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Wollaton Hall (Nottingham)

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Wollaton Road, Nottingham. NG8 2AE. tel = 0115 915 3900

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      15.07.2009 21:32
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      A relaxing diversion for a sunday afternoon.

      Wollaton Hall, set within the grounds of Wollaton Park, is an historic Elizabethan building set on top of a natural hill. It lies within the safe, sleepy Nottingham suburb of Wollaton, which is around 5 miles out of the city centre in distance, yet about a million miles away in atmosphere. Buses run from the city centre,by the gates of the park, around every 15 minutes. The hall itself has recently undergone a huge overhaul, as due to its' age, it was in desperate need of a facelift. However, it has always been a spectacular and beautiful building, and can be seen from miles around due to its' position on top of a hill. It dates from the 1500s, when it was the home of the aristocratic Willoughby family. More information about them can be found inside. Also in the hall are other artefacts and natural history items, which are brilliant for the children. Just across the path from the main hall is a smaller building, which houses the Nottingham Industrial Museum, a fascinating array of exhibits to while away an afternoon. Events are regularly held at the hall, ranging from craft fairs to childrens' activity days, and sometimes there are festivals and shows held in the grounds. Find out what is coming up at the website: http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1037 The park and hall are free to enter, but there is a charge for parking: a mere £2.00 per day, pretty good value I feel. There is some onstreet parking in the surrounding area, but beware: last time we did this, a local resident was lurking around taking photographs of everyones' number plates. Only later did we see the tiny police notice stuck to a lamp-post, informing us that on special event days, on street parking was prohibited. Whoops! The park itself is around 500 acres, combining areas of wilderness with footpaths, manicured gardens and expanses of grass. Many times we have sat here with a picnic , or walked around the ornamental lake, feeding the birds there. Some areas are fenced off, because Wollaton Park is home to several colonies of deer, and sometimes you can see them watching you through the long grass. We are not allowed into their area, however sometimes they jump the fence and come into our bit of the park: go carefully, especially during the mating season! Behind the main hall, there is a golf course, and a 19th century orangerie glass house, full of gorgeous camellias, always worth a look. Wollaton Park itself does not have a cafe or restaurant: refreshments run to maybe an ice cream van and a kiosk in the height of summer. However, a short walk away from any of the entrances, there are plenty of local shops and pubs, all of which are very nice. Visitors to Nottingham are always directed to the Nottingham Castle, which is great, but in my opinion, they should give Wollaton Hall a chance too.

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        05.12.2008 15:51
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        A beautiful Elizabethan country house.

        Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house in Wollaton, Nottingham. It is a grade 1 listed building that was built in 1588. The hall is surrounded by 500 acres of land. The park contains a wide range of wildlife habitats including wetlands, grasslands, woodlands and mature trees. There are herds of red and fallow deer roaming free. This is an excellent place to visit on a day out, for picnics, a walk or to take photgraphs. You can go inside the house or take a walk around the park and gardens. Admission to the hall is free and there is an option to pay to go on a tour which costs £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for concessions. The gate opening times are 8am on week days and 9am at the weekend. The closing times are different throughout the year and close between 5pm - 9:45pm. There is a big car park and to park your car it costs £2 for the whole day which I think is very good. The hall itself is open daily April-October 11am - 4pm and November - March 11am - 4pm. The park is very easy to get to both by car and bus. It is 3 miles away from the city centre and is well signposted. There are a number of buses which go to Wollaton and past the park. The hall has recently had a £39 million restoration and now you can experience more than before. In the hall you can see: Tudor Kitchens - The original beehive ovens and charcoal stove have been fully restored and the kitchens furnished according to the 1601 inventory.You can experience the sights, sounds and smells of an authentic Tudor kitchen. The Regency Dining Room - See it as it would have looked and watch a video featuring the family housekeeper. The Regency Salon - Revamped with new audio visual interpretation and presented as it would have been in 1832. The Prospect Room - Situated on top of the Great Hall with stunning architecture and panoramic views of the city and beyond. The Bird Room - Recreated as it would have looked in the 1920s when Wollaton Hall first became a natural history museum. The museum has a great amount of specimens and minerals on display. If you are just going to look around outside and not going in to the hall itself you will see a historic lake, formal flower gardens and The Camellia House which is the oldest cast iron glasshouse in Europe as well as the many animals that are around the park. There is a cafe in the courtyard and a yard gallery with a exhibition space that has a changing program of exhibitions. They have a small shop inside.

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          15.07.2004 16:50
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          When most people think of Nottingham, they think of lace, Robin Hood and the Major Oak. However, a treasure hiding away on the outskirts of Nottingham city centre is Wollaton Hall. Standing proud and overlooking 500 acres of parkland, it provides a welcome retreat in an otherwise busy environment. The stately home was built in the 1580s for the Willoughby family and its light exterior gives the hall a welcoming atmosphere despite its age. It is no longer preserved as a Tudor house but instead has been transformed into Nottingham?s Natural Museum and each of the rooms over the two floors depicts a different aspect of wildlife. Admission fees are very reasonable. Any weekday is free (although I suspect a charge may be made during school holidays) and there is a small charge at weekends and Bank Holidays of £1.50 for adults and 80p concessions. Family tickets (2 adults and 2 children) can be bought for £3.80. There is ample parking although it is pay and display. Charges are £1.00 (up to 2 hours) and £2.00 for the day. Inside the museum, there are various highlights including George the Gorilla. Believed to be about 170 years old, George hangs from a branch in a glass cage. He was imported into England, already stuffed, in 1878 and Wollaton Hall has been his home for many years. Let?s just say that George hangs there in all his glory! On the ground floor you should also look out for a delicate matchstick model of the Hall. Completed in 1984, it consists of 49,149 matchsticks and took 3½ years of painstaking effort. There are two wide staircases up to the first floor and each is surrounded by more natural history displays. One of these exhibits shows a variety of minibeasts in an authentic back garden which even includes the washing on the line. However, it is puzz ling to think who may live in this house as the knickers hanging out to dry are the same size as the pillowcase! This has always made me giggle. Climbing the stairs and turning right leads to a large ?hands-on? room very much aimed at the younger members of the family. Follow footprints of different animals, investigate the unique features of a badger and browse through a selection of animal books underneath the story tree. You can also discover the world through fossils. The story is very much Nottinghamshire based and you are told of Mansfield baking as a hot desert and the county submerged underwater ? although I suspect this wasn?t at the same time! Heading out to the south side of the building is home to a life-sized giraffe. Years ago this great exhibit was a magnificent centrepiece in the Grand Hall but in recent times has been moved upstairs to become part of the African Savannah display. You are invited to experience day and night scenes of the savannah and realistic sounds are played as night falls on the animals. It?s not exactly Disney but young children can get quite mesmerised by it. Following the trail round you come to a room full of dazzling rocks, minerals and precious stones and an insect room containing bees hard at work in their honeycomb nest, stick insects, cockroaches and a busy ant colony. This exhibit is one area of the museum where the animals are live! This room also provides a stunning view of the parkland stretching out in front of the Hall. As well as the Natural History Museum, Wollaton Park is also home to Nottingham?s Industrial Museum. The exact age of the building is not known, although clues point to the 1740s. The upper floor is likely to have been the servant?s quarters while the ground floor would have housed the stables, brewhouse and dairy. Up until as recently as 1979 the stables were used for Nottingham?s police horses but when they moved out, the area was converted into a small refreshment area. The Industrial Museum itself has been open to the public since 1971 and is home to several fascinating machines, many of them steeped in Nottingham history. There is a noticeable oily smell of industry throughout the museum where a cigarette vendor and a clocking in machine, both from the early 20th century, can be viewed. It is a little known fact (well I didn?t know!) that the idea behind the video recorder was developed in Nottingham and the original device is on display alongside a now-dated 1980s version. Many of the lace and knitting machines used in local factories can also be admired here. The Transport Gallery within the museum charts the journey of the bicycle and includes many examples of cycles throughout the ages (with heavy emphasis, of course, on the local Raleigh company, with its strong Nottingham connections). There are also two ancient carriages housed here. The English State Landau and the English Post Phaeton, both over 300 years old and believed to be two of the oldest of their kind in existence. Outside the Industrial Museum is the Gin Yard which presents a huge horse gin, previously used at a nearby colliery. Also look out for an old gas street lamp damaged in a World War II air raid and an unusual post-box known as the anonymous post-box due to having no royal cipher. Young children might not be as interested in the Industrial and Transport museums and I have only ever visited both areas once. They are worth going to see if you don?t have children to keep entertained while you are looking round. Sometimes there is another charge to enter the Industrial Museum which is the same price as e ntering the Natural History Museum but if you?re lucky, they occasionally have a special offer where you pay to get into one museum and entry into the other is free. The rest of the 500 acres of land is open parkland, perfect for picnicking or lazing about on a hot summer?s day and it is not uncommon to be sharing a leisurely stroll with the resident herd of deer. A large lake graces the west side of the Hall and the colourful grounds around an old Camellia House can be accessed. In the height of summer the scent from the hundreds of flowers really hits you. As much as I love this place there is a word of warning. There are no lifts inside Wollaton Hall so disabled and pushchair access is restricted. I do believe that this is under review though and hopefully, a lift will be installed in the near future. If you have a wheelchair, it may be wise to ring in advance and find out what they can do for you. Pushchairs can be carried up the stairs but it is not easy. Other facilities include toilets, a shop and an outdoor café with limited undercover seating. The café menu is also very basic, specialising mainly in toasties and drinks. If you are planning on staying all day taking a picnic and enjoying it in the beautiful surroundings is probably more advisable. Overall, there is plenty to keep the family entertained here and all for a very reasonable price. There are many times we go along just to walk around the grounds or have a kick about with friends. And as a child I used to love running up the hill, on which the hall sits, and rolling back down the grass. And all this can be done just for the price of the parking. And throughout summer there are plenty of ice-cream vans and sometimes a bouncy castle for extra family entertainment. Opening times are 11am-4pm November to March and 11am-5pm April to Oct ober. It is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. So if you?re ever in Nottingham and fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, this is a place definitely worth seeking out.

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            22.05.2003 02:23
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            Most stately homes in England really suck. They are either old and boring, or ludicrously expensive, or covered in graffiti and chewing-gum and litter. Wollaton Hall is the antidote...just when you are losing faith in hte tourist attractions over here, you should visit this place. The Hall itself is a large, English Renaissance building; cool, airy and a pleasure to walk around even when it is raining outside. In it, there is a motor museum and the city's only natural history museum. The park around Wollaton is the main attraction, but should you be unlucky enough to chance a wet day, there is plenty to see and do inside, namely to view a spectacular Hall dating back to 1588. The Natural History museum is an educational yet enjoyable exhibit, to rival that in London. There is a Green trail and a Nature trail (though those are really for the kids), an insect exhibit (i have yet to overcome my phobia so normally pass on that one), some stuffed animals - a gorrila and a giraffe - and is fairly cheap at £1.80 for adults and 80p concession (while a joint ticket for the park and hall is just £2 for adults and £1 concession). The motor museum, while not my thing, is definately a must for those interested in the rise of industry. I stumbled across this while searching for the toilets, and i have to admit that even my interest was captivated by the exhibition of cars, bikes and the lace industry that has made Nottingham famous. But, as i said before, the grounds are the real attraction, and definately the reason that most people go. Wollaton Hall is set in an impressive 500 acres of greenery with a beautiful and inspiring deer park. Nowadays you can still see the deer in amongst the trees, but what stands out more are the dozens of picnickers. Families of all ages come to enjoy the sunshine and listen to the sounds of nature. Teenagers playing sport fight for space with the relaxed old people, the young children on the bouncy c astle shrieking for ice creams and the avid naturalists come to view the deer and extensive bird life. If mingling with lots of people isn't your thing, there are usually quite secluded spots around the back (500 acres speaks for itself) but if you come on a breezy summer's day, expect to be crowded. I fell in love with this place at my first picnic, but then i may be biast...i love everything about nottingham. If you are in the area, come see to make your own mind up. Some useful Hall facts: Architect: Robert Smythson Location: Nottinghamshire, England Date: 1580 to 1588 Building Type: large house Construction System: bearing masonry Style: English Renaissance Parking: Excellent; large carpark

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              03.10.2001 18:11
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              If you ever find yourself looking for somewhere to go in the Nottingham area to fill a few hours you could do a lot worse than to visit Wollaton Hall. The City of Nottingham owns the hall and grounds and it is open for all to see. The hall is set in extensive grounds with a lake, golf course and plenty of grassland. There is a children’s play area and in the summer evenings you can watch hot air balloons taking off. At the back of the hall are some formal gardens, which are pleasant to walk around and are a nice place for a picnic. Wandering around the grounds you can encounter deer, which roam freely though they tend to stay clear of people, they have some sense. There are some rare cattle, which again stay away from people. The bird life found in the wooded area is worth a visit by any bird watchers around. The places to visit within the grounds include the hall, the art gallery and the industrial museum. The industrial museum is located in the stable block and is well worth visiting, you can see a working steam pump it runs on certain days and it is well worth going to see it in action. There are the old lace looms from some of Nottingham’s famous lace making factories. A favourite with the children is the vintage cycles, cars and carriages. The art gallery usually has an exhibition, you never can tell whether they are worth looking at until you have had a look around! Standing on the high point in the grounds is the hall is the most obvious feature in the grounds. It can be seen from miles away as approaching Nottingham. The hall was built in 1588 for Sir Francis Willoughby. In the centuries it has been around many people lived in it and like most old buildings it even has a Ghost. In 1925 it was bought by the city. Now nobody lives in the hall it is instead full of stuffed animals, as it is now a natural history museum. During school holidays you will find lots of local families vis iting the hall. There are many stuffed animals to see from Tall Giraffes to tiny birds. You can watch bees at work in their see through hive and ants marching around in their home. The museum is worth dipping into, it is not just stuffed animals it covers all areas of natural history. There is plenty of parking available in the grounds in a pay and display car park. If you are visiting the hall and museums at the weekends and bank holidays there is a small charge, I believe it is about £2 for adults and £1 for children. If you visit them on weekdays then there is no charge! This is a place that locals visit regularly as it is a large well-maintained park.

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                02.10.2001 20:03
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                In 1925 the Nottingham City Council bought Wollaton Hall and its grounds and since that time it has become one of the most popular attractions in the county. Wollaton Hall was completed in 1588 after taking eight years to be built, under the instructions of Robert Smythson. The hall cost £8,000 to build, which is equivalent to around £15million today. The building is a wonderful example of Elizabethan Stone and is built in an almost totally symmetrical design. Today the hall is used as the home of the city’s natural history museum and it is a spectacular setting for the collection of stuffed animals and exhibits from all around the world. However, not all of the animals are dead and always very popular exhibits are the ant’s nest and the bee colony. The bees have an entrance/exit in the outside wall of the hall wall, whereas the ant colony is completely enclosed in a glass dome. As you look at either of these collections of animals you begin to wonder who is watching who! The hall is set in 500 acres of grounds and there is a mixture of mature parkland and formal gardens. Wollaton Hall is famous for its herd of red and fallow deer that wander freely throughout the grounds. It is not unusual to see the deer grazing just a few yards from you as you walk through the park. This is not the only wildlife that you will see. Rabbits and squirrels are abundant in the park and in the quieter areas you may be able to tempt the squirrels to take food from you. The park has a lake and you can walk all the way around the lake although it does get a little bit muddy in places after wet weather. There are ducks, geese and swans on the lake and I believe that on some occasions they do allow fishing at the lake. All around the grounds and lake there are benches and picnic tables where you can stop for something to eat or just to enjoy the view. During the Second World War the park was used as a prisoner of war camp and the hall was used as a school. Today it is visited by over a million visitors each year, the majority of which are from the city of Nottingham. As you wander around the park it is difficult to realise that you are just a couple of miles from the city centre. It is a real haven in a busy city. Close to the hall is the 18th century stable block. This is the home of the city’s industrial museum and until a few years ago was also the home of the county’s police horses. These buildings now include a visitor centre and a small shop. The industrial museum contains a fine collection of lace making machinery, which of course Nottingham is famous for. There are also displays of clocks, trains, cars, motorbikes and cycles. Nottingham is also famous for Raleigh bicycles. There is a separate building housing the Basford Beam Engine which once a month is “steamed up” and is very impressive to see running. This is looked after by the volunteers of the Nottingham Arkwright Society, so unfortunately on some days this building is not open, although most weekends you can see the Beam Engine. You can find the dates of the steamings by ringing 0115 915 3900 or by looking on the web site: http:www.steamvalve.go.to A recent addition to Wollaton is the Green Trail. This is a discovery trail aimed primarily at the younger visitors so that they will find their way around the hall and park and to encourage them to find out more about Wollaton and it’s history. Set in the beautiful gardens is the Camellia House. This is a summerhouse that looks like a large conservatory. It was built in 1823 and is the earliest known iron fronted building in the world. Unfortunately today it looks a bit neglected and I believe it would make a wonderful setting for a tea room overlooking the formal gardens. Hopefully this is already being planned by somebody at the City Council. The grounds are huge around the hall and during the summer events are h eld on some of the large fields within the park. On weekdays admission to the museums and the park is free, although there is a pay and display charge for the car park. At weekends admission to the museums is £2 for adults and £1 for children. (Admission to the park is still free.) The museums are open every day during the summer from 11.00am to 5.00pm and during the winter 11.00am to 4.00pm. (except Fridays) Of course on weekdays there is a good chance that will see a number of school parties, but the place is so large that these can be avoided. At weekends the whole place can become busy, but there is always a great atmosphere in the park. It is easy to spend a whole day at the park and there are attractions for people of all ages and all interests. Although we have been there many times I am sure that there are still some parts of the park that we have still not seen. To find out more about Wollaton you can look on the website: http://innotts.co.uk/~asperges/woll.html For a very cheap thoroughly enjoyable day out I can certainly recommend Wollaton Hall to any family. It is one of Nottingham’s real treasures.

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