It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Hillsborough Castle!

Get set for Christmas at Hillsborough Castle, Co. Down, with a series of magical events and activities running right through the festive period.

From 28 November – 23 December travel back to 1895, as Lord and Lady Arthur Hill decorate the grand house for a Victorian Christmas! Soak up the seasonal atmosphere in the stunning candlelit State Rooms, adorned with exquisite papercuts from local artist Emma Davison and discover the rich, inspiring and often surprising history of this famous residence, guided by the Castle’s team of expert explainers. After exploring the Castle’s beautifully decorated interiors, families can even have a go at making their very own decorations with drop-in family workshops, on selected weekends, including wreathmaking and decorative papercutting classes.

Each weekend, the Castle will burst into life with costumed interpreters as the household celebrates yuletide with live music from the Downshire Brass band and Sestina music ensemble. Kitchen staff will be serving up scrumptious samples of Twelfth Cake and Wassail Cup, while on 15-16 and 22-23 December, Father Christmas will be taking a break from his very busy schedule with a special appearance at the Castle.

Following a Victorian Christmas, the spirit of the season continues at Hillsborough Castle. From 27-30 December, the world turns topsy-turvy as the old year makes way for the new! Meet characters from the Castle’s past as Lord and Lady Arthur Hill get ready for a dazzling Christmas Ball. Listen to stories and music, play traditional festive games and sample traditional food and drink. On the 29 and 30 December, you might just bump into one of the Tower of London’s present day ‘Beefeaters’ who will be taking part in the celebrations, just like they did in 1895.

Throughout the Christmas calendar, Hillsborough Castle will also be hosting a range of after-hours events for adults. For those that dare, round off the year by delving into the chilling world of Victorian Christmas ghost stories. On 28 December, internationally-acclaimed actor and local legend Ian McElhinney delivers an atmospheric reading of terrifying tales in the imposing Throne Room.  

For the full programme of seasonal events at Hillsborough Castle and tickets, please visit:

Hillsborough Castle general admission ticket:

  • Members: Free
  • Adult (18+ years old): £8.00
  • Child (5-15 years old): £5.10


Notes to editors

For further information and images please contact the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: [email protected] or telephone: 0203 166 6166.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit