Hatfield Park, Hatfield, Herts, AL9 5NB
Hatfield House is full of Tudor history. Legend has it that it was in the grounds of Hatfield House that Elizabeth I discovered she was now Queen! The house itself is still lived in so it’s not open every day. Check out the website for opening times. Technically you can buy a ticket and return for free “for the rest of the season”. This isn’t actually an annual ticket – their season runs from Saturday 31st March to Saturday 30th September 2018 (and will run for similar dates next year) so if you don’t go for the first time until September you can make limited use of the offer.
The house is stunning and is regularly used for filming. If you watch many historical or costume dramas then the chances are you’ve seen something filmed here. The award winning “The Favourite” is just one of the films that were filmed here.
There are plenty of rooms that are still open and apparently the staircase is a feat of engineering; they still cannot figure out how it was done.
The gardens are massive and have various different areas. There is a large woodland, The River Lea, a tree that looks like an elephant (I couldn’t see it personally but that’s probably my fault) and a vast open space to explore and play in. In addition to this there are the formal gardens and old palace to explore. There is so much variety here, it was a fantastic day.
As part of the wider park estate there is Hatfield Farm Park and the Bloody Hollow. This is at an additional charge (£5 for adults £2.50 for children and under 3’s are free) http://www.hatfieldparkfarm.co.uk/about-the-farm/ The Bloody Hollow is £1 per person. I haven’t been to these but I’ve heard good things.
Access-wise it was very easy to get around with a pushchair.
Entry – From £11 per adult and £7 per child. Tickets are valid all season so return visits are free.
Parking – On-site, ample and free
Toilets – On-site and very nice
Food – There is a cafe. When I visited there was a real issue with under-staffing so it took ages to be served and the tables weren’t being cleaned. Picnics are allowed.
Rating – 4 / 5. I went a couple of times during the season but it is frustrating that the free return ticket is only for the season and not a year.