Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
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Hillsborough Castle is one of the most beautiful, and interesting historic properties in N. Ireland.
This beautiful 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, including the majestic Throne Room and graceful State Drawing Room. Each room is unique and visitors will learn not only about the paintings, furnishings and curiosities that grace the walls and floors, but also about the historical use and significance of these rooms, which have welcomed a long list of VIPs, including the Dalai Lama, the Crown Prince of Japan, Princess Diana, Hilary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt. Some have also been host to historic meetings between British and Irish politicians, resulting in the castle playing an important role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
Wander through 100 acres of beautiful gardens developed from the 1760s onwards, offering a contrast of ornamental grounds, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways, and trimmed lawns. The gardens are a delight to the senses throughout the seasons. Look out for the statue of Ossian, the striking Lady Alice’s Temple, the Quaker Burial ground and the Ice House.
Historic Royal Palaces encourage visitors to pre-book their castle tour in order to ensure admission on a preferred time slot. Tickets may also be purchased on arrival, subject to availability; and are available from the Admissions desk in the Hillsborough Courthouse, The Square, Hillsborough, BT26 6AG – located directly in front of the castle’s main Richhill gates. Alternatively, tickets can also be purchased by calling the HRP switchboard on +44(0)20 3166 6000.
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