Gardens-only re-opening from 18 June. Online pre-booking essential.
Thu-Sun: 10.00 - 17:00
This late Georgian country house is the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the official residence of the Royal Family in Northern Ireland. Originally built by Wills Hill, first Marquis of Downshire, the Castle was acquired in 1922 as a home for the Governor of Northern Ireland. The second Governor of Northern Ireland was married to the late Queen Mother’s sister. Consequently, the young Princesses Elizabeth - now HM The Queen - and her sister Margaret were frequent holiday visitors.
The Castle has witnessed many important political events, including the signing of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, key negotiations of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and meetings between PM Tony Blair and US Presidents Clinton and Bush.
Now under the care of independent charity Historic Royal Palaces (who also run Kensington Palace and the Tower of London, among others), Hillsborough Castle's extensive grounds and lavish interior have re-opened to the public following an extensive £multi-million transformation and conservation project. Expert explainers take you through through the opulent State Rooms and share stories from the history of this magnificent home and the part it has played in Northern Irish history.
Among the spaces on show are the majestic Throne Room, whose walls display a changing array of artworks, and the intimate setting of the Drawing Room festooned with framed photos of royals past and present.
Visitors can also explore the 100 acres of gardens alone or with a pre-booked tour guide. Marked trails explore its ornamental grounds, woodland, waterways and manicured lawns. Look out, too, for Lady Alice's Temple, the Granville Garden, Quaker Burial ground and the newly transformed Walled Garden whose seasonal produce can be sampled in the nearby Cafe. Keep an eye out for seasonal and family events that ensure this visitor attraction is enjoyed by all ages.
Beyond the Castle, Hillsborough Fort, Hillsborough Forest Park & Lake and St. Malachy's Parish Church provide further historic and verdant exploration.
Show on map
Daily 09:30 - 18:00. Last admission 17:00.