NI: Taking Pride in the Past – Hillsborough Castle LGBTQ+ Tour

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has announced it will host its first LGBTQ+ tour. Launching Saturday 31 August, this specialist tour explores the evolving attitudes and fascinating stories from the Castle’s past.

Visitors will learn the diverse history of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, a place of political evolution, challenge and change, reflected in the collection of paintings and objects on display.

The curatorial and interpretation team at Hillsborough Castle have undertaken extensive research to unravel the hidden stories from this elegant estate’s past. The tour delves into the impact of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in Northern Ireland and Hillsborough Castle and Gardens’ connection to it, uncovering 300 years of the past, when perceptions of gender and sexuality were ever-changing.

Commenting on the launch of the new tour, Kris Reid, Creative Programming and Interpretation, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, said: 

“From royal relationships and public scandals to political activism, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens’ connection to LGBTQ+ lives has existed for centuries. We are excited to share this rich history. Despite always existing, these fascinating stories have often been excluded from the conversation.

“By exploring this history, it is our endeavour to reflect the tapestry of lives associated with Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and to reflect our modern world in a more inclusive way.”

Booking is strongly recommended for the tours, which will run on the 31 August, 28 September and 26 October. Further topic specific tours will be coming soon, including royal themed tours and art tours.

Tours are included in your combined castle and gardens ticket. You will have all-day entry to 100 acres of world-famous historic gardens, including the 18th-century Walled Garden, the Granville Garden, Lady Alice’s Temple, and the Lost Garden.

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been completely transformed by independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, after five years and a £24 million investment – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors. Greeting visitors upon arrival is a new visitor centre, complete with café and shop. Meanwhile new access and learning facilities will host schools and community programmes reaching out to the widest possible audience. 

Tickets available at:


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