Northern Ireland Gold Award Presentations FAQs

Location and travel

Hillsborough Castle, The Square, Hillsborough, BT26 6AG

There is no car parking available at Hillsborough Castle. There is a free car park at Hillsborough Forest which is accessed by Park Street – please follow the signposts for the Forest. There is also a pay and display car park in Ballynahinch Street as well as on street parking in the area.

If you have a medical condition that requires special parking/transport arrangements, please contact us as soon as possible before the event.

Invitations and admittance cards

If you accept your place at the presentation, your admittance cards will be posted to you approximately two weeks before the presentation date. You will receive colored admittance cards for both you and your guest.

Admittance cards are not transferable.

If you have not received your invitations one week prior to the presentation, please get in touch with us immediately.

If any of the details are incorrect on your or your guest’s admittance card or do not match your ID (first and last names must match, middle names are not required), please contact us immediately at [email protected], clearly stating details of the error. For security reasons, you may be asked to return the coloured admittance cards to be reissued.

If we receive your returned tickets less than a week prior to the presentation, replacements will be available for you to collect on the day. Please make yourself known to a DofE member of staff on arrival and they will assist you in collecting your admittance card.

Cancelling your place

If you’re no longer able to attend your presentation please contact us as soon as possible and we’ll advise whether you can be added back to the waiting list and receive another invitation to attend a future presentation.You will only receive two invitations to attend a presentation, therefore if you cancel your second invitation your certificate will be sent in the post.

If your invitations and admittance cards have already been dispatched, for security reasons you will need to return these to the address on the cards.

If you need to cancel your place on the day of the presentation, please call the number provided with your admittance cards.

If you or your guest are unable to attend due to illness, please do let us know when you cancel your place.

Should you not let us know in advance of the presentation that you are unable to attend, your certificate will be posted to you and you will not receive another invitation to attend a presentation.

It is not possible for your guest to attend your presentation without you.

Running late

If you are not going to arrive at the Hillsborough Castle in time for the last entry (as stated on your admittance card) please call us on the number provided with your admittance cards.

Personal guests

You are only permitted to have one personal guest accompanying you to the presentation, who must be over the age of 16. Please check that we have the correct details for your guest and update them if required at

For security reasons guests cannot be changed within one week of the presentation date; if your guest is no longer able to attend after this time, please let us know. You are welcome to attend the presentation without a guest if you wish.

We are unable to accommodate requests for additional guests under any circumstances.


If you or your guest have any accessibility requirements or need additional support, please contact us at [email protected] as soon as possible with the details of what additional support is required so that arrangements can be made in advance.

If you are unable to stand for long periods, please make yourself known to the Police or a member of DofE staff on arrival who will allow you to bypass the queue. We advise not to arrive at the Castleuntil your assigned entry time as we are unable to admit guests prior to the official opening time, even if they have accessibility requirements.

Hillsborough Castle is fully accessible, and there are disabled bathrooms on site.

Wheelchairs cannot be provided. Please note that mobility scooters are not permitted inside Hillsborough Castle.

If you have a medical condition that requires special parking arrangements, please contact us as soon as possible before the event.

Official photography

Tempest Photography are the official Gold Award Presentation photographers.

A group photograph will be taken inside the Castle with the group you are in to receive your certificate (approximately 25 people) and the guest presenter.
You may notice that the official photographers taking some additional photos as part of the presentation. These photos are not available for distribution or sale.

Cameras and phones

Cameras and mobile phones mustn’t be used inside the Castle, and personal photography can only be taken outside. All cameras and mobile phones need to be switched off and placed in a bag or pocket; anyone found using these will be asked to leave by the Police.


There is a cloakroom in the Castle, however this is for coats, umbrellas, ladies’ handbags and gentlemen’s briefcases only. You do not have to leave your coat or bag in the cloakroom during the presentation. However, if you decide to keep it with you, please keep hold of it at all times.


There are a limited number of toilet facilities within the Castle for guest use, which includes disabled toilets. Please be aware that there can often be long queues for the ladies before the presentations.

First aid

First Aid staff from local voluntary organisations will be in attendance at the presentation.

Social media

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news and updates from @DofE_NI and share your experiences of the day using #GoldAward.

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