Timed entry slots will operate to limit capacity and visitors are urged to book in advance, to secure their preferred date and entrance time.
Organisers have created an all new and immersive experience for this year’s specially extended trail which for the first time features Hillsborough Castle, lit up in spectacular seasonal colours.
New and exclusive to the Christmas at Hillsborough trail this year is Butterfly Effect, by Masamichi Shimada, courtesy of Light Art Collection.
Another showstopper, making its debut in the heart of the forest at Hillsborough this year, is the playful Neon Strings installation – renamed Royal Aurora by Beechlawn Special School, a nod to the school’s home village of Royal Hillsborough, and the winter Northern Lights known as the Aurora Borealis.
Zoe Bottrell, Managing Director at Culture Creative, says it has been an honour bringing the festive trail back to Hillsborough Castle, with all new features and an exclusive experience for visitors to enjoy this year.
She said: “What a fabulously festive return for Christmas at Hillsborough, with the most stunning and historical backdrop of this royal residence.
“We have worked so closely with the team at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens to create an all-new trail for Christmas 2022, that not only brings all the magic of Christmas, but even more of the stunning gardens to life for our visitors who will experience brand new installations for the first time.
“A walk through our winter wonderland where you can be immersed in all the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas will be guaranteed to get you into the seasonal spirit and make Christmas memories for years to come.”
Visitors will meander through the new route along acres of royal gardens, passing through the Laser Garden and Royal Aurora, before walking hand in hand through the Heart Tunnel and taking in the twinkling trees. Then, prepare to be lit up by a newly designed Fire Garden, before taking in the South Terrace of Hillsborough Castle, which for the first time, is lit up in all its splendour.
The famous Yew Tree Walk brings a treat for all the senses like never before, with visitors enjoying the full experience of the exclusive Butterfly Effect on the pond with its mesmerising blue hue, before stepping into the breath-taking meadow of light.
Local food and drinks vendors will be dotted throughout the grounds to keep visitors fuelled throughout the trail, serving an array of hot food, spiced winter warmers, toasted marshmallows and hot chocolates. Separate charges apply.
Hailed as a must-visit when the trail first arrived in Northern Ireland last year, this magical winter adventure which has been reimagined for 2022, is sure to fill all the visitors full of the festive spirit right up until January 1, 2023.
Free parking is available on site at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens new Visitor Centre, with the trail opening from dusk at 4:30pm, and last entry at 8pm. Entry times for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are 4:30 – 7pm.