Hatfield House

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.

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.

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-temptingly 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.