The historic grounds of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Explore the grounds of Northern Ireland's royal residence.

By Historic Royal Palaces

Lady Alice's Temple, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

The glorious grounds at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens near Belfast are bursting with colour and are a joy to explore.   

The historic gardens, which were developed from the 1760s onwards, offer intriguing contrasts between ornate formal gardens, woodland and meadows.   

The South Terrace, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2019) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

Over the past five years, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been transformed both inside and out.

As part of this transformation project, the gardens have been beautifully reimagined.

Welcome to Hillsborough Castle and GardensHistoric Royal Palaces

Lady Alice's Temple, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

Lady Alice's Temple

Lady Alice's Temple has provided a quiet space for contemplation for many residents of the castle.

Secretary of State Mo Mowlam came here for peace and quiet, away from the pressures of politics, during her time at Hillsborough. 

Moss Walk, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2015) by Chris HillHistoric Royal Palaces

Framed by Yew Tree Walk, Lime Tree Walk and Moss Walk, the temple offers three very different views of the gardens.  

The Glen, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2019) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

The Glen

The Glen is a typical Victorian garden feature, which comes to life in spring and summer.

In spring, you can see colourful magnolias, camelias and rhododendrons, deciduous azaleas and spectacular Embothrium.

Then in summer the luxuriant ferns create a shady area to sit and listen to the stream. 

The Glen and statue of Ossian, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2019) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

Look out for the statue of Ossian and accompanying bench and stones in the Grotto.

Bust of Ossian in The Glen, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2019) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

Together, these features tell the story of legendary Irish poet Ossian and the castle's links to the Romantic movement and the Gaelic Revival. 

The South Terrace, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

The Jubilee Parterre

The Jubilee Parterre was created to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and redesigned in 2016 to a design by Catherine Fitzgerald.    

The South Terrace, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

A parterre is a formal garden, created by arranging planting beds symmetrically and linking pathways with tightly-clipped box border hedges. 

The Lake, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

The Lake

The large, beautiful lake is fed by the stream that meanders through the gardens from the south-east, before flowing off towards Culcavy to the north-west.  

Leading from the Lake is a mill race that feeds the hydro-electric turbine, which serves the electricity for the estate.

The Lake, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2018) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

Popular with the 18th-century landowner, the pathways and carriageways around the Lake were constructed to give the appearance of a much larger estate.    

Walled Garden, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2019) by Richard Lea-HairHistoric Royal Palaces

The Walled Garden

No tour of the grounds of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens would be complete without a stop in the Walled Garden.

This working kitchen 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.

Walled Garden, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens (2019) by Brian MorrisonHistoric Royal Palaces

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. 

Credits: Story

Find out more and visit Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps