Hillsborough Castle and Gardens


Partner Garden
Free access for RHS members at selected times

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens
Co. Down
BT26 6HR

Follow the brown tourist signs on the A1 south to sign-posted car park entrance.

99 acres

0333 320 6000

Visit website

Opening Hours

Wed–Sun, 2 Jan–31 Dec. Please see website for opening times.


Please see website for admission prices.

RHS members

Free access (member 1 only for joint memberships) applies when open.


  • Assistance dogs only
  • Accessible facilities
  • Accessible garden
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Children's activities
  • Free carer entry
  • Gift shop
  • Group rates
  • Parking
  • Picnic area
  • Plant sales
  • Refreshments
  • Toilets


  • Herbaceous border
  • Wildlife planting and features

About the garden

Owned by
Historic Royal Palaces

Hillsborough Castle has almost 100 acres of glorious gardens that are bursting with colour and are a joy to explore. Developed from the 1760s onwards, they include ornamental grounds and formal gardens, peaceful woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens, an idyllic lake and large walled garden and garden features.

Lady Alice’s Temple, added in 1867, acts as a key focal point in the gardens and offers a good place to contemplate, socialise and seek inspiration as does the Friend’s burial ground. The picturesque Yew Tree Walk is the route of the original road to Moira, which passed in front of the house and into The Square and is now named after the paired Irish Yew trees that line the path. 

The beautiful Granville Garden was created in the 1940s by Lady Rose Bowes-Lyon, wife of the Earl of Granville, the second Governor of Northern Ireland. At its centre is a bed planted with the Northern Ireland Centenary Rose. Moss Walk, framed under a canopy of 180-year-old lime trees has recently had new paths incorporated to follow the original historic layout from the 1770s and is a beautiful photo spot throughout the seasons.

The walled garden is part ornamental, part kitchen garden and part orchard under planted with wildflower meadow all completed with a dipping pond at its centre. Of particular interest are the espalier fruit trees, some of which were planted over 100 years ago and include varieties such as the ‘Pitmaston Duchess’.

From swathes of woodland bulbs and the bright show of our daffodil collection in spring, rhododendrons that flower from February to July to the billowing herbaceous borders and scented roses in full summer, colourful acers in autumn to the majestic silhouettes of the ancient oaks in winter, it is truly a garden for all seasons.   

Plants of special interest

  • Bluebells
  • Camellias
  • Conifers
  • Daffodils
  • Ferns
  • Magnolias
  • Rhododendrons/azaleas
  • Roses
  • Snowdrops
  • Vegetables
  • Wildflowers
  • Wisteria

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.