Hillsborough opens its doors following £24 million makeover

Hillsborough opens its doors following £24 million makeover

A transformed Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, County Down, has opened its doors daily to visitors for the first time this Easter, with a host of exciting events and activities for all the family.

‘Be Our Guest’ offers families a chance to explore over 100 acres of majestic gardens, until 28th April. In a series of theatrical encounters meet fascinating characters from the Castle’s past, including America’s founding father Benjamin Franklin, who visited Hillsborough Castle during the 1770s. Join the third Marquess of Downshire as he regales audiences with folk tales in the enchanting gardens, while Lady Alice shares stories of her magical wedding. For the eagle-eyed visitors, look out for top secret security officers from MI5 and the CIA as they reveal what happened behind the scenes at the 2003 Presidential visit to Hillsborough Castle. 

Those wishing to delve deeper into the Castle’s history can explore the beautifully re-presented State Rooms on guided tours led by the Castle’s team of expert explainers. New decorative schemes and artworks, reflect the numerous tales that this elegant estate has to tell.    

Kids can have a go at making their very own kites with drop-in kite making workshops inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite experiment which revealed the electrical nature of lightning! Meanwhile music lovers can join choirmaster John D’Arcy in a sing-along taking inspiration from famous composer and 19th Century resident Lady Annie Hill. 

On Saturday 27th April, Hillsborough Castle will also host a special visit from the Tower of London’s Ravenmaster and ‘Beefeater’ Chris Skaife. Visitors can discover the myths and legends tied to the Tower’s extraordinary birds under Chris’ care. 

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been completely transformed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces after five years and a £24 million investment – supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and other generous donors. Greeting visitors upon arrival will be a new visitor centre complete with café and shop. Meanwhile new access and learning facilities will host schools and community programmes reaching out to the widest possible audience.  

For more information on Easter at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, visit hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle


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