Reviewed by Marianne Rowley
I visited Brodsworth Hall with my 6 year old and 2 year old twins. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I went on my own and felt very brave.
Brodsworth Hall is very easy to find and it has a large car park with some disabled spaces nearer to the entrance. As you arrive, you go through the little shop to buy your entrance tickets. You are offered one of their books which tells you all about the hall and its garden (£3.99). They were hosting “the merry month of May: Victorian Games” and provided us a leaflet with all the timings.
We made our way to the garden. The front garden is very spacious and they had installed the Victorian games there. Some of the volunteers were dressed up in their Victorian outfits. We made our way to watch the Punch and Judy show. The kids loved it so much we had to go back and see all of the shows. My boys also had a go on the swings. Other people were having a go at the games.
As it was nearly lunch time, we made our way to the tearoom. They offer a few hot choices and a lovely selection of sandwiches, cakes, cold and hot drinks. I decided on the soup and bread whilst the children wanted the kid’s lunchbox which came with a small gift (ruler/pencil). You can bring your own picnic and they have lots of tables.
At 1.00pm there is a guided visit of the garden, my eldest was quite happy to go as long as we were back on time to watch the next Punch and Judy show! The tour lasts approximately 55 minutes. The lady was kind enough to do the gardens around the hall first so we could go back to the front of the hall. She brought us to the back of the garden where there is an amazing garden with very beautiful flowers. My eldest loved the blue ones best! She explained that the hall’s shutters are nearly always shut as the windows are too big and damage the fine tapestries and carpets! She also had pictures of how the hall and gardens looked back in the day. It was all very interesting and the kids loved running around the gardens. They had also set up some games in the back gardens on the lawns.
Once we watched the show a second time, we went into the hall which doesn’t open until 1pm (guided visits are available at 11am and 12 noon). Prams and backpack carriers are not allowed in the hall. As you can imagine with 3 children, the visit was quite a speedy one. There is a cordoned off pass for you to follow as you are not allowed to touch anything. I was a bit worried about my 2 youngest but the rope is at their height so they had more fun with that. The staff was friendly and happy to make sure that the children didn’t touch anything they shouldn’t. There is a lot to see and quite a bit of information to read (I wish I had the time to). I have found that nearly every room had the book about the hall in a folder for your perusal which I thought was a very good idea. During your visit, you go around the family area as well as the domestic area. My favourite area being the kitchens.
We made our way to the play area and had a play for 20 minutes. The playground is lovely with a bit of everything for all ages.
On our way out, we stumbled across the Victorian music and stories time. We happily watched him for 15 minutes as he showed us various instruments as well as dancing George (well I think that is what he was called).
A quick visit to the toilets which are purposefully built and hidden (but signposted) near the hall. They offer separate baby changing area and disabled toilet. It was all very modern and clean.
I have to admit, weather wise it wasn’t a very nice day, it was quite windy and overcast. Luckily, we didn’t have an enormous amount of rain. It was such a shame as you could tell that they had made such an effort to make this weekend special. If the weather had been kinder, we would have had a better time. However, we still have a very enjoyable experience. I would definitely recommend going when they have an event on as it makes it even more special. I really hope to go back on a sunny day and go and explore the rest of the gardens!
Tickets (with Gift Aid): Adult £10 (£11), Child £6 (£6.60), Family £26 (£28.60).
English Heritage membership starts from £41 and gives you unlimited access to castles and gardens, historic houses and abbeys, and kids go free…
For more information visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/brodsworth-hall-and-gardens.
Brodsworth Hall, Brodsworth, Doncaster, West Yorkshire, DN5 7XJ