Things to see and do this summer

Explore Northern Ireland's royal residence with a visit to the transformed Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Explore Northern Ireland's royal residence with a visit to the transformed Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Updated 30 July. Following government guidance, the castle and gardens at Hillsborough Castle are now open Thursday-Sunday. Please read our visit information.

Open Thursday to Sunday

Located just 20 minutes from Belfast, the restored and re-imagined Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has something for everyone.

Explore 100 acres of beautiful gardens, including the newly-restored Walled Garden, the previously unseen Lost Garden, meandering waterways and picturesque glens.

You’ll find parking easy in our free car park. You can also enjoy delicious light bites and afternoon tea on our patio terrace or enjoy one of our picnic hampers in the grounds - just remember your picnic blanket and we'll do the rest!

Garden highlights

The Walled Garden at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, showing the pergola in the distance surrounded by planting and bedding. An archway surrounds the frame of the image and there is a blue cloudy sky
Things to see

Enter the castle grounds through this 18th-century walled garden, which has been expertly restored using traditional methods.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Lady Alice's Temple, looking west across the terrace and pond. 

This domed temple was given as a wedding gift to Lady Alice Hill by her brother, the 5th Marquess of Downshire in 1867. A circular seat inside the temple sits behind a screen of Ionic columns.
Things to see

Take a seat in this 19th-century temple and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding gardens.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

The Glen at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, showing a stream running through a woody green area under a blue sky
Things to see

Explore this intimate corner of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, which is full of colour and intriguing details.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

A group of visitor enjoy a wander around the Granville Garden in the grounds of Hillsborough Castle on a warm Summers Day. The open iron gates of the garden are visible in the foregrouns and a blue clouded sky above is in start contract to the bright green of Europe's largest rhododendron, also visible behind the garden.
Things to see

Take a moment in this elegant rose garden created by Lady Granville, aunt to Her Majesty The Queen.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

A large lake at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens under a cloudy sky. Foliage from the surrounding trees and planting surrounds the water
Things to see

Explore an expanse of picturesque waterways and magnificent giant sequoia trees in the Lake and Pinetum.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

A lady and four young children walk down stone steps on the South Terrace towards the Jubilee Parterre. The South Façade of the Hillsborough Castle is visible in the background and a blue sky hangs above. The sun is shining brightly and highlights the nearby box-trimmed hedges and white flowers.
Things to see

Discover a charming formal garden and find out why the castle's 19th-century summer house is so unusual.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Castle highlights

Ante Room with wooden floor, olive-green walls and dark green damask curtains. A marble bust stands in the corner, and two deep red chairs frame the doors leading to the State Entrance Hall.
Things to see

Discover the heart of the castle, which provides access to some of the most important spaces.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

A group of visitors wander around Lady Grey's Study. A crystal chandelier hangs above the room which features a soft teal wallpaper, hand-block printed with a flower design
Things to see

Discover this calm, cosy room and learn about the historic meetings that have taken place within its walls.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Throne Room with silk green damask walls, wooden floor and large rug. Two red and gold Chairs of State, or 'thrones' are situated at the far end of the room. Gold-framed paintings of landscapes adorn the walls and three large chandeliers hang above.
Things to see

Explore the ceremonial heart of the castle, where Her Majesty The Queen received guests at a coronation ball in 1953.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

A lady stands in a Georgian room, 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.
Things to see

Political history meets royal life and a spectacular collection of art, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Visitors enjoying the State Drawing Room in Hillsborough Castle. A young couple are in the foreground sat on a 2-seater sofa, seemingly enjoying the views around them. The rest of the group are spread around the room; a HRP Explainer stands in the background.
Things to see

Discover contemporary Irish art from the collection of HRH The Prince of Wales in this elegant family space.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Two young girls look at a replica of a diamond silver tiara on a red display pillow in a historic room.
Things to see

Explore this stylish setting for Georgian entertainment, where Her Majesty The Queen still hosts dinners.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in combined castle tour and gardens tickets (members go free)

Meet the Keeper of the Walled Garden

Adam Ferguson, our Keeper of the Walled Garden, and his team have reimagined the Walled Garden using a combination of heritage and modern techniques.

Meet Adam and his team, and hear about their future plans, in this short film.

Find out more about the Walled Garden
Hillsborough Castle from the top of Yew Tree Walk. A paved terrace surrounded by summer planting in flower beds is in the foreground.

Buy tickets online

To visit Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, please book a ticket and time slot. 

Buy tickets now

Our supporters

The new blue and black Heritage Lottery Fund logo for 2019, displayed on a white background

The restoration and re-presentation of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens was made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Mark Pigott KBE KSTJ, Garfield Weston Foundation, the Clore Duffield Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and other generous donors.