The village of Hillsborough is used as a temporary home to royalty and the British Prime Minister during official visits to the North. The particular residence is Hillsborough Castle which is a two storey Georgian mansion. Previously Government House from 1924 to 1935, it is still owned by the British government and now residence of the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. The village is named after Sir Arthur Hill who built Hillsborough Fort in 1650 and whose family then went on to become the Earls of Hillsborough. Hillsborough has featured prominently in the peace process during the last few years as the venue for many talks which have taken place.
Many of the buildings in the village date from the 18th century. St Malachy's Parish church was built by the Marquis of Downshire between 1760 and 1774 in the hope that it would become the Cathedral of Down. Another feature of Hillsborough is the statue of the fourth Marquis of Downshire who lived between 1812 and 1868.
Hillsborough hosts an Oyster Festival each September but its charming streets are wonderful to wander through at any time of the year.