I had not realised that the main house is not the one where Elizabeth 1 st spent her childhood. None the less it is magnificent with fascinating paintings. We found the guides knowledgeable and helpful. We also did the tour of the Old Palace next door,which actually is the place where Elizabeth spent her childhood. There was not much open to view of the Old Palace but what there was, was interesting. We paid extra for this. The gardens we saw were nice, but we did not pay extra for the other garden which in fact can be viewed out of the windows.
Slight niggles - I did think it was expensive. The two houses and a light snack set us two of us back about £50. I understand the property must cost a fortune to maintain, but still that is quite a lot of money seeing we kept it to a minimum. The car park was full and the staff didn't seem to know what to do about it. The cafeteria food was fine, but they have a ridiculous system where you seem to pay for salads, cakes and hot food each at separate counters and there is not enough space to put down your tray so you keep everyone else waiting while you juggle. The cafeteria itself was absolute bedlam, with double buggies everywhere and people all going from counter to counter for different things and tables not cleared. They really need better logistics here. You can take a picnic if you want.
This is probably not under the direct control of Hatfield House, but the adjoining parish church which contains some interesting tombs is not open all the time and the notice of its opening hours is incorrect. So if you have much historical curiosity I suggest you check this out first of all and also the times of the Old Palace tours. And avoid peak times at the cafeteria.
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