Winter family activities

Enjoy our Wonder Weekends together!

Enjoy our Wonder Weekends together!


Various dates from January - March 2020

Ticketing information

Included in gardens admission (members go free)

Buy Hillsborough Castle and Gardens tickets

Take part in the family fun this winter and discover Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Enjoy birdwatching, creative workshops, storytelling and get hands-on with objects to discover Hillsborough Castle's fascinating history.  

Activities are suitable for families with young children. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Please be advised that numbers are limited for these events and places are booked on a first come, first served basis.

Guided family bird walk

It’s time for the 2020 Big Garden Birdwatch! Explore Hillsborough Castle’s grounds and see if you can spot some of our resident birds in this guided walk for families led by The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.  

Date: 25 January 
Time: 10:30, 12:00, 14:00
Location: Hillsborough Castle grounds
Meeting place: Stable Yard courtyard

Collect your ticket by the blackboard sign in the Stable Yard 30 minutes before the session begins. 

This event is outside and will only be cancelled in extreme weather, so please dress appropriately. The gardens are hilly and not all areas are fully accessible. Participant discretion is advised.

A family walk through the Lost Garden at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in autumn 2019. The children are walking on the boulders on either side of the path, surrounded by orange and yellow autumn foliage in the background.

Hands on Hillsborough: Object handling

What will you discover at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens this year? Uncover some of the stories, characters and history by exploring objects in our handling collection, based on a different theme each month.   

Date: 25 & 26 January, 22 & 23 February, 28 & 29 March
Time: 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00
Location: Clore Learning Centre
Meeting place: Stable Yard courtyard

Wild about birds of prey

Find out about incredible birds of prey in this family-friendly session.

Date: 26 January
Time: 11:30, 13:00
Location: Clore Learning Centre
Meeting place: Stable Yard courtyard

Places are strictly limited. To secure your place, please collect a ticket from the sign in the stable yard 30 minutes before each session begins.

January Wonder Weekend Image by Mike Gibb. Consent confirmed via telephone with Maria Magill. Image of a Barn Owl not to be used in conjunction with any other event.
Families at a workshop

Hillsborough Castle Inventors' Club

Did you know that Hillsborough has seen the latest inventions throughout the years? From Edison’s kinetoscope, to Harry Ferguson’s pioneering flight, to our very own Wills Hill and the lemonade bottle cap!  

Why not add to this list and try your hand at creating your own simple invention to take home?

This event is part of the NI Science Festival. 

Date: 22 February
Time: 10:30, 11:45, 13:45, 15:00
Location: Clore Learning Centre
Meeting place: Stable Yard courtyard

Please queue in the Stable Yard by the blackboard sign.

Sunday storytelling sessions

Enjoy a wide range of stories, inspired by science & invention, in this relaxed session for families. 

Date: 23 February
Time: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:00, 15:00
Location: Clore Learning Centre
Meeting place: Stable Yard courtyard

A young teenage girl and her younger sister smile as they view a replica of a silver tiara studded with diamonds, on a red display cushion.
Families Tours and talks

Uncover the stories behind guests of Hillsborough Castle, on this fun tour designed with families in mind.

Weekends only

Hillsborough Castle

11:30 or 14:30

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

Throne Room with silk green damask walls, wooden floor and large rug. Two red and gold Chairs of State, or 'thrones' are situated at the far end of the room. Gold-framed paintings of landscapes adorn the walls and three large chandeliers hang above.
Things to see

Explore the ceremonial heart of the castle, where Her Majesty The Queen received guests at a coronation ball in 1953.

Open daily for castle tours

Hillsborough Castle

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