posted on April 24th, 2019

‘Be Our Guest’ at the transformed Hillsborough Castle


A transformed Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Co. Down, has thrown open its doors with a host of exciting events and activities for all the family. Until 28 April, ‘Be Our Guest’ offers families a chance to explore over 100 acres of majestic gardens. 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 3rd 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.
 
There will be family fun until 25 April for all to enjoy. 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 27 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 Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, visit hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle