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Countdown to a Victorian Christmas at Hillsborough Castle

It’s set to be a magical Christmas this year at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, Co. Down, with a range of festive events to get everybody into the yuletide spirit. From November 28 – December 23 travel back in time to the year 1895 as Lord and Lady Arthur Hill prepare the castle for a Victorian Christmas.

Soak up the seasonal atmosphere in the stunning candlelit State Rooms, adorned with exquisite papercuts from local artist Emma Davison and discover the rich, inspiring and often surprising history of this famous residence, guided by the Castle’s team of expert explainers. After exploring the Castle’s beautifully decorated interiors, families can even have a go at making their very own decorations with drop-in family workshops, on selected weekends, including wreathmaking and decorative papercutting classes.       

Each weekend throughout the festive season, Hillsborough Castle will burst into life with costumed interpreters as the household celebrates yuletide with live music from local musicians including Downshire Brass and Sestina. The kitchen staff will be serving up scrumptious  samples of Twelfth Cake and Wassail Cup, while on December 15-16 and December 22-23, Father Christmas will be taking a break from his very busy schedule with a special appearance at the Castle.

From December 27-30, Hillsborough Castle will be celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. Meet characters from the Castle’s past as Lord and Lady Arthur Hill get ready for a dazzling Christmas Ball. Listen to stories and music, play traditional festive games and sample traditional food and drink. On December 29 and 30 visit the castle and you might just bump into one of the Tower of London’s present day ‘Beefeaters’ who will be taking part in the celebrations, just like they did in 1895.

Throughout the Christmas calendar, Hillsborough Castle will also be hosting a whole range of after-hours events for adults, from spine-tingling Victorian ghost stories with internationally acclaimed actor Ian McElhinney, to decorative papercutting masterclasses led by local artist Emma Davison. A visit to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens should be a must on everyone’s wishlist this year.

A Victorian Christmas and the Twelve Days of Christmas are both included in the Hillsborough Castle general admission ticket:

  • Members: Free
  • Adult (18+ years old): £8.00
  • Child (5-15 years old): £5.10

For the full programme of festive events at Hillsborough Castle please visit: https://www.hrp.org.uk/hillsborough-castle/ 

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