Hillsborough is rich with heritage and country living. You can spend your time in Hillsborough soaking up the rural and astonishing scenery, engaging with local events or visiting popular attractions. Whether you’re seeking rest and recuperation or excitement and adventure, Hillsborough offers plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy.
Visit the Royal Hillsborough Estate
The Royal Hillsborough Estate is a very popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland. You have to visit the castle and surrounding grounds while you’re here in Hillsborough!
Hillsborough Castle is a two storey Georgian mansion. It was previously the Government House from 1924 to 1935 and is now residence of the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. The castle is also the official Northern Ireland residence of HM The Queen and leading members of the Royal Family have used Hillsborough as their ceremonial and personal base when visiting Northern Ireland. Tours are offered throughout the Georgian home where you can see famous historic rooms like the Grand Throne Room and stunning displays of modern and antique artwork.
The Hillsborough gardens cover 100 acres of beautifully maintained woodlands, gardens and meadows. The gardens are open to the public and set nature alongside the picturesque glens of Northern Ireland’s royal residence, offering countless places to unwind, contemplate, socialise and seek inspiration. Walk along the walled gardens and pick up a juicy apple from the orchard trees or visit Lady Alice’s Temple to take a seat in history. The Hillsborough gardens is a wonderful place to visit.
Visit Lisburn Castle Gardens
Just 10 minutes away from Hillsborough, the Castle Gardens is the most historically significant open space in Lisburn and was once the site of Lisburn Castle. The 17th century fortified manor house was built by the Conway family, the landlords of Lisburn, today it is open to the public to enjoy and much of the Victorian style has been restored. Castle Gardens tours and workshops are free but must be booked in advance
For bookings and enquiries telephone (028) 9266 3377.
Go clip and climbing
For a day of adventure and family fun, be sure to check out Lisburns High Rise indoor climbing centre. It’s home to Northern Ireland’s largest Clip ‘n Climb arena with 24 exhilarating climbing challenges (for ages 4+). It also has a soft play area with lots to explore for little ones and a sensory room designed to support guests with additional needs. This is a fun and active challenge for families, couples and friends.
Book your climbing session here.
Go swimming in style
Lagan Valley LeisurePlex offers a great selection of swimming pools and water activities for the whole family to enjoy. Book the Mission Inflatable activity and challenge your family in balance and speed. From the fun leisure pools to a 25m diving pool, Lagan Valley LeisurePlex offers fun in the water for all ages.
Find details on opening times and prices here.
Down Royal Racecourse
The Down Royal Racecourse is a very popular horse racing venue located in Lisburn. It offers visitors a glamourous experience with excellent cuisine, a fine selection of beverages and marvellous entertainment with some of the best horses in the U.K. and Ireland. There is a fancy dress code so be sure to dress in style, this is an event like no other!
Racing events take place around twice a month, you can book tickets in advance and see upcoming events here.
Go horse riding
The Lime Park Equestrian Centre is located just 15 minutes away from Hillsborough. It offers riding sessions for individuals, groups and even corporate events. Enjoy horse riding along scenic routes in tranquil, country settings. The centre also holds show jumping events where the horses show off their skills and amazing abilities.
The Lime Park Equestrian Centre teaches riders how to look after horses responsibly and ride them safely, lessons are available for adults and children of all riding abilities.
Get in touch to book a riding session or to see the horses show jumping.
Visit a michelin star restaurant
Hillsborough has a strong reputation for some of the best locally sourced ingredients and divine dishes. Hara is set in the local village and is described as a reflection of the stunning countryside. The owners work very closely with local farmers and growers, keeping dishes seasonal in order to connect guests with their rural visit and countryside living. The cuisine combines bold flavour and tantalising flavour.
Be sure to visit the award-winning Hara restaurant at, 16 Lisburn Street, Hillsborough.
The Lisburn Golf Club dates back as far as 1905. The premises boasts stunning green, beautiful water features and well kept gardens. Visitors can become club members or casual players for 18 or 9 hole games. Improve your swing and enjoy your game against the stunning, idyllic backdrop of the Lisburn Golf Club.
There is also a fantastic restaurant on site, which is open to the public and non-playing members.
Visit Hillsborough Forest and Lake
Hillsborough forest and lake is a stunning display of nature. With over 150 acres of mixed woodland, it is the perfect place to relax and connect with your natural surroundings. The lake is also beautiful and you could get lost staring into its calming waters. This walk is accessible for many due to its flat grounds. A wide range of wildlife also inhabits the area, birdwaters love to see seasonal birds and you can spot forest mammals like badgers and foxes.
Visit a local distillery
Hinch Distillery located in County Down, produces some of the finest world class whiskey and gin. They invite visitors to observe the whole process, starting in the beautiful Ingredients Room, then to the impressive Mash House, Still House and Spectrum Room.
Tours finish with a relaxing tasting session, where the selection of Irish whiskey and gin