Hatfield House sits right next to its urban Hertfordshire town, however the moment you drive through the gate you are transported back several hundred years and floored by tranquility…

I am a bit of a history-phile, and there are few things I enjoy more than to spend a day admiring ancient architecture and walking in manicured gardens. Sadly the idea of dodging antique furniture and dipping under ropes to grab a runaway child makes this a second thought option these days, so to find somewhere that caters for the whole family is a real find.

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There are actually two historic houses here, set in beautiful parkland grounds – one of which was the childhood home of Elizabeth I. There is a charming courtyard housing several shops, an outstanding cafe-restaurant and one of my all time favourite home and gift shops ever, The Oak Room.

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And for the kids, they last year opened a large park farm with paddocks of sheep, miniature horses and a tractor ride tour which runs throughout the day – and to top it off, they added an amazing playground. The fate-tempting named ‘Bloody Hollow‘ has a miniature version of the Jacobean house, rope bridges galore, a good array of slides and swings, and a zip wire. All nestled in a large wooded hollow with plenty of space to spread out the picnic basket and stretch your legs while the baby nibbles on a stray twig (…it happens).

The season opened last month so do pay a visit the next time the sun shines.

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