Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

The castle
The late Georgian mansion was built in the 1770s by Wills Hill, first Marquis of Downshire and was later remodelled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, it is a working royal palace functioning as the official residence of the Royal Family when they are in Northern Ireland, and it has been the home of the Secretary of State since the 1970s. A tour of the house will guide you through the elegant State Rooms, still in use today, including the majestic Throne Room and graceful Drawing Room.

Hillsborough Faces
Discover the more personal side of the castle at our new exhibition. Visit the Downshire Gallery in the palace to see portrait photography of the people, great and small, who have visited Hillsborough, from queens to choir boys, politicians to pot washers.

The gardens
Wander through 96 acres of beautiful gardens developed from the 1760s onwards, offering a contrast of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways, and trimmed lawns. Look out for the statue of Ossian outside the main entrance, the Lady Alice Temple, the Quaker Burial ground and the Ice House.

Please note tours must be booked in advance.

To buy tickets visit the Hillsborough Castle Booking Office, The Square, Hillsborough, BT26 6AG; call 08444827777 or onlline at www.hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle

Please be aware that there is no parking onsite.

Visitors are asked to note that due to the natural terrain of the gardens the majority of paths are unsuitable for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility.

Unfortunately we are only able to allow guide dogs and other assistance dogs into the grounds.
NB. This map is based on the postcode and so may not reflect the exact location.

Opening times:

Open all year round for group bookings of 20+
For Group Bookings call 028 9268 1376

Open for public tours:
Weekends in April, May June and September incl. Bank Holidays
Open daily from 20th March - 3rd April inclusive, and from
2nd July - 4th September

Tour times: 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00

(Tickets can be purchased on the day at the Visitor information Centre in the Court House or by calling the Contact Centre on 08444827777 open 9am-5pm Monday-Friday, 9am-2pm Saturday and Sunday. Gardens closed on Sundays from October- February (with exception to pre-booked tickets, garden season pass holders & HRP members) Last admission to the grounds approx. 1 hour before closing.

Gun Salutes are also available for the public to attend at £3.50 per person. Gun Salute dates are:-
21st April, 2nd June, 10th June, 14th November




Adults £7.50
Consessions (OAP & Under 16s) £5.50
Families £20.00
Children under 5 go free


Adults £3.50
Consessions (OAP & Under 16s) £3.50
Families £10.00
Gardens season pass Adults £15.00, Families £30.00
Children under 5 go free

Groups of 20 or more full priced adults will receive a 10% discount on ticket prices

Please note tours must be booked in advance

Group tours of the House can be arranged during the week, throughout the year, subject to the diary.

Getting to the start by car:

By car:
The postcode for Hillsborough Castle is BT26 6AG. Please note that there is very limited parking available in Hillsborough.
Hillsborough Castle does not have its own car park at the moment however we are currently in the initial stages of creating one. There is a public car park in the village just off Main Street beside the Church. Parking charges are currently £1 for 5 hours. This is only a few minutes’ walk from the castle.

Getting to the start by public transport:

By bus:
There are regular bus services from central Belfast to Hillsborough Castle. Buses leave from Belfast Europa Bus Centre.
Enter the bus station by foot on Great Victoria Street (A1). Walk through the short mall and arrive in the bus centre. The electronic timetable is above you on the right hand side and will give live updates on the upcoming bus departures.
Take bus 238 to Newry, ready to alight 35 minutes into the journey at the stop ‘War Memorial, Hillsborough’. Purchase your ticket on the bus, making the driver aware of your destination.
Alight the bus at the bus stop in the centre of Hillsborough town at the War Memorial. From here it is a short 5 minute walk uphill to Hillsborough Castle.
For alternative routes and timetables please visit the Translink website >

By train:
The nearest stations to the castle are Lisburn and Moira train stations. Please plan your route in advance to ensure that you can get a bus or taxi from the station to Hillsborough.

The nearest Tourist Information Centre is:

Hillsborough Visitor Information Centre

Location / Directions

Situated just off Main Street in Hillsborough.
  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours Available
  • Accept Groups/Coach Parties
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