Doddington Hall is near Lincoln in Lincolnshire. It is a grand house that was built at the end of the 16th century and completed at the start of the 17th century. You can see by the photo below just how grand the hall is.
We were recently invited by Doddington Hall to come and review the house, gardens and their summer of imagination event. We passed a full day here from 11am until gone 3pm with just a short break for lunch. It was one of those kind of feel-good days out. The kind where you feel like you are enjoying a bit of history for the day while taking in beautiful sights. Not to mention the adventure of finding Fairy houses, a dragon’s lair, talking trees and more.
My review – Doddington house
On most Wednesdays from now until the 30th August, 2017 families can book on a ‘Secrets of Doddington family tour’. I jumped at the chance for us to go on the tour as I thought it would be a good way to hear about the history of the house.
The tour lasted for one hour and although Jamie didn’t want to join in with touching various things he clearly paid attention to what was being said. It was a very family friendly tour, especially as Jamie found it easy to follow. The most interesting fact was how the Hall had been designed in the shape of an E in the hope that, at that time, Queen Elizabeth Ist would have chosen to visit there. It is believed that she never did visit. But at least there was a beautifully designed house instead.
The house is open on a Wednesday, Sunday or bank holiday Monday. From 12pm you are allowed to wander around as you wish, so long as you have paid for entry to the house. There are people stationed in most rooms and floors to help with any questions you may have.
A fun challenge for your children is to spot the unicorns inside the hall. The owners of the house, throughout time, have had quite an obsession with the magical beasts. There is a unicorn, or more, to spot in nearly every room. Four of them guard the entrance to the house.
The house has over 400 years of unbroken history and there are many treasures to wonder at, especially tapestries. They have ladies busy working restoring some of the tapestries which you are welcome to stand and observe. There are 3 floors of rooms to look in and each floor has one very long room with other smaller rooms.
The room on the top floor is one of the biggest rooms I have ever seen. No doubt they have used it for many different purposes. As the family still live there today I would imagine that it is still in use. Also on this floor is a junk or treasure workshop. This is being run as part of the summer of imagination and there are various family orientated sessions at various times of the day, when the house is open.
There are amazing views of some of the gardens from this room. We were later to discover that the roses here smelt absolutely gorgeous.
Another surprise on this floor is the room pictured below. Here you can sit and relax while feeling like you are in a circus tent. Jamie is an honest kid and when the tour ended I asked him what he thought of the house and the tour. His answer? “Really good”. The tour was just the right length of time for him.
The gardens at Doddington Hall
You can pay to visit just the gardens. Please see below for entrance fees and further useful information. During the summer of imagination, we were provided with a leaflet of the house which included a map of the gardens. We were also given another leaflet which included a map of what there is to find during the summer. The gardens are open are open daily except for Saturdays until Sunday 3rd September.
I have to say we were all rather impressed by the exterior of the toilets in the gardens. These are the only toilets on the grounds of the hall. They do however have more toilets over at the café and farm shop.
There is a 1km walk, and back, to a pyramid which we did. It was quite a challenge getting there as there were cows in the field. That certainly was something a little different for us.
The maze is a permanent thing to see and do. Jamie skipped around it for a long time and wasn’t in the slightest bit bothered that he kept ending up at a dead end. He loved it and did eventually get to the middle!
The gardens at Doddington have some stunning old trees. This chestnut tree was so incredibly unusual. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Some of the trees even talked! There is also an interesting kitchen garden. Mum and I were more interested in this than Jamie but it was fun for him to see pumpkins growing already and a baby moorhen swimming on the pond.
There are four Doddington walks to complete should you be feeling energetic.
The Summer of Imagination
The summer of imagination art installations is currently here just for the summer. This is the first year Doddington Hall have done something like this and hopefully, it will be the first year of many. The summer of imagination will be at Doddington until the 3rd September. For families, they also have theatre performances, storytelling and a circus on selected dates over the summer. With more to come outside of summer too such as pumpkin picking and Santa.
So what is the summer of imagination in Doddington’s gardens all about? Well, think Unicorns, fairy houses, talking trees, dragon lairs, dragon’s eggs and much more. Perfect for setting a little persons imagination alight. It was such fun finding everything on the map and Jamie loved the talking trees. He said it was his favourite part of the day.
Here are some photos from the Summer of Imagination in the gardens.
I can confirm that Jamie did not want to leave. He wanted to go back and do it all again. See here for a full timetable of what’s on – Summer-of-Imagination-Map-2017-web
As mentioned above the Hall itself is only open on a Wednesday, Sunday and on a bank holiday Monday. The hall opens at 12 noon. You can purchase a house and garden ticket for £10.50 for an adult. £4.75 for a child and children under 4 years old have free entry. The gardens are open daily except for Saturdays until Sunday 3rd September. They are open from 11am and you can purchase a ticket just for the gardens. The price for this is £7.00 for an adult and £3.50 for a child 4 and over. You can also purchase a family ticket for the hall and gardens for £28.00 and £18.00 for just the gardens.
You can book online in advance or on the door when you arrive. There is a restaurant and café next to the farm shop if you wish to eat there. There are also a few shops to look around.
Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of my review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own and I have been completely honest. Please do not reproduce images without gaining consent.
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