Hatfield House is one of our favourite choices of a family day out when we need to escape the smoke, and the buzz of living in the city. It’s a perfect place to take a picnic and relax in the surrounds of such a stunning historical palace, (which also is under an hours travel from central london – Trains from Kings Cross to Hatfield take 21 minutes).
There is a little, or a lot for everyone at this beautiful country house, large or small, pink or blue, hungry or not, you can choose from the menu of adventures on offer.
You can take in the history of the house (In the Park, an oak tree marks the place where the young Princess Elizabeth first heard of her accession to the throne) and beauty of the stunning gardens, the 42 acres of parkland, bluebell wood, veteran tree trails, sculptures.
Or, for those with extra energy, you can visit the children’s farm, cafe, village shops (We just love The Oak Room, gift shop, and always come away with a super-cute treat) and the Bloody Hollow adventure playground. Our kids adore the playground, and we have lost many a long afternoon there, just remember to dress in your ‘play’ clothes, as they like are likely to scramble up the steep hill surrounding the play area.
There is also the house itself, which would be a perfect day out if you have granny to stay.
Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. It is a prime example of Jacobean architecture and is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury.
Fun Events Throughout the Year
There is a wide range of events at the park, and this year you can choose from craft days from the oak room shop, A helicopter day, Sunday farmers markets and french markets, various theatre, concerts, Living craft fairs, and don’t be surprised if you see a Cliff Richard concert on the bill (one for the Grandma’s maybe ?) .
Bloody Hollow was officially opened on 5th November 2010 and is located on the west side of Hatfield Park adjacent to the newly created coach and car park. The natural bowl in which the playground sits is named Bloody Hollow and has had this name, or Bloody Dell, for 283 years: our first records of the area are dated 1723.
A 2.5 metre high model of Hatfield House dominates the central area, which features a range of play items for all ages of children ranging from a rope bridge, aerial runway and tree house, plus all the favourites such as swings, springies and a see-saw.
Who Lives in a House Like This..?
Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. The Estate has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout the House.
In 1611, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury built his fine Jacobean House adjoining the site of the Old Palace of Hatfield. The House was splendidly decorated for entertaining the Royal Court, with State Rooms rich in paintings, fine furniture and tapestries.
Superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout Hatfield House such as the Grand Staircase with its fine carving and the rare stained glass window in the private chapel. Displayed throughout the House are many historic mementos collected over the centuries by the Cecils, one of England’s foremost political families
The Childrens Farm
Hatfield Park Farm re-opens for its annual season in early March. Now is the perfect time to bottle feed the new lambs. There will be live lambing throughout March, April and May – you may even see one being born! You can see traditional breeds of sheep, pigs, goats, cattle, ducks, geese and turkeys., and enjoy walking amongst the paddocks to see the animals grazing and feed them through the hoppers. There are regular free tractor rides around the farm.
The Coach House Restaurant is now open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm through to the end of December.
The garden at Hatfield House dates from the early 17th century when Robert Cecil employed John Tradescant the Elder to collect plants for his new home. Tradescant was sent to Europe where he found and brought back trees, bulbs, plants and fruit trees, which had never previously been grown in England.
Visitors can enjoy the sundial garden and fountains, and view the famous knot garden adjoining the Tudor Old Palace where Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood. Following the fashion for landscape gardening and some neglect in the 18th century, restoration of the garden started in earnest in Victorian times. Lady Gwendolen Cecil, younger daughter of Prime Minister Salisbury, designed the West Garden as it is today.
The adjoining woodland garden is at its best in spring with masses of naturalised daffodils and bluebells.
The East Garden was laid out by the 5th Marquess of Salisbury. This part of the Garden has elegant parterres, topiary and rare plants are a delight for the gardening enthusiast and for those wishing to spend a quiet time in idyllic surroundings. Designed to be viewed from the first floor of the House, the East Garden is only open to the public on one day each week during the visitor season.
The Garden is maintained by Lady Salisbury and her small team of gardeners.
(30 March – 29 September)* please check with the venue for latest prices incase of increases
|Hatfield House, West Garden & Park||£15.50||£14.50||£8.50||£12.50|
|West Garden & Park||£10||£9||£6||£7|
(extra cost – open Wed only)
|Hatfield Park Farm &
Bloody Hollow (Tues to Sun)
|House Audio Tours||£3||–||–||–|
|Guided House Tours
(per tour – up to 30 people)
House entry supplement for those with Park tickets is £8 and £4 for children. This additional charge to visit the House is also applicable during some major events.
Child tickets available between 5-15yrs except Hatfield Park Farm which is 3-15yrs.
Access to Bloody Hollow Play Area is included in any ticket purchased on the day.