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Accessibility

Committed to access for all

Committed to access for all

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens welcomes all visitors and aims to make everyone’s day out successful and enjoyable.

We are committed to improving access and facilities for visitors with disabilities.

Access Guides

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens encompasses almost 100 acres. The natural terrain can be steep in places. Our access guide highlights all steep hills and steps on site and shows a step-free route through the gardens. You can download the access guide or pick up a printed copy at our ticket desk.

There is mobility transport provided when the castle is open. To see seasonal castle opening hours, check our opening times page.

Carer tickets

Visitors are entitled to bring an accompanying carer free of charge.

These complimentary adult carer tickets can be obtained on the day of your visit upon presentation of proof of registered disability.

Guide dogs welcome

Trained assistance dogs are welcome at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. This includes medical alert dogs. Your assistance dog must be clearly identifiable.

We are happy to provide water on request.

Comfort dogs

Only trained and accredited assistance dogs are allowed. An accredited dog undergoes task training that is specific to the disability of the person they will be assisting and passes a public access test, certifying them as safe in our environment.

Visitors with autism

All the staff you will meet at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens undergo Autism Awareness Training developed with the assistance of Autism NI. Designed to guide us in responding to individual sensory and communication needs, we aim to make your visit as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Visiting the Gardens

You can download a Pre-Visit Guide to the gardens here. This will help you prepare for your visit and learn about what you will see when you get here.

Experiencing the Castle

Visitor numbers inside the Castle are capped so there is space and quiet to enjoy the palace at your own pace.

Sensory bags and games are available to aid in engagement with the castle environment. Speak to a member of staff on arrival – we want to make sure you enjoy your visit in a way that meets your needs.

Visitors with limited mobility

The estate is very large and spans over 1 kilometre from the Pineapple Yard to the State Entrance. Hillsborough Fort is a further 500 metres from the castle.

Distance information has been included on the directional signs in the gardens to help visitors plan their journey around the site.

Inside the Castle 

You can book tickets to visit inside the castle. The rooms you will see are called the State Rooms and are used by the Royal Family when they come to stay.

The State Rooms are all on the ground floor and accessible to all. Find out more and book a castle visit here.

Wheelchairs and mobility aids

There are a limited number of wheelchairs available to borrow during your visit. These are operated on a first-come, first-served basis and are sanitised between each use.

Unfortunately, due to the conservation risk posed to flooring, mobility scooters are not permitted inside the castle.

Moving between the Visitor Centre and State Entrance

When the castle is open to the public, a minibus is available to assist visitors from the Walled Garden to the State Entrance for their castle visit.

Spaces are limited and priority will be given to those with accessibility needs. To arrange this service please speak to a member of staff upon arrival.

The Gardens

Due to the natural terrain of the gardens, some of the paths are unsuitable for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility. Some of the paths have steps and steep slopes, which will become slippery in wet weather.

Step-free routes

Step-free routes and ramps are available in both the Pineapple Yard and the Stable Yard. There is a step-free route between the Walled Garden and State Entrance that is clearly marked on-site. This route is marked in yellow in the Hillsborough Gardens map available to download below.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens Food Festival showing Walled Garden pathways with lavender bushes.

Disabled parking

There are 27 blue badge holder parking spaces in Hillsborough Castle and Gardens car park. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and parking is free for all visitors.

For free on-site parking, please follow the brown tourist signs on the A1 south to our sign-posted car park entrance.

Toilets

Toilets in the Pineapple Yard Garden are wheelchair accessible. A Changing Places facility is also available for use in the Pineapple Yard.

Accessible Castle Tours

Deaf or hard-of-hearing visitors

Castle guide books are available to borrow free of charge from the Palace Host at the entrance to the Castle for all Deaf or hard of hearing visitors.

We will be developing our capability to provide induction loops and British Sign Language (BSL) services in the future.

Blind or partially sighted visitors

Our Palace Hosts undertake training developed with assistance by the RNIB. We will bring the rooms and stories to life through descriptive language.

We will be developing our capability to provide tailored descriptive tours and audio guides for the future.

Explainers on the South Terrace at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. 

Discover stories of celebration, entertainment, diplomacy, and negotiation as our expert Explainers guide you through a 45-minute tour of Hillsborough Castle's fascinating history and stunning State Rooms.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Tours and talks
  • Events

Garden Workshops

Join our expert gardeners in workshops and explore Hillsborough Castle's historic gardens.

  • Until 14 September 2024
  • 10.30 - 12.30
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Separate ticket (advance booking required)
Learn more Buy Tickets
  • Tours and talks

Hillsborough Castle Special Interest Tours

Led by an expert guide, delve deeper into Hillsborough Castle's unique history.

  • July - November
  • 60 minutes
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Separate ticket
Learn more Buy tickets
  • Families

Summer Music In The Gardens

Spend a summer afternoon relaxing in the gardens and listening to music.

  • 29 June - 17 August
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

Art at Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle has become a place in which to see amazing art

The story of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

‘The Grandest House in County Down’