Committed to access for all
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens welcomes all visitors and aims to make everyone’s day out successful and enjoyable.
We are committed to improving access and facilities for visitors with disabilities.
Visitors are entitled to bring an accompanying carer free of charge.
These complimentary adult carer tickets can be obtained on the day of your visit upon presentation of proof of registered disability.
All the staff you will meet at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens undergo Autism Awareness Training developed with the assistance of Autism NI. Designed to guide us in responding to individual sensory and communication needs, we aim to make your visit as seamless and stress-free as possible.
Visiting the Gardens – You can download a Pre-Visit Guide from the box below. This will help you prepare for your visit and learn about what you will see when you get here.
Experiencing the Castle – Visitor numbers inside the Castle are capped so there is space and quiet to enjoy the palace at your own pace. Sensory bags and games are available to aid in engagement with the castle environment. Speak to a member of staff on arrival – we want to make sure you enjoy your visit in a way that meets your needs.
Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic we cannot offer use of the sensory bags. We look forward to making them available again as soon as government restrictions allow.
All recognised guide, assistance or service dogs — including assistance dogs in training — are welcome at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, and are permitted to accompany their owners on castle tours.
Please make sure dogs are wearing their designated jacket or lead slip and remember to bring their Assistance Dog's (UK) identification book with you.
A step-free route and the mobility transport stops are clearly marked on the Hillsborough Castle and Gardens map.
The estate is very large and spans over 1km from the Pineapple Yard to the State Entrance. Hillsborough Fort is a further 500m from the castle.
Distance information has been included on the directional signs in the gardens to help visitors plan their journey around the site.
You can book tickets to visit inside the Castle. The rooms you will see are called the State Rooms and are used by the Royal Family when they come to stay.
The State Rooms are all on the ground floor and accessible to all. Find out more and book a castle visit here.
There are 27 blue badge holder parking spaces in Hillsborough Castle and Gardens car park. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and parking is free for all visitors.
For free on-site parking, please follow the brown tourist signs on the A1 south to our sign-posted car park entrance.
There are a limited number of wheelchairs available to borrow during your visit. These are operated on a first come, first served basis and are sanitised between each use.
Unfortunately, due to the conservation risk posed to flooring, mobility scooters are not permitted inside the castle.
Between June and September, a vehicle is available to assist you in moving from the Pineapple Yard to the State Entrance of the castle in the Stable Yard.
Spaces are limited and priority will be given to those with accessibility needs. To arrange this service please speak to a member of staff upon arrival.
Toilets in the Pineapple Yard Garden are wheelchair accessible. A Changing Places facility is also available for use in the Pineapple Yard.
Due to the natural terrain of the gardens, some of the paths are unsuitable for wheelchair users and those with restricted mobility. Some of the paths have steps and steep slopes, which will become slippery in wet weather.
Step-free routes and ramps are available in both the Pineapple Yard and the Stable Yard. There is a step-free route between the Walled Garden and State Entrance that is clearly marked on-site. This route is marked in yellow in the Hillsborough Gardens map available to download below.
Castle guide books are available to borrow free of charge from the Palace Host at the entrance to the Castle for all Deaf or hard of hearing visitors.
We will be developing our capability to provide induction loops and British Sign Language (BSL) services for the future.
Our Palace Hosts undertake training developed with assistance by the RNIB. We will bring the rooms and stories to life through descriptive language.
We will be developing our capability to provide tailored descriptive tours and audio guides for the future.