GAPs in Northern Ireland - FAQs

My admittance card(s) are incorrect – what do I do?
Please send them back to us – Unit 4 Forestgrove Business Park, Newtownbreda Road, Belfast, BT8 6AW. Please include a covering note explaining the changes that need to be made and allow a minimum of 1 week to ensure a new admittance card will reach you by post.

Is there any car parking at Hillsborough Castle?
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 sign posts 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 give details immediately to Helen Ward or by telephoning 028 9069 9100.

What can I bring? (camera/mobile phone)
You are asked not to carry cameras, radios, mobile telephones, pagers, tape recorders, pocket calculators or similar devices including firearms. You can use your camera outside only. If you bring a camera and/or mobile phone, they should be left switched off in a bag or pocket. If you are seen using them, they will be confiscated – this includes cameras on mobile phones! Nothing larger than a lady’s handbag is allowed into Hillsborough Castle.

My letter says one time and my tickets say another, which one is right?
The letter only gives an approximate start time. The actual arrival time is indicated on the admittance card. The tickets give the correct arrival time.

Please aim to arrive as early as possible in case of delays. Guests will be admitted from approximately 10.30am.

How long does the presentation last?
The presentation takes approximately 3½ hours from start to finish. Guests will depart from Hillsborough Castle at 2.00pm.

Is there a cloakroom?
Yes, cloakroom facilities will be available as well as a room for coats/umbrellas.

I’ve missed the train or bus en-route/am stuck in traffic etc – what should I do?
If you are not going to be in time for your presentation (the time you need to be in position on your admittance card), please call us on 07779 725 398.

Photographs – what is taken and where?
A group photograph is taken of the small group that you are in to receive your certificate. It is taken at Hillsborough Castle prior to the presentation. There will also be an opportunity for family or individual studio photographs to be taken before and after the presentation.  Find out about the range of photography services available at GAPs.

If you have any other questions about photography please contact Tempest Photography:

What identification do I need?
You are required to bring 1 form of photographic ID (Passport or Driving Licence).

Have you had any cancellations/can I bring another guest?
We always book presentations that take us to the limit at Hillsborough Castle, so sorry, you cannot bring another guest.

Personal Guests

Due to space restrictions within Hillsborough Castle a maximum of one guest per young person is permitted. Please note that we are unable to accommodate requests for additional guests.

I’m ill or my guest is ill on the day/day before – what should I do?
If a guest is ill, it’s too late to change the guest, so you can either come alone, or defer to a different presentation (depending on when they fall). If you want to defer, please send the tickets back with a letter telling us that. If it’s really close to the presentation and you are not going to attend please e-mail Helen Ward or if it is on the day of the presentation please telephone 07779725398.

I can’t come – what should I do?
Send the tickets back with a letter stating whether you want to attend a future presentation, or receive the certificate by post. If it’s really close to the presentation and you are not going to attend please e-mail Helen Ward or if it is on the day please telephone 07779725398.

What do I wear?

Dress is informal and basically anything that is smart (no jeans).

  • Gentlemen: Lounge suit or jacket and trousers
  • Ladies: Afternoon dress or suit. Hats are optional. Trouser suits are very acceptable, as well as skirts.

If you are coming in a uniform, that is also very acceptable – if it’s military, please find out from your Commanding Officer which uniform is correct (medals are not required). Chains of Office for Mayors etc. may be worn.

What facilities are there for disabled guests?
Disabled guests can be dropped off in the street outside Hillsborough Castle. If you cannot wait in the queue, please make yourself known to the Police. Wheelchairs cannot be provided. Unfortunately motobility scooters are not permitted inside Hillsborough Castle. If you have any problems, please ask a member of staff on the day.

Will First Aiders be available?
Yes – First Aid volunteers from local voluntary organisations will be on duty throughout the event.

Contact us
If you have any other queries please e-mail Helen Ward or telephone 028 9069 9100.

On the day only, please call 07779 725 398.

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