Red Room

Political history meets royal life, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle

Political history meets royal life, deep in the heart of Hillsborough Castle


  • Open daily for castle tours

Ticketing information

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

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

This splendid room was originally the Drawing Room of the house, and has been the setting for historic political meetings since the 1970s.

It was in this room that Her Majesty The Queen met President Mary McAleese of Ireland in 2005 – the first time that the two heads of state had met on the island of Ireland.

Royal visitors would have entered the gardens through the French window on the right; in the 1960s it had to be lowered so that the petite Princess Margaret could step over comfortably!

Today, the walls are covered in striking red silk damask fabric and a collection of art, which includes works by Antony van Dyck, Sir Joshua Reynolds and William Hogarth.

Highlights of the Red Room

The Bone Miniatures

As you admire the many pieces of artwork in this room, take a moment to admire the 40 miniature portraits of English sovereigns, and several of their consorts, which span the walls.

Prince Albert commissioned this collection, named the Bone Miniatures, in 1843. Albert and Queen Victoria used to place the portraits on the floor to test each other’s knowledge of the family tree.

The collection is named after its creators, Henry Bone and his son Henry Pierce Bone.

A group of visitors enjoying a viewing of the Red Room, one of Hillsborough Castle's State Rooms. Two young girls appear in the foreground along with a young couple. A small group of older ladies and gentlemen can be seen in the background having just entered the room. The walls are lined with a deep red silk damask and a variety of oil paintings in gold frames of various sizes fill the walls. A chandelier hangs above a small round wooden table in the centre of the room. The walls are lined with grey and gold detailing.
A lady stands in the foreground 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.

The round table

The round table was regarded as a key element to the function of the room as a place for political discussions and negotiations.

The shape of the table avoids any hierarchy of 'top and lower' seating, meaning that no one can be placed at the 'head' of the table. This is evocative of the legendary Arthurian Round Table.

A guide shows a group of visitors the Throne Room in the State Rooms at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Two red and gold thrones sit at one end of the room and the walls are lined with green silk damask and the walls are lined with historical artwork.
Tours and talks Things to see

Discover elegant State Rooms still used by the royal family on a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle.

Open daily

Hillsborough Castle

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

The South Terrace, looking south-east across the terrace flagstones towards the small topiary trees and summer shrubs. The Greek Temple is just seen through the castle portico in the background on the left of the image.
Things to see

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

Open daily

Hillsborough Castle

09:30-18:00 (last admission is 17:00)

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Events Families

Get Christmas off to a traditional start by singing carols through some of the palace courtyards.

16, 18, 19, 22 and 23 December 2019

Hampton Court Palace

18:00 and 20:00

Separate ticket (advance booking required)

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