Hillsborough Castle Gardens

Explore the stunning gardens that surround the castle

Explore the stunning gardens that surround the castle


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

Ticketing information

Access to the gardens is included in a castle tour or gardens-only ticket.

Parts of the gardens may be difficult to access by visitors with restricted mobility. See below for more information.

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Hillsborough Castle's glorious gardens are bursting with colour and are a joy to explore. 

Discover ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens at Northern Ireland's royal residence.

The historic gardens, which were developed from the 1760s onwards, offer intriguing contrasts between ornate formal gardens, woodland and meadows. 

Keep an eye out for specimen trees and rare plants as you explore the grounds.

On arrival, don't forget to pick up your copy of our garden explorer map which reveals more of the garden's unique features, including the Walled Garden, Yew Tree Walk, Moss Walk, the Lake and Lady Alice's Temple.

These special gardens are a delight to the senses throughout the seasons and offer countless places to unwind, contemplate, socialise and seek inspiration.

Garden highlights

The Walled Garden

The Walled Garden dates back to the 18th century and is a large, four-acre site historically used to produce fruit, vegetables and flowers for the castle.

Learn more about the Walled Garden

Lady Alice’s Temple

Don't miss the tranquil Lady Alice's Temple, where former resident Secretary of State Mo Mowlem once found welcome respite from the pressures of politics.

The temple was given as a wedding gift to Lady Alice Hill by her brother, the 5th Marquess of Downshire in 1867.

Take a seat and relish the tranquility as you enjoy stunning views of the surrounding gardens. 

Yew Tree Walk

This picturesque path is the route of the original road to Moira which passed in front of the house and into The Square. It was enclosed during the mid 1800s and is now named after the paired Irish Yew trees that line the path.

It offers outstanding views of the nearby Lady Alice's Temple.

Learn more about Lady Alice’s Temple
A middle-aged couple sit on balustrade in front of the pond in front of Lady Alice's Temple. The white, columned temple sits elevated above the pond which is surrounded by mature plans.
Two gentlemen and a group of visitors enjoy a wander through the Granville Garden on a sunny Summers day at Hillsborough Castle. The westerly facade of the castle is visible in the background.

Granville Garden

The beautiful Granville Garden was created in the 1940s and 1950s by HM the Queen's aunt; Lady Rose Bowes-Lyon. Lady Rose was the wife of the Earl of Granville, the second Governor of Northern Ireland.

As young princesses, HM the Queen and HRH Princess Margaret would visit their aunt and uncle here at Hillsborough Castle.

Learn more about the Granville Garden

Moss Walk

Take a wander alongside the beautiful Moss Walk, framed under a canopy of lime trees.

This stunning area of the gardens has recently had new paths incorporated to follow the original historic layout from the 1770s and is a beautiful photo spot throughout the seasons.

Other highlights

Hillsborough Castle's gardens are a treat that always reward; look out for the statue of Ossian in the Glen, the Quaker Burial Ground, Ice House and Pinetum.

The Moss Walk, looking south towards Lady Alice's Temple. The Moss Walk is lined with an avenue of lime trees.


The estate is very large and spans over 1km from the Pineapple Yard to the State Entrance. Distance information has been included on the directional signs in the gardens.

Step-free routes

Due to the natural terrain of the gardens, some paths are unsuitable for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility. Some paths have steps and steep slopes that will become slippery in wet weather.

Step-free routes and ramps are available in both the Pineapple Yard and the Stable Yard. A step-free route between the Walled Garden and State Entrance is clearly marked on-site.

The step-free route is clearly marked in yellow on the map in the access guide.

Accessibility at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
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)

Lady Alice's Temple, looking west across the terrace and pond. 

This domed temple was given as a wedding gift to Lady Alice Hill by her brother, the 5th Marquess of Downshire in 1867. A circular seat inside the temple sits behind a screen of Ionic columns.
Things to see

Take a seat in this 19th-century temple and enjoy stunning views of the surrounding gardens.

Open daily

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Visitors meet the Shire Horses in the East Front Gardens at Hampton Court Palace. The baroque palace can be seen in the background
Events Things to see

An opportunity to meet the palace Shire Horses in the East Front Gardens.

17 November 2019

Hampton Court Palace


Included in palace admission (members go free)

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