which dates back to 1631

Kew Palace luxury embroidered hanging decoration

This luxury handmade Christmas tree decoration features the design of the front of the Dutch House at Kew Palace on the River Thames in south west London.

£29.99