Hillsborough Castle Gardens

Explore the stunning gardens that surround the castle

Explore the stunning gardens that surround the castle

When

  • 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.

Opening times vary. Please check the opening times page for gardens admission times on the date of your visit.

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, Ice House, Pinetum and the Quaker Burial Ground.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

The 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, the Quaker Burial Ground, Ice House and Pinetum.

An exterior photo of the South facade of Hillsborough Castle on a sunny September day. Framed by greenery.
Hillsborough Castle Gardens, looking towards Yew Tree Walk and Lady Alice's Temple. An area paved with flagstones and set with flowerbeds featuring irises and other plants is in the foreground.

Accessibility

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.

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

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

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 castle tours (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 enjoying the State Drawing Room in Hillsborough Castle. A young couple are in the foreground sat on a 2-seater sofa, seemingly enjoying the views around them. The rest of the group are spread around the room; a HRP Explainer stands in the background.
Things to see

Discover contemporary Irish art from the collection of HRH The Prince of Wales in this elegant family space.

Open daily for castle tours

Hillsborough Castle

Included in castle tours (members go free)

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