The historic Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in Co Down on how it’s supporting NI plc as a location for events and sponsoring the Emerging Business/Start-Up of the Year in this year’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been the official residence of the royal family in Northern Ireland since the 1920s, and was originally the private home of the Hill family in the mid-1700s.
Since the 1970s, the castle has served as a venue for various stages of the peace process in Northern Ireland, and has played host to monarchs, minsters, presidents and princesses. Today, as one of six venues in the Historic Royal Palaces portfolio, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens’ proximity to Belfast and storied history provides a unique environment to host the most memorable events.
The castle completed a major five-year, £24m investment project last year to update its magnificent state rooms and boasts a variety of atmospheric indoor and outdoor spaces, with 100 acres of lush grounds available for hire. Its largest and most versatile space, the Throne Room, provides an opulent setting for up to 120 guests to enjoy an evening drinks reception among gold frames and elegant drapes — while the State Drawing Room, with its antique furniture, marble fireplace and large sash windows, is a favourite for drinks receptions, particularly as it opens onto views of the beautiful grounds from the adjoining terrace. The castle’s atmospheric Red Room offers guests a luxurious retreat for a dinner or drinks reception with French doors offering direct access to the beautiful stone terrace and lawns.
Hillsborough Castle and Gardens also hosts a number of daytime meetings for both local and international businesses, with its State Rooms and Privy Council Chamber able to accommodate between 18 and 120 guests for conferences and presentations, while clients looking for a larger daytime event can make full use of the castle’s majestic grounds by incorporating the beautiful formal gardens and terraces.
The immaculate gardens can accommodate marquees for up to 350 people, which are ideal for conferences and award ceremonies and enable guests to enjoy complimentary access to the 100 acres of stunning gardens, woodland and glens.
As an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces is dedicated to ensuring the future of these important buildings, and funds raised from all commercial activities are reinvested in conservation, public access and educational activities to ensure the castle continues to be well-maintained and open for all to enjoy.
The recent investment has further enhanced the castle’s event offering, placing it in an even stronger position to attract local and international business, and in turn not only ensure the future maintenance of this historical gem, but contribute to further growing the local economy in Northern Ireland.
To play its part in helping to support Northern Ireland’s business community and its successes, specifically celebrating up-and-coming companies, Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will be sponsoring the Emerging Business/Start-Up of the Year category at this year’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.
“We’re thrilled to be a category sponsor at this year’s Belfast Telegraph Business Awards and to be supporting an awards ceremony that is such a big part of the fabric of the local economy,” says events manager Debbie McCamphill. “We continuously look at ways to innovate our experiences for both our business and leisure guests from the local community and further afield.
“Having recently relaunched the castle’s magnificent state rooms and gardens to enable us to host the most memorable events and special occasions, we’re excited to be supporting the category of emerging businesses and start-ups, all of whom are already making an incredible impact on our local economy.”