(Above photo - Hatfield House - only 15 minutes drive from the Canonbury Antiques showroom )
After visiting the Canonbury Antiques showroom, why not make a day out of it and visit Hatfield House after, only 15 minutes away from the showroom? It's a grand Jacobean Stately home with amazing interiors and gardens - including, of course, a maze. The ghost of Elizabeth I is said to still haunt the corridors and it was a favourite hunting and stomping ground of Henry VIII. More recently, they also filmed much of 'The Favourite' here and Olivia Coleman won a Best Actress Oscar for her peformance.
In Hertfordshire, England, there is a town named Hatfield, east of which sits Hatfield House, a building that’s so rich in history. In 1611, Robert Cecil, King James I’s First Minister, and the first Earl of Salisbury set out to construct a home for his family. The result is the magnificent Jacobean House, now referred to as Hatfield House. It sits on a vast estate that includes expansive gardens with plants from centuries ago.
(Above photo - A Jacobean Stately Home right on our door step )
On the same estate, sits the Royal Palace of Hatfield, which was built much earlier in 1497. It originally belonged to John Cardinal Morton, a minister to King Henry VII and Bishop of Ely. The old royal palace has four wings around a courtyard. When he took over the reins of power, King Henry VIII seized the building and made it his palace.
Tourists from all over the world visit Hatfield House every year. Some are attracted by the old palace while others come to see the new house and garden. The artifacts displayed here include items belonging to the different monarchs that lived here. You will find so many items that previously belonged to Queen Elizabeth I. When King James I, moved out of the building in 1607, its new owner Robert Cecil tore down the building’s three wings. He then reclaimed the bricks as part of the present-day structure.
(Above photo - The King James drawing room at Hatfield House )
Hatfield House played an important role during the Second World War. Basically, it became the headquarters of the Civil Resettlement unit. Former prisoners of war were brought here to work towards transitioning into civilian life. During the First World War, the gardens on the estate had been used to test the first tanks made in Britain.
(Above photo - Hatfield House gardens - including the maze )
As soon as Robert Cecil had settled on this property, he commissioned John Tradescant to lay out a garden covering an area of 42 acres. It took years for Tradescant to finish laying out the elaborate garden. He had to visit Europe to collect exotic plants that would give the garden a unique look. Some of the fantastic features of the garden include herb gardens, terraces, water parterres, scented plants, fountains, and orchards. The foot maze is perfect for anyone who wants to get lost in the maze.
(Above photo - Find your Knight in shining armour in the long hall of the armoury )
At some point, the grounds went through a prolonged period of neglect. During Victorian times, an extensive restoration of the garden begun. Until now, the present owner of Hatfield House continues to carry out restoration work. Different portions of the garden are made in unique geometric shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles.
Hatfield House and the gardens on the estate are open to the public. Visitors can access the State Rooms in the midweek when there are guides on site. During weekends, visitors can move around almost on their own. Friday is considered the Garden Connoisseur’s Day, a time when the house is open to pre-booked groups as well as guided tours. Around the estate, you can walk for up to five miles on the marked trails.
(Above photo - Oliver Coleman won a Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Favourite - shot in Hatfield House )
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