As we gear up for a big week in London celebrating the Royal Wedding, here's a day out of London to contrast with the crowds and the mad build up but still with a royal theme. At Hatfield House you can indulge your love of history, gardens and the fine sculptures of Henry Moore.
Just 20 minutes by train from Kings Cross, Hatfield House is directly opposite the train station. A short walk takes you to the house, or rather 2 houses. One is Elizabethan and the other is Jacobean, built in 1611 and the celebration of its 400 years was the reason for this visit, kindly hosted by folk at Hatfield House. The Elizabethan house was the childhood home of Princess Elizabeth and it was in these grounds that she learned of her accession to the throne and she subsequently held her first Council of State in the Great Hall. The first photos show the exterior, its formal gardens and the Great Hall.
The Jacobean House is much larger and was built using materials from the demolished wings of the old palace. It is very grand and worth spending some time exploring and also interesting as the family use it for part of the year. This family is the Salisbury's who have owned the house since it was built. It too has a grand hall, fine armour and other collections including Elizabeth's gloves and stockings! The kitchen bears testimony to the English love of tea with all the kettles lined up and the gardens are both formal and more wild with wonderful blossom at this time of year, a haven of peace and beauty.
As part of its 400 year celebrations, Hatfield House is holding an exhibition of an amazing collection of Henry Moore sculptures, many from the nearby Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green. We were very lucky to have a talk from the current Marquess of Salisbury and Sir Anthony Caro, a pupil of Henry Moore, to give us fascinating background to this event. The sculptures are displayed around a large area of garden and you can see one in the distance as you enjoy each piece, which pulls you through the collection, anticipating the next piece. The grounds and the sculptures complement each other wonderfully and I hope these photos give you a taster of this treat.