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May Day Weekend

Music, crafts and more

Music, crafts and more

Join us for Hillsborough Castle’s May Day Weekend 2024, the perfect way to celebrate the long weekend.

There’s something for everyone in the stunning setting of Hillsborough Castle’s 100-acre royal gardens. From a brass band to a royal gun salute, and family crafts to lawn games – find out more about what’s on below.

Don’t miss out on the fun. Pre-book now, members go free.

When

04 - 06 May 2024

In line with gardens opening hours

Ticket Information

Members and under 5s go free.


Included in gardens admission (members go free)

Buy Hillsborough Castle and Gardens tickets
The South Lawn, showing a smiling little girl and adult busy drawing and colouring at one of the activities at the King Charles III Coronation party.
Lady Alice's Temple showing couple enjoying the view of the Lake and Gardens.

Entertainment for all the family

Throughout the long weekend, children can get stuck into crafts specially designed to keep little fingers busy. Then hunt through the garden explorer cart and see what interesting creepy crawlies and plants you can find in the spacious gardens. Don’t forget to go on an adventure through the interactive Imaginary Menagerie play trail! Everyone can enjoy a range of classic lawn games – just don’t get too competitive!

The South Lawn, showing a family (an adult and two girls) sitting on a picnic blanket and in the foreground a little boy playing with a hula hoop, enjoying the Coronation activities in the Gardens.

Things to see and do

On Saturday 04 May, join the free Compost and Seed workshop at 11.00 or 14.00 run by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council. This lasts approximately two hours and is for those aged 16 or over. Make eco-friendly paper pots and seed bombs, learn about compost, pick up some seasonal gardening tips and take a guided tour of the walled garden. In addition to this, take home a complementary bag of compost.

Numbers are limited so book your place on arrival at the Admissions Desk in the visitor centre.

There will also be a special royal tree gardens tour, celebrating Hillsborough Castle being Northern Ireland’s official royal residence. To join the free tour (included in your ticket), meet at the entrance to the Walled Garden on Sat 04 May at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00, or Mon 06 May at 11:00.

Don’t miss also enjoying Spring Spectacular only until 09 May, where over half a million bulbs have been planted across the gardens including rare and local varieties.

Upgrade your ticket to include Castle entry, and see inside Northern Ireland’s royal residence. You’ll also get to explore Life Through A Royal Lens. Featuring photos from Annie Leibovitz, Rankin and Cecil Beaton, this fascinating exhibition investigates the Royal Family’s enduring relationship with the camera.

The South Lawn looking north, showing visitors enjoying celebrating King Charles III Coronation day. Two older gentlemen wearing straw hats are sitting in picnic chairs in the foreground and raising a glass of champagne to the King. More visitors can be seen in the background.

Join us on Monday 06 May

Monday 06 May will also give you the rare chance to see a gun salute, to mark one year since the coronation of HM The King Charles III. The gun salute takes place at 12:00 on the South Terrace so make sure to arrive early to make your way through the gardens.

After the gun salute, be enchanted by melodies from talented brass band Downshire Brass on the West Lawn at 14.30. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn, or indulge in a moreish treat from our delicious café.

Members of the 206 (Ulster) Battery, 105th Regiment, Royal Artillery firing a Gun Salute celebrating the 68th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation on 2nd June 1953. Smoke is seen billowing from the gun.

Become a member today

Enjoy more unmissable events for all the family with membership. Be spooked at Halloween, go on a special hunt at Easter, or just stroll through the ever-evolving gardens. Save with membership and enjoy unlimited visits to the magnificent palace and gardens all year round.

Become a member today

Gardens showing young girl blowing bubbles at King Charles III Coronation Weekend Party.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Events
  • Things to see
  • Families
  • Easter

Spring Spectacular

Witness half a million bulbs in bloom in 100 acres of stunning gardens.

  • Until 06 May 2024
  • In line with gardens opening hours
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in gardens admission (members go free)
Learn more
  • Events
  • Families

Peter Rabbit Adventure

Discover 100 acres of fun with Peter and friends this summer. Treat your family with free tickets for kids.

  • 29 June - 01 September 2024
  • In line with gardens opening hours
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in gardens admission (members go free)
Learn more
  • Events
  • Families

Hillsborough Castle Summer Fair

Enjoy food, crafts and summer tunes this August bank holiday weekend.

  • 24 - 26 August 2024
  • In line with gardens opening hours
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Hillsborough Castle Summer Fair