posted on December 2nd, 2019

The most wonderful time to visit Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

With the historic castle being dressed for the festive season from the start of December in the theme of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’, it really is the most wonderful time of the year for a visit.

There will be fun for all the family with live music and festive food throughout December including a visit from Father Christmas himself.

  • Twelve Days of Christmas: Explore the stunning State Rooms and discover the rooms themed and decorated according to the traditional song, Twelve Days of Christmas. The historic rooms have been festively designed by a selection of artists and local craftspeople to re-imagine the verses of this time-honoured song and its connection with the Hill family. Guided by expert Explainers, discover another side to this elegant Georgian home in a 45-minute tour. You can also explore 100 acres of beautiful gardens, which are also included in your ticket price. From 02 December 2019 – 15 January 2020. Tickets: Adult online price £11.40, Children 5-15 £5.70, Concession £9.10.
  • Father Christmas: Meet characters from history and get a treat from Father Christmas. Discover the castle adorned with festive cheer as the State Rooms come to life with live music, historic characters and an extra-special visit from Father Christmas. Children will also receive a sugar mouse as a Christmas treat. This enhanced Christmas tour is available on weekends and selected dates during the Christmas holidays: December 14-15, December 21-23 and December 27-January 5. Christmas tours are included in your combined castle and gardens ticket (Members free).
  • Festive Storytelling: Enjoy some festive and traditional tales of the season with renowned storyteller Liz Weir. Dates: December 15, 22, 29 and January 5.Times: 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.00pm and 3.00pm. Places allocated on first-come-first-served basis. Event included in admission to gardens (members go free).
  • Georgian dance workshop: See ‘Ladies Dancing and Lords a’ Leaping’ this Christmas and prepare for your own Twelfth Night ball by practising some Georgian steps with an expert dance tutor. Dates: December 27, 28, 30, 31. Times: 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm. Places allocated on first-come-first-served basis. Event included in admission to gardens (members go free).

Lady Alice’s Temple in the snow.

  • Yellow Door Afternoon Tea and Christmas Dinner: This Christmas enjoy some festive treats cooked up by the Yellow Door team at Hillsborough. Indulge in an afternoon tea in the cosy surroundings of the Garden Room. Or, alternatively feast on a three-course special Christmas Dinner available on selected Friday’s throughout December served in the Yellow Door restaurant. Afternoon Tea £29.95pp, spoil yourself with a small bottle of prosecco for £7.50. Christmas Dinner £25pp three-courses plus coffee and mince pies – advance booking essential.
  • Christmas Wreath-making: Under the expert guidance of resident florist Lorna Brownlee, create your own handmade Christmas wreath. Located in the Clore Learning Centre, this workshop will include a mince pie and hot beverage on arrival. Early booking is advised to secure your place for this popular Christmas workshop. Friday December 13, Saturday December 14: 11:00am-1.00pm and 2:30pm-4:30pm. Adult: £45. Concession: £40.
  • Drumming workshop: Join the ’12 Drummers Drumming’ this Christmas and participate in this fun family workshop run by drum circle facilitator Joe Loughlin. No drumming experience necessary. Dates: January 1 and 2. Times: 11am, 11.45am, 12.30pm 1.30pm, 2.15pm. Places allocated on first-come-first-served basis. Event included in admission to gardens (members go free).
  • Christmas concert: Celebrate Christmas at Hillsborough Castle with jazz percussionist David Lyttle and his band, as they perform new music inspired by the traditional carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ alongside his renowned Dickens-inspired Christmas suite. This event will take place in the Throne Room. Complimentary festive drink on arrival. Date: December 14 – drinks reception 7pm, concert 7.30pm. Adult: £15 Concession: £13.50. Suitable for 16+.

Booking is recommended for all activities with limited spaces available. For more information on dates and times, and to book tickets visit

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 Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors. Greeting visitors upon arrival is a new visitor centre complete with café and shop.

Hillsborough Castle’s South façade surrounded by gardens laden with heavy, fresh snow.