State Entrance Hall

A magnificent start to your visit to Northern Ireland’s royal residence

A magnificent start to your visit to Northern Ireland’s royal residence


  • Open daily for castle tours

Ticketing information

Explore the State Entrance Hall as part of a guided tour of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens.

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

The State Entrance Hall has been the entrance hall to the building since it was built in the 18th century.

By entering the castle through these doors, you are following in the footsteps of royals, politicians, pop stars and many other distinguished guests, including Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the current Royal Family.

As you admire the art in this room, take a moment to have a closer look at the walls, which have been expertly painted to replicate the elegant gold sandstone exterior, following the historic tradition of décor in this room.

Highlights of the State Entrance Hall

Charles II (c1800-65)

This nineteenth-century portrait of Charles II shows the King in around 1672 and was commissioned by Queen Victoria, who was interested in her Stuart heritage. It once hung in St James’s Palace and is still part of the Royal Collection.

Catherine of Braganza (c1664-70)

Catherine of Braganza was queen consort of England, Scotland and Ireland after marrying Charles II in 1662. This portrait, showing Catherine as St. Catherine of Alexandria, is thought to have been in the collection of Charles II. It was purchased by Her Majesty The Queen for the Royal Collection in 1955.

The five eldest children of Charles I (c1650-99)

This 17th-century copy of an original Van Dyck portrait depicts Prince Charles (later Charles II), Princess Mary, Prince James (later James II and VII), Princess Elizabeth and Princess Anne. The original is dated 1637, when Prince Charles just seven years old.

James II (1685)

This portrait of James II and VII is believed to have been painted by Anne Killigrew in the year of his accession and later acquired by George IV. It was mentioned in John Dryden's elegy in memory of the artist.

State Entrance of Hillsborough Castle showing fireplace with surrounding seating and furniture. Looking towards doors leading into Candlestick Hall.
A middle-aged couple walk through the State Entrance Hall whilst other visitors explore behind them. The room features a stone-tiled floor with painted-effect stone walls. Large oil paintings and portraits in gold frames hang on the surrounding walls.

Mary of Modena, when Duchess of York (c1675)

Mary of Modena became the consort of James, Duke of York (later James II and VII) in 1673 after the death of his first wife, Anne Hyde.

This striking portrait is believed to have been painted for Mary or her husband before he became King. It shows Mary dressed in a richly embroidered riding habit.

William III, when Prince of Orange (c1658)

This portrait shows Prince William in 'coats' – the style of dress worn by boys until they were seven or eight – in a striking colour designed to allude to his title.

Despite his young age, William bears symbols of his royal stature including a sword, the ribbon of the Order of the Garter and a baton of command.

Queen Anne (c1850-64)

Queen Anne was Queen of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1702 until 1714 and was the last monarch of the Stuart dynasty.

Anne's elegant portrait in the State Entrance Hall is a nineteenth-century copy of Sir Godfrey Kneller's portrait. Like the portrait of Charles II, it was commissioned by Queen Victoria who was interested in her Stuart ancestors.

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester (c1691)

Facing the portrait of Queen Anne in the State Entrance Hall is another depicting her son, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester. William was born at Hampton Court Palace in 1689 and was the only one of Anne’s 17 children to survive past infancy.

As the only direct Stuart heir, William represented the future of the dynasty, even at the tender age he is shown in this portrait. However, he died aged just 11 and the line ended with Anne’s death in 1714.

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)

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

The Wildflower crystal and pearl tiara sparkles with florets of crystals and an elaborate foliage design.

Shop jewellery

Choose from our stunning collection of jewellery, including pieces inspired by the palaces and the people who lived in them. These beautiful collections include necklaces, rings, earrings, charm bracelets, bangles and pendants.

From £14.99

Historic Royal Palaces retail product - light green and white crockery and stationary, a table setting.

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