In some places, the past feels very close. Hillsborough Castle and Gardens is one of them. Northern Ireland has been and continues to be, shaped by the significant events that have happened here.
Bursting with colour and features such as the historic Walled Garden, enchanting Pinetum and Lady Alice’s Temple, 100 acres of wonder await in the castle’s gardens that delight the senses and the stir the spirit, offering countless places to unwind, contemplate, socialise and seek inspiration.
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. The site has been restored and re-presented to create a beautiful working and productive garden, complete with dipping pond, crop rotations, seasonal produce, herbaceous borders and an apple orchard.
Take a wander down to the secluded Lake and Pinetum, where a spectacular plantation of 19th-century conifers opens up to an expanse of picturesque waterways. Popular with the 18th-century landowner, the pathways and carriageways around the Lake were constructed to give the appearance of a much larger estate. These original features remain for you to enjoy.
Lady Alice’s Temple
The small temple was originally given as a wedding gift to Lady Alice Hill by her brother the 5th Marquess of Downshire in 1867. Today, it is open to the public and has been restored to its former glory. Framed by Yew Tree Walk, Lime Tree Walk and Moss Walk, it offers three very different views of the gardens.
There are many layers of stories. As a contemporary Royal Residence, Hillsborough Castle showcases beautiful State Rooms and glorious gardens and gives an intimate glimpse behind the scenes into the personal living quarters of a working royal household. But there is more here than meets the eye, revealed on tours where expert household staff uncover fascinating stories of celebration, entertainment, diplomacy and negotiation that link the castle to Northern Ireland and the world.
Gardens and Estate
January – March 09:30-16:00
April – October 09:30–18:00
November – December 09:30-16:00
Closed: Dec 24-26 (Castle and Gardens)
Last Entry: January – March, last entry 15:00, April – October, last entry 17:00, November – December, last entry 15:00.
Approx Visit Duration: Two hours for a visit including both the Castle tour and gardens. Visitors can easily spend much longer on-site and, by retaining their tickets, are welcome to leave the site to explore the village and re-enter later to continue their visit.
Admission Rates vary
See website for further details
Check out their range of facilities, services, accessibility, and other useful information.
Guided Tours available in English but with advance notice also available in the following languages: Spanish, Italian, German and French. Deep interest and private tours also available advance notice is required.
Free paper guides available in English only.
Partially wheelchair accessible. Access to the Castle for the tour is all on the ground floor and is fully accessible. Sections of the gardens and estate are less accessible than others due to the natural and historic nature of the site. An accessibility map and leaflet is available at admissions to assist guests in choosing a suitable route.
Suitable for groups, private tours available. Min 15. Pre-booking is essential. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
COPRORATE & INCENTIVE GROUPS
Coprorate and incentive groups catered for. All enqueries email email@example.com.
Performances catered for depending on the size and type for more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All enqueries to email@example.com
Free car parking available onsite. For coach parking depending on the group, parking may be via the main car park on the A1, or within Hillsborough village at a location closer to the Castle entrance.
Two cafes onsite. One 120 seat café at the Weston Pavillion (near car park and admissions area/gift shop), and a second café at the Stable Yard, adjacent to the Castle. Hot and cold drinks, salads, sandwiches, hot food and a delicious selection of pastries and traybakes. Opening hours in line with gardens access.
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens is located just 30 minutes from Belfast city centre accessible from the A1 that runs from Lisburn to Newry and on to Dublin. Approximately an hour and a half from Dublin by car or coach. Access is via the car and coach park directly off the A1 and is signposted on the approach from both Belfast and Dublin.