Honey Fair makes sweet return to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens in August

After a successful inaugural year which had the Gardens of Hillsborough Castle buzzing, the Hillsborough Honey Fair is back and bringing some sweet tastes, sights and sounds to the historical venue on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 August.

Chef Paula McIntyre will headline the popular Food Demo Stage each day, which will also see a line-up of local chefs - including Royal Hillsborough’s own The Plough and The Hillside, - preparing delicious dishes inspired by the ingredient of the moment – honey. UTV’s Rita Fitzgerald will host the demo stage, talking through each recipe with the chefs and taking questions from the audience.

Alongside the demos, almost 50 of Northern Ireland’s local producers will sample their products, all tweaked to include local honey, which can also be brought home by sweet-toothed visitors.

Meanwhile, the beekeepers of Northern Ireland, including Hillsborough Castle and Garden’s very own beekeeper, Gwen Earnshaw, will bring samples of their hives and honey to the Fair for visitors to get up close with, and learn more about our vital pollinators. Hillsborough’s expert gardeners who care for the Castle’s 100 acres of stunning grounds will also be on hand to share how we can nurture bees in our own back gardens.

Head of Hillsborough Castle, Laura McCorry is pictured with Chef Paula McIntyre who will headline the chef demo stage at the Hillsborough Honey Fair, with UTV’s Rita Fitzgerald who will host a series of local chefs, returning to create a dish inspired by honey, as the popular event returns for its second year on 6 and 7 August 2022

The weekend’s entertainment will all be set to a backdrop of live music from gospel to jazz and blues, plus a special Family Waggle Dance experience, inspired by worker bees, with Leonie Pony.

Laura McCorry, Head of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens recently met with Paula McIntyre and Rita Fitzgerald in the gardens to launch the Honey Fair, commenting: “We have an incredible weekend of family entertainment, delicious foodie treats, arts and crafts, dancing and music, all inspired by bees and their beautiful local honey.

“The Hillsborough Honey Fair aims to inspire our visitors to understand just how important bees are to the environment, from their pollination to helping plants grow, which of course allow our local food producers to make their incredible products. We’re delighted to have once again teamed up with Food NI who have curated a wonderful array of local farmers and producers who continue to put Northern Ireland on the map as a foodie haven.

“With our family entertainment from dancing to storytelling, beeswax food wrap workshops and everything in between, we hope our visitors will be inspired to do their bit in their own gardens, support local producers and live even more sustainably.”

Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI added: “We are thrilled to help bring the Hillsborough Honey Fair back to Hillsborough Castle and Gardens and create an event which continues to educate and inspire through our rich food heritage, which thrives thanks to the care taken to sustain our land and wildlife, helping our farmers and growers to nurture their quality produce for the future.

“Enabling our local food and drink companies to interact with a captive audience and showcase, sample and sell their products to the public is essential to the growth of our local food industry which is what we’re all about.”

Tickets are now on sale for the unique event, which is supported by the Northern Ireland Regional Food Programme, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council and Tourism NI.

Honey Fair and Gardens only tickets: Adults £11.20/children £5.60/concession £8.90

Honey Fair combined Castle and Gardens tickets: Adults £17/children £8.50/concession £13.60. Historic Royal Palaces members and under 5s go free. Pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.