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Members-Only Gardens Tours

Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle

With ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens, the historic gardens surrounding Northern Ireland's royal residence are a joy to explore.

On these members-only tours, come and discover the gardens at Hillsborough Castle with Gardens Manager, Claire Woods.

These tours are an exclusive opportunity to explore the gardens with our Gardens Manager and are included in the cost of your membership. Equivalent tours require payment for non-members. Tickets are limited so please only book if you are available and will attend.

We recommend sturdy footwear as paths can be rough and routes will involve steep steps.

01 May

This guided tour of the gardens will introduce you to the history of the gardens since they were enclosed in the 18th century, how they were initially laid out and the changes that have taken place over the last 250 years. You will hear about the Hill family and their influence on the gardens and those who have added or made changes in more recent years. Recent plantings and historic iconic plants will be discussed during the tour.

19 June

This tour introduces you to the early summer plants that are in flower. Starting in the Walled Garden with the herbaceous beds and then on through the Lost Garden to see the late Rhododendrons and candelabra primulas. Stroll through the wildflower meadow to see the orchids and then to the South Terrace which is a riot of colour in June. The focus of the tour will be on the plants, their identification and use in the garden, hopefully giving you ideas for your own garden.

21 September

Autumn is a time to harvest and this walk will be focused on the Walled Garden where you will be introduced to all the crops that are ready for harvest. The early apples and pears should be ripe and ready to taste. We will also look at the best of the autumn flowering herbaceous plants in the borders and how to keep them looking lovely through the season.

When

01 May, 19 June and 21 September 2024

11:00

Ticketing information

Tickets for 01 May and 19 June are available to book now.

Members go free. Advance booking required via the member portal, under Member-Only Events.

Tours start promptly at 11:00 and last approximately 60 minutes. 

Tickets are limited and subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply


Free (advance booking required)

Book tickets online
Claire Woods (Garden Manager) (wearing a hat) crouching down working on a spring flower border. Blurred purple flowers are seen in the foreground.
Hillsborough Castle & Gardens, showing pink and red rhododendron flowers in bloom surrounded by green lawns, trees and shrubbery.
General view of Keeper of the Walled Garden, Adam Ferguson at work preparing the harvest.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Things to see

The Gardens

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

  • Wednesday - Sunday
  • 10:00-17:00. Last entry one hour before closing.
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

Granville Garden

Take a moment in this elegant rose garden created by Lady Granville, aunt to Queen Elizabeth II.

  • In line with castle opening hours
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

Walled Garden

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

  • In line with gardens opening hours
  • Hillsborough Castle
  • Included in all admission tickets (members go free)
Learn more