The Imaginary Menagerie

Our garden play trail

Our garden play trail

When

Open


Where

In the gardens


Ticketing information

Suitable for families and visitors of all ages and abilities. Under 5's do not require a ticket.


Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

Buy Hillsborough Gardens tickets

Family fun awaits

Enjoy a day out discovering our interactive play trail - the Imaginary Menagerie.

This animal-inspired play trail throughout the Castle's gardens will take you on adventures celebrating the animals and wildlife that have made, and continue to make, Hillsborough their home.

From Governor Lord Erskine’s tropical fish which he bred in the Staircase Hall and Lady Salisbury’s horse and carriage, to the robins, kingfishers and otters that thrive in the gardens today - Hillsborough has a whole menagerie of animals for you to uncover as the seasons change.

Book your adventure today with a Gardens only ticket.

Play, marvel or relax among wildlife

Follow the kingfisher and robin trails around the gardens at your own pace. Discover magical places to play, marvel or relax with your family.  

You'll find sculptures integrated into the landscape, hands-on play, as well as opportunities to watch nature in action like our  bee hives and lakeside bird hide.

Which animals will you find along the way? 

Families at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, enjoying the Imaginary Menagerie play trail and installation.
Families at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, enjoying the Imaginary Menagerie play trail and installation.

Kingfisher trail

The trail takes you around the Lake and takes about 30 minutes to walk plus extra time to play.

Look out for the kingfishers. Follow them around the trail to see what you can find.

Feel the earth between your toes in Barefoot Walk, create marvellous music with the wooden chimes in the Sound Forest, spot our birds including majestic swans or perhaps one of our resident kingfishers and find your favourite Hillsborough Hound!

Robin trail

The trail takes about 40 minutes to walk plus extra time to play.

Look out for the robins. Follow them around the trail to see what you can find.

Hide out in the family nest, talk to the animals and birds or your friends with our amazing talk tubes, explore the crannog over the stream and lookout for the exotic birdcage sculpture. You can also build your own folly.

There is so much to explore!

 

Families at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, enjoying the Imaginary Menagerie play trail and installation.

Download Imaginary Menagerie trail map booklet

Imaginary Menagerie trail map booklet
Map of Hillsborough Castle's gardens, detailing the Imaginary Menagerie
Heritage Fund Logo
Two visitors walking around the Lake along a path in the sunshine.
Tours and talks Events

Join us on guided walks and tours at Hillsborough Castle's gardens and discover the history behind their beautiful plants and flowers.

Various dates year-round

Hillsborough Castle

Separate ticket

A lady and four young children walk down stone steps on the South Terrace towards the Jubilee Parterre. The South Façade of the Hillsborough Castle is visible in the background and a blue sky hangs above. The sun is shining brightly and highlights the nearby box-trimmed hedges and white flowers.
Things to see

Discover a charming formal garden and find out why the castle's 19th-century summer house is so unusual.

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in all admission tickets (members go free)

The Main Lawn. Showing shrubs in the foreground and trees seen across the lawn.
Things to see

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

Open

Hillsborough Castle

Included in gardens admission (members go free)