Details announced for the visit of the King and Queen Consort to Northern Ireland
Their Majesties will arrive at Belfast City Airport on Tuesday, 13 September, where they will be met by the Lord Lieutenant for the County Borough of Belfast, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Chief Executive of Belfast City Airport, before travelling to Hillsborough Castle for a number of engagements.
The King and Consort will arrive at Hillsborough Castle, where His Majesty will hold a private audience with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and will meet with representatives from political parties. Their Majesties will also receive a Message of Condolence from The Speaker of The Northern Ireland Assembly on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland.
The King and The Queen Consort will attend a reception at Hillsborough Castle, hosted by the Secretary of State, where they will have the opportunity to meet representatives drawn from a diverse range of Northern Ireland life.
Later in the afternoon, His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort will travel to St Anne’s Cathedral to attend a Service of Reflection for the life of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. Their Majesties will then undertake a walkabout at Writers’ Square before departure.
Public information regarding travel to Hillsborough Castle
The public is welcome to come to Royal Hillsborough ahead of the ceremony to line the route, members of the public should be in place by 1100. There is no parking for non-residents
Special transport is in place from the dedicated Park and Ride facility at the Eikon Centre, Halftown Road, Lisburn There will be no public access to the Castle during this period other than via this Park & Ride service.
Further information on the public transport services and shuttle bus times is available on Translink’s Website
On arrival at the Eikon Centre, members of the public will pass through a security search, before boarding coaches for Hillsborough Castle. You will be able to access toilets and refreshments at the Eikon Centre before travelling to Royal Hillsborough.
Large bags, such as backpacks and rucksacks will not be allowed onto the Park & Ride buses to Royal Hillsborough; you will be asked to return any large bags to your car and will have to undergo the queuing system again.
Please be aware that only floral tributes will be allowed to be laid in the dedicated area at Hillsborough Castle. On arrival at the Eikon Centre, all floral tributes will undergo a full security search, and any cellophane wrapping will be removed and disposed of at the Eikon Centre to avoid a fire risk. Notes will also be removed and preserved by the NIO at Eikon Centre for onward transmission to Buckingham Palace.
Other items (such as soft toys) are not allowed to be laid, and will also be removed and stored at the Eikon Centre. Soft toys will be donated by the NIO to local hospitals.
On arrival at Hillsborough Castle, the tributes should be handed to an events steward who will lay them in the dedicated area in the Forecourt of Hillsborough Castle.
Information regarding route between Hillsborough and Belfast St Anne’s
His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort will leave Hillsborough Castle at 1420, travelling along Main Street and Lisburn Street to attend the Service of Reflection at St Anne’s Cathedral, which will begin at 1500.
They will come into Belfast City Centre along Wellington Place, Donegall Square North, Chichester Street and Victoria Street.
The public is very welcome to line the route as His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort travel to the Cathedral. Donegall Street and Writers Square will be closed to the public.
Public Information regarding the Service of Reflection at St Anne’s
The service of reflection at St Anne’s Cathedral is by invitation only. A small number of individuals have been invited to observe the proceedings at St Anne’s Cathedral from Writers’ Square. Members of the public will not be admitted to Writers’ Square or to the service of reflection. Access to the service will be strictly by ticket only.
More information on wider activities in Belfast is available on Belfast City Council Website including public television screens at Belfast City Hall.
Where is the Eikon Centre?
The Eikon Centre is close to the M1 and only 10 minutes from Royal Hillsborough.
Yellow signs will direct you to the Hillsborough Park & Ride. You will be directed as follows, if approaching from:
The South (A1): Stay on the A1 past Royal Hillsborough Village and turn left onto Harrys Road
The East (M1): Leave the M1 at junction 7 onto the Blaris Road
The West (M1): Leave the M1 at junction 9 onto the A3 and turn South on the Halftown Road
The North (A26): At the junction with the M1 and A3, turn East onto the the A3 and turn South on the Halftown Road
How do I get there by public transport?
A shuttle bus will run from Lisburn rail station to and from the Eikon Centre
Public buses will still run through Royal Hillsborough, but you will not be able to access the Castle other than via the Eikon Centre. You will be able to hand floral tributes to staff to lay on your behalf.
Why is there a security check?
As you are aware, Hillsborough Castle is a secure venue and for this reason it will be necessary for everyone coming on site to undergo a short security check before boarding the buses at the Eikon Centre as well as a further check before entering Hillsborough Castle.
All cellophane on floral tributes will be removed during this security check. No other tributes will be allowed at the Hillsborough Castle site, and guests are requested to refrain from bringing any other objects or tributes.
To facilitate a speedy security check, guests are requested not to bring large bags or holdalls. There will be no storage facility in the Eikon Centre for luggage.
I am attending the ceremonial events, do I need to travel via the Eikon Centre?
Yes. Guests for ceremonial events in Royal Hillsborough and Belfast also be asked to travel to the Eikon Centre.
Guests will be handled separately to members of the public seeking to lay floral tributes. You should have received information about travel from the Northern Ireland Office alongside notification of your attendance at the event(s).
I live in Hillsborough, do I need to travel to Eikon?
Local residents and business owners within Royal Hillsborough Village should receive a leaflet from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council regarding the special arrangements in operation during the national period of mourning. If you have not received this, please contact the Community Assistance Centre on 028 9244 7999 for further information and support.
I just want to lay flowers, do I really need to go to Eikon?
Hillsborough Castle is only accessible to the general public (aside from local residents and business owners) during the national period of mourning via the Park & Ride facility at the Eikon Centre.
Flowers may be handed to staff outside Hillsborough Castle; any other material (such as wrappings and other tributes) will be removed and the flowers will be laid in the dedicated area.