A small castle, colorful flowers and a beautifully trimmed park. Even though Hillsborough Castle was another stop that our tour operator had suggested for our 3 day road trip in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the visit here was a nice little experience. Unless you are very interested in castles or gardens, I will not call it more than that. Still, it deserves a blog post – then you can be the judge of whether or not you want to put it on your bucket list.
Our visit to the gardens at Hillsborough Castle
Hillsborough Castle is part of the Historical Royal Palaces, and is therefore in good company with places like Tower of London and Kensington Palace. It is here the British Queen stays when she is visiting Northern Ireland. According to our driver and guide, Bobby, this almost never happens though… But we could not miss the chance of stopping by, as we were right in the area anyway.
The castle is actually not a real castle, but a Georgian house built in the 18. century. Compared to the houses I am used to looking at at home, this was still pretty impressive in size. So I do not think that the term “castle” is all that wrong. It is possible to join a guided tour of the castle itself, but we chose to buy a ticket for the garden, where we could walk around on our own. A garden, which I also believe is a castle worthy..
Even though you haven’t bought a ticket to get inside the castle, you can get pretty close to it from the outside. Up by the castle was a lot of “wild-growing” plants (I do not believe that there is anything unplanned growing here).
A lot of colorful flowers and a lovely fountain was placed to be seen from the windows. A very idyllic sight, where several butterflies came by to put the finishing touches to it.
As it is supposed to be in a castle garden, we also found several lakes we could stroll around. On the way we met a cute pavilion, swans, secret paths and large exotic trees.
All in all our visit took about an hour, and then we had seen all there was to see. It is a nice place to visit if you like to pretend to be royal for a little while, or if you have an interest in plants and flowers. The city of Hillsborough also looked like a charming little place, but we chose to continue our journey to Belfast (which is less than half an hour away) for a lunch stop.
Find your way
Hillsborough Castle is, as said, not far away from Belfast, as you can see on the map below. Therefore, it is also possible to visit the castle on a day tour from Belfast, if you are spending a weekend there. The castle and garden is undergoing major construction work at the moment, and should reopen in July 2018. Read more on Hillsborough Castle’s website.
Visited in July 2017
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