8th Apr 2012
Hatfield House, St Albans
Right update time! On the Sunday of Easter, Emma, Caro, Chris and I headed out for another roadtrip (I thought we may have been uninvited after Fridays but no!! ;-) This time we were off to see Hatfield House which is a country house set in a large park (aka the Great Park) on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield which is Hertfordshire way. The house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, who was the First Earl of Salisbury as well as the Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since.
According to Wikipedia (I have a poor memory) the palace was the childhood home and favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. Built in 1497 by the Bishop of Ely, Henry VII's minister John Cardinal Morton, it comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard. The palace was seized by Henry VIII with other church properties.
Not sure if that was interesting by tough!!! We took our time wandering through the house, looking at items from the Queens time while Chris wizzed through and waited very patiently outside for us! ha!
The gardens of Hatfield House were really impressive. They covered about 40 acres and included orchards, fountains, scented plants, water features, terraces, herb gardens, a foot maze as well as a statue walk. During World War I, the grounds were used to test the first British tanks. Apparently the area was dug with trenches and craters and covered with barbed-wire to represent no-man's land and German trench lines on the Western Front.
After exploring Hatfield house we headed to St Albans where we went went for lunch (very late lunch) at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks which is one of several that lay claim to being the oldest in England. Given it was a sunday we thought it rude not to have a roast for lunch (it was literally a whole chicken!!!). Really cute pub with really low ceilings and lots of little alcoves. Next up we walked back up the hill (difficult after eating 1/2 a chicken) and wandered through St Albans Church which was really nice.
Then it was london bound... another nice day out!!
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