Hillsborough is a village historically in County Down in Northern Ireland, but nowadays part of Lisburn and Castlereagh District. It's an attractive Georgian village dominated by Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and of the Queen whenever here. It's only 12 miles from Belfast so it's become a commuter town, with a population in 2011 of 3952.
The tourist information centre is in the old Courthouse in the village square, open M-Sa 09:30-17:30, Su 11:00-16:00.
Goldline Bus 238 runs hourly from Belfast Europa bus station via Sprucefield retail park (south edge of Lisburn) to Hillsborough (20 min), and continues to Dromore, Banbridge and Newry, which has buses and trains from Dublin.
Ulsterbus 538 runs hourly from Belfast via Dunmurry, Lisburn and Sprucefield, taking just under an hour to Hillsborough, and continuing to Dromore, Banbridge and Newry.
Bus 26 trundles cross-country three times M-F from Newcastle via Dundrum and Ballynahinch to Hillsborough, continuing to Lisburn.
Lisburn 4 miles north is the closest railway station, with frequent trains on the Bangor-Belfast-Lisburn-Portadown line. By road follow A1.
The village sights are easily reached on foot. Take the Newry bus for Dromore.
- 1 Hillsborough Castle, The Square BT26 6AG, ☏ . House Apr-Sept, gardens year round Th-Su 10:00-16:00. Grand Georgian mansion, the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and of royalty and VIP visitors. The Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 was signed here, and it was the setting for talks leading to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The guided tour of the house takes in some of the state rooms and the art collection. There are extensive gardens and parkland. Gardens adult £10, child £5.
- Hillsborough Courthouse on The Square is a stout Georgian building that now houses the TIC. There's also a display on the court in the 18th and 19th centuries, free.
- St Malachy's Parish Church, Main St BT26 6SD (next to fort and courthouse). M-Sa 09:30-17:30. Attractive 18th century C of I church. Free.
- 2 Hillsborough Fort, 32 Main St BT26 6AE. Grounds daily 10:00-16:00. Artillery fort built in 1650 but prettified in 1758 into what we'd now call an event space. The interior is occasionally open for tours but is closed in 2020; the grounds remain open. Free.
- The monument south edge of the village (resembling Nelson's Column in London) is to the 3rd Marquess of Downshire (1788-1855), a strong supporter of Irish language and culture.
- 3 Hillsborough Forest Park, ☏ . This is the park surrounding the ornamental lake just east of the fort. Multiple access points, generally always accessible but the car parks may be locked at dusk. Free.
- 4 Dromore is a village 5 miles southwest of Hillsborough. The Cathedral (C of I) was built in 1660 and extended in the 19th century. The River Lagan flows beneath an impressive viaduct and through the bosky town park; east downstream it's overlooked by a Norman motte and bailey.
- Golf: see Lisburn#Do for Lisburn Golf Club and Down Royal Park Golf Club.
- Spar and Co-op Food are the convenience stores in village centre, both open daily.
- For a big shop head to Sprucefield retail park, 3 miles northeast on the edge of Lisburn.
- 1 The Hillside, 21 Main St BT26 6AE, ☏ . M-Sa 12:00-21:00, Su 12:30-20:00. Pub since 1752 does good food, but service is erratic. Dogs permitted in front bar.
- 1 Dunhill Cottage, 47 Carnreagh BT26 6LJ, ☏ . Very clean, welcoming B&B, dog-friendly. B&B double £60.
- 2 No33 Coach House, 33 Main St BT26 6AE, ☏ . Self-catering house with one double room and one twin.
- Premier Inn is at M1 Sprucefield junction, 3 miles northeast of the village, see Lisburn#Sleep.
- 3 Lisnacurran Country House, 6 Listytullycurran Rd, Dromore BT25 1RB (A1 three miles southwest of village), ☏ . Charming B&B in 1928 farmstead, gets rave reviews for comfort and welcome. B&B double £70.
As of Oct 2020, Hillsborough has no signal from Three, but there is 4G and mobile coverage from EE, O2 and Vodafone. 5G has not reached this area.
- Lisburn is was where Ireland's modern linen trade was founded, as depicted in its museum.
- Lurgan and Portadown are industrial commuter towns but have access to Lough Neagh.
|Routes through Hillsborough|
|Belfast ← Lisburn ←||N S||→ Banbridge → Dublin|