Historical Park and House on our doorstep.

Mix Mornings with Nick Hazell

We find out about Hatfield Park and House which is open for us all to visit.  Georgina Shaw tells us what we will find there.

This is a computer generated transcript of this audio item

Hatfield Park is a private estate, just opposite Hatfield train station, very conveniently located. It’s in total about 800 acres of park land, essentially, and in it is obviously Hatfield House, which I assume many people will know. But nowadays the gardens and the park land are open much more than the houses. So overall we’re with Hatfield Park as a whole, but Hatfield House sits lovingly right in the center of that and is. still open at the end of May. OK, now we’ll talk about the house in a minute, but let’s talk about the outside space, the park. What is there there? What can people see? So our main sort of parkland area includes our woodland walks. There are three different types of walks that you can go on. They range anywhere from about 1 and 1 1⁄2 miles to about 3 miles. Obviously, you can pick and choose. Do all of them. Do half of one, whatever you like. But that goes all the way down to our Broadwater Reservoir. It goes up past our woods that we’ve got. One of them was planted for the Jubilee quite recently, which is quite nice, and basically just spans all of our parkland. And it’s just beautiful. Obviously you get to see the river. You’ve got some sort of historic buildings along the way. If you see a red deer, you are absolutely honored, but they are coming out a little bit more frequently now, which is really lovely. And it’s just a really nice open space. we’ve got areas that are a little bit more off the track, you know, don your walking boots and your wellies and have a bit of a go, or you’ve got completely hard standing, you know, buggy friendly routes that you can take as well. So at least you’ve got a very significant route to walk, but overall just sort of gorgeous views, stunning park lands, and definitely one or two interesting animals to see as well. Excellent. Now a lot of people will have just thought of Hatfield House in the past, I suppose, but it’s good to know, especially National Walking Month, it’s great to know that there’s outdoor space on our doorstep that we can go and visit. Tell us a bit about the history of the house and the park then. So originally, it sort of began back in 1485, the Bishop of Ely, his name was John Morton, he owned what we now call the Old Palace, but was originally called Hatfield Palace. And Henry VIII acquired it. It was where Elizabeth I and her brother Edward and her sister Mary grew up and were educated. And Elizabeth was actually kept under house arrest here at Hatfield. And then when she learned of her accession to the throne in 1558, she was sat underneath our beautiful Elizabeth Oak tree in our park land. And that was where she found out she was queen. And she held her first council meeting in the palace. Jumping forward to when her successor James I took over, he actually swapped estates with the First Minister Robert Cecil and it was his idea to knock down three of the wings of the old palace and then a couple of hundred metres behind it decided to build Hatfield House in a more Jacobean style suitable to entertaining James and that is now what we call Hatfield House. It’s been in the Cecil family for over 400 years. So Robert Settle built it in 1611 and obviously we’re now in 2024 and our seventh Marquess, Robert Settle still lives there today. Okay, now the house you said is open from towards the end of May. What sort of opening hours do you have? We are open from the 23rd of May until the 8th of September. The house is open from 11am until last entry at 4pm and that’s from Thursdays to Sundays throughout the week. and as well as the gardens being open from Wednesday to Sunday. So you get a little bit of an extra garden day thrown in there as well. And the East garden, our private side, is only open on a Wednesday. So if you want two gardens in one day, a Wednesday is your day to come. Okay. Now what can people see in the house? What will they see if they visit the house itself? A couple of very famous portraits of Queen Elizabeth the First. do still hang, we’ve just had one return from being conserved, which will be a very interesting story to tell when that comes back. You’ve got original furniture that comes from the old palace as well, you’ve got family portraits and too much to say, you’ll have to come and see it for yourself. I could go on all day but nobody wants to hear me talk about every artifact in the house but there is a lot to see and some beautiful history throughout. the time that the family have spent there and it’s just it’s really nice. Steeped in history then so Hatfield House opened through the summer and Hatfield Park open more or less year-round. Is that right? More or less and we have our Friends of Hatfield Park scheme. So if you live in the immediate Bishop’s Hatfield area, which you can check on our Friends of Hatfield Park website, you can get access year-round and that we are offering a season ticket this year which gives you the chance to come on any public open day and you only have to come six times to make it worth it, which I think sounds very, very easy to do, but I’m a little bit biased. Yeah, most of the year and I think our gardens this year shut just towards the end of September, but we are open for October half term as well as the school holidays and maybe even something coming at Christmas, but that’s still under wraps and sworn to secrecy. All right. All right, now if people want to find out more about tickets, how they get there and the opening hours and so on, where can they head? If they head to the website, which is www. Everything is on there, all about opening times and days and a little bit more information about what you can see. And any questions, there’s a contact us section, they can drop an email or give us a phone call and we’ll be happy to answer any questions that you’ve got.

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