Ante Room

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

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



Ticketing information

Explore the Ante Room as part of a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.

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

Buy Hillsborough Castle and Gardens tickets

The Ante Room formed part of the original house, which was built in the mid-18th century. It was created from a much smaller hallway in 1936, following a devastating fire in 1934.

An elegant 'Wyatt' window (named for the 18th-century architect James Wyatt who popularised the shape) overlooks the courtyard to the east. The structure of the window is 18th century with later fittings and panelling.

Highlights of the Ante Room

The First Marquess of Downshire (late 1700s)

Sculptor Joseph Nollekens became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1771 and sculpted public figures of his day from George III to William Pitt and Charles Fox.

The subject of this bust, Wills Hill, First Marquess of Downshire, is credited with developing much of the town of Hillsborough, most notably the castle, church and courthouse.

Town and Park of Hillsborough (1788)

William Byers' map depicts the Small Park and town of Hillsborough. The Small Park encompasses the gardens that surround the castle, encased by the walls from 1803.

The desire to attain a vision of natural beauty within the gardens led the Third Marquess of Downshire to attempt to reverse the process of urbanisation that Wills Hill had begun.

King George V (c1912)

George V signed the Act of Partition that created Northern Ireland, and was monarch when Hillsborough Castle and Gardens became residence of the Governor of Northern Ireland.

Queen Mary (c1912-1935)

Although she eventually became a devoted wife and queen to George V, Mary was first betrothed to his older brother Albert.

When Prince Albert died unexpectedly in 1892 she grew close to his younger brother, during a shared period of mourning. Mary accepted his marriage proposal in 1893, and they were married just two months later. Mary died in 1953, 10 weeks before the coronation of her granddaughter, Her Majesty The Queen.

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.


Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission 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.


Hillsborough Castle

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

Historic Royal Palaces retail product - drinking glasses, books and deer cushion

Shop homewares

In our home section you will find stylish lifestyle home accessories and furnishings, including cushions, tapestries, ornaments and much more which will add those finishing touches to make your room complete.

From £9.99

Palace China Collection, serviettes and cake stand.  Design inspired by the palaces in our care; delicate details taken from the rose gardens at Hampton Court Palace, the famous gates at Kensington Palace and the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.   'Tea Fit for a Queen' book - reciipes and drinks for afternoon tea.  Lifestyle

Shop HRP Books & Publications

Discover books inspired by the palaces in our care, learn about fascinating periods of British history, including our official palace guide books, children's books and more.

From £10.99

A selection of products from Royal Palace collection
Royal Palace fine bone china dessert plate 30142978.  Royal Palace luxury ceramic bauble 30169631. Royal Palace fine bone china tea for two gift set 30162646 comprising of two cups and saucers and tea strainer, Royal Palace china tea po

Shop afternoon tea gifts and accessories

Exclusive English fine bone chine tea sets inspired by our historic royal palaces. Collect our traditional Palace china afternoon tea sets, with designs including elements from all our royal palaces.

From £10.00