Travel back in time at Hillsborough Castle this Christmas

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, the perfect location for getting in the Christmas spirit

WHETHER it's scaring yourselves silly with spine-tingling ghost stories, hitting the high notes with carols or making decorations with your children or grandchildren, a visit to the picturesque Hillsborough Castle has plenty going on in the run-up to Christmas and into the new year.

From November 28 to December 23 you can experience an Irish Victorian Christmas at the castle, the secretary of state's – and the queen's – official residence in the north.

At weekends the castle, whose clocks are turned back to 1895 this festive season, will come alive with costumed interpreters as the residents prepare for the festivities. Kitchen staff will be serving up historical Christmas treats to the sound of seasonal music from local musicians including Downshire Brass and Sestina.

Between Christmas and New Year, the world turns topsy-turvy at the castle as the old year makes way for the new. Listen to stories, play traditional festive games and sample olde worlde food, drink and music. On December 29 and 30 meet the Tower of London's present-day ‘Beefeaters' as they take part in the celebrations.

And for those brave enough, you can share Christmas Ghost Stories with Ian McElhinney on Friday December 28. A Victorian Christmas tradition, the candle-lit Throne Room is the location for this atmospheric event, which includes a festive drink on arrival.

:: Tickets for tours and events available online at

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