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“Lovely house and old palace”
Review of Hatfield House

Hatfield House
Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Hatfield
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Hatfield House is the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury and their family. The Estate has been in the Cecil family for 400 years. Superb examples of Jacobean craftsmanship can be seen throughout the House. Hatfield House is open from Easter Saturday to 30th September each year.
Level Contributor
231 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 191 helpful votes
“Lovely house and old palace”
Reviewed 20 August 2014

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.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank verity1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Aylesbury, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Over Priced day out”
Reviewed 20 August 2014 via mobile

We looked it up on the website. Looked good value for money for a family ticket. The house was very nice and staff friendly but it was very small areas and the house was done in just over a hour. The gardens were small and the sculpture's nice but no ideal route set out so if not careful you would miss loads. The ice creams and drinks were over priced. For the money I would of wanted a lot more.

Thank PLegge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Antique Fair and Farm/Bloody Hollow”
Reviewed 19 August 2014 via mobile

After a terrible start , we got caught up in a mile long traffic queue to a children's Glastonbury type event held in the grounds, we eventually found our destination. We considered abandoning our planned day to go to the Lollibop event instead but it would have cost us over £140 entrance and £10 to park! The signs for the antique fair were non existent and even the house was hard to find. Eventually was found the 30 or so strong stalls that made up the fair with about the same amount of 'antiques' between them. The little shops were worth a look round but with the usually very high prices one associates with these places. With only three picnic tables (which were three more than mentioned on the website) we bagged two of them for our lunch only to find ourselves four feet from the bride and groom arriving for their wedding breakfast! The farm was ok but didn't hold much interest for our oldest grandchild of eight. We sat on the wrong side of the tractor ride and saw many weeds but no animals at all. Bloody Hollow play area was a great success but I'm not sure I would travel the 90 miles again for it! We didn't get to see the house as the hour and a half delay at the start caused us to run out of time. I have very mixed feelings about the visit but overall I don't think I would return.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank Ann S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Overpriced & rude staff”
Reviewed 16 August 2014 via mobile

We normally visit just the playground (bloody hollow) & the farm which are good value, friendly staff & the kids love . Today we decided to see the house . Paid for a family ticket at £44 . The house was interesting but the staff were rude, jobs worths & condescending . Rather than embrace the fact we had bought our children (aged 9, 7 & 4) they acted like we had bought unexploded bombs into the room . They were consistently rude & just wanted us to leave which I have never experienced before as our children are pleasant, polite & well behaved (& so are we) . One guide scared our 4 year old and then laughed when he ran to me saying that was how he got children to hold their parents hands ! Another shouted at us as we went in the armour room before the chapel which is not the normal route apparently, another was sarcastic as I handed my child's competition in rather than post it in the box and when my husband took the 4 yr old to the toilet he was not allowed to double back to rejoin us . We are aware that there are priceless artworks on display but we had paid for entry & our children were not touching anything or being unruly in any way . Finally we left the house & took the children to the farm & were told we had to pay an additional £5 per adult & £2 per child for entry . Bringing the total cost to £60 . We did not pay this additional cost & left with sobbing children and feeling like they were glad to see the back of us despite having spent almost £100 when you add up our coffees, entrance fee, guide book & gift shop purchase :(

Visited August 2014
7 Thank Chezza323
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
69 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“Very good day out”
Reviewed 13 August 2014

Lovely day out albeit a bit pricey at £15.50 but would definitely return.
Little farm by the car park at £5 is also worth a visit.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank Treborwf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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