State Dining Room

An elegant scene for Georgian entertainments

An elegant scene for Georgian entertainments

When

  • Open daily for castle tours

Ticketing information

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

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

The State Dining Room has been in constant use since the house was built. The doors to the kitchens and ancillary areas are shielded by leather screens so that servants could enter and leave discreetly.

During state dinners, the host is expected to sit at the centre of the dining table with their back to the fireplace. Her Majesty The Queen continued this tradition during her first visit as Queen during her Coronation Tour in 1953. Directly in her sightline would have been the Granville Garden, which was created by her aunt Rose, the Countess of Granville.

Highlights of the State Dining Room

Queen Mary’s Girls of Britain and Ireland replica tiara

Her Majesty The Queen was guest of honour at a dinner to celebrate her coronation, here in the State Dining Room in 1953.

A copy of the tiara that Her Majesty wore on the occasion, the Queen Mary’s Girls of Britain and Ireland tiara, is on display in the State Dining Room.

A young teenage girl and her younger sister smile with delight as they look at a replica of a tiara worn by HM The Queen in 1953 during her first ever visit to Hillsborough Castle. The tiara sits on a red velvet cushion with gold trim and is located in the State Dining Room. Green walls and a deep red curtain is visible behind the young girls.
Photo taken from the end of the State Dining Room table to the end. Table in dressed with silver cutlery, crockery and crystal.

Portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte (c1762-1800)

George III and Queen Charlotte met in the afternoon of 8 September 1761 and were married that evening. George was the first Hanoverian King to be born and raised in England. Despite being one of the longest reigning monarchs in British history, he is often remembered for his frequent bouts of mental illness.

The portraits of the King and Queen in the State Dining Room are part of a series of copies by Scottish artist Allan Ramsay and his studio.

Lord Arthur Hill in Uniform (c1821)

The painting on the far side of the State Dining Room depicts the impressive figure of Lord Arthur Hill, second son of the second Marquess of Downshire.

Lord Arthur fought in the Peninsula War before becoming a captain and 'Aide de Camp' to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, to whom he was related.

In June 1815, Lord Arthur travelled to Dover on horseback and commandeered a boat for £22 to row across the Channel and join the imminent conflict at Waterloo. Wellington famously said that 'if there hadn’t been a boat, Arthur would no doubt have swum'.

A group of visitors are being entertained by a HRP Explainer in the Red Room in Hillsborough Castle. In the centre of the room is a long Georgian dinning table that looks like it's currently being setup for a lavish dinner party, silver cutlery and crystal are visible on the table top. A Waterford Crystal chandelier hangs above the table and the walls are green. Red and gold curtains frame the tall windows and full-length gold-framed mirrors hang between them. A large rug with a flax flower design covers the wooden floor below.
A large Georgian-style dining room with a table dressed for dinner in the middle. The walls are covered in pale mint green decor and there are paintings covering the walls

The 4th Marquess of Downshire (c1830-45)

The 4th Marquess of Downshire served as Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal South Down Militia. He is depicted in the State Dining Room as the Earl of Hillsborough.

When he married Caroline Stapleton Cotton in 1837, he threw a famously extravagant wedding party at the Fort attended by 3,000 tenants. It is rumoured that 13 guests died from overindulgence!

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)

Vertical shot looking straight up at Rubens' Ceiling at Banqueting House Whitehall, London
Highlights Things to see

Marvel at Sir Peter Paul Rubens' ceiling in its original setting of Inigo Jones' spectacular Banqueting House.

Open daily

Banqueting House

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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