Hatfield House Guide

Hatfield House Old Palace, Hertfordshire

Hatfield House is a renowned and impressive Jacobean house and Tudor Old Palace and is synonymous with both Victorian and Elizabethan history. The house is located in a stunning scenic setting, visitors to the house can also see the gardens and park that the house is set in. The house has been the family home for the Cecil family for many generations and contains a great deal of history and heritage dating from the 17th century. The Old Palace has a Royal history and had been a childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I.


Hatfield House is located in Hertfordshire approx 20 miles from central London in the renowned English countryside and provides a perfect location for this impressive historic house. The house was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury, after the family home of the Cecils' at Theobalds in Hertfordshire had been exchanged for the Old Palace and manor of Hatfield.

The House was built adjoining the site of the Old Palace of Hatfield. The House was wonderfully decorated for entertaining with the State Rooms containing fine art works, paintings, furniture and tapestries. The are great examples of Jacobean craftsmanship in evidence in the house most notably in the Grand Staircase that displays its fine carving, there is also the rare stained glass window evident in the private chapel. The house displays a number of historic and heritage mementos and artefacts that have been collected over the centuries by generations of the Cecil family.

The Old Palace is considered to be one of the best examples of mediaeval brickwork in the UK and it still retains most of its original roof timbers.

The Old Palace was a childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I, in 1607 King James I exchanged the Palace for Theobalds. Robert Cecil then built a new house and in the process took down three quarters of the original palace. The Old Palace was then used as the stables for Hatfield House, until the building was once again restored by the 4th Marquess. The Old Palace is now a venue that can be hired out for occasions such as parties, marriage ceremonies and wedding receptions etc.

The Garden at the house dates back to the 17th century, new trees, bulbs and fruit trees were planted that had previously never been grown in England. Visitors to the garden can enjoy the experience of wondering through the scented garden and seeing the fountains as well as seeing the well known knot garden next to the Tudor Old Palace where Elizabeth I spent a good deal of her childhood.

The West Garden has a herb and a scented garden and herb garden, the garden suffered from some neglect in the 18th century before it was restored to past glories later on. There are huge numbers of naturalised daffodils during spring time.

The East Garden was originally laid out by the 5th Marquess of Salisbury; it has parterres and a range of rare plants which are likely to appeal to gardening aficionados. The setting is an idyllic one and provides a wonderful sight for visitors to enjoy.

The Park that surrounds the house contains some 1,000 acres of park with woodland trails and some wonderful flowers on display. Located within the park is an oak tree marking the place where the young Princess Elizabeth first heard of her accession to the throne. The park also has a play area for children and lots of open grassy areas for youngsters to enjoy themselves. There are picnic tables provided under the trees allowing visitors to enjoy an enjoyable picnic in very scenic and tranquil surroundings, enjoying the best of the English countryside.

The Sculpture Exhibition is located in the Wilderness Garden and contains selected works to reflect chosen themes. There are abstract pieces alongside other pieces to give visitors a varied experience, the sculptures take on different forms during the day as the light changes.

A trip to the house takes visitors to a fascinating house steeped in history and links to Royalty. The scenic location, marvellous gardens and proximity to London mean it is easy to get to and offers an enjoyable day out for visitors.

How to Get There

The House & Park are accessible by both car and public transport.

By Car:

Hatfield is located just over 20 miles from central London. Hatfield is located 7 miles from junction 23 of the M25 motorway and 2 miles east of the A1(M) at junction 4. From the A1(M) exit at junction 4 and follow the brown signs for Hatfield House along the A414 and A1000. The main entrance is located opposite Hatfield railway station on the A1000.

There is free parking available on site.

For those using Satellite Navigation systems the postcode to use is AL9 5NQ.

By Bus/Coach:

There are various local Hatfield bus routes that serve the area, the route numbers 610 from Enfield to Hatfield and 614 from Queensbury and 615 from Rayners Lane offer bus services from North London to Hatfield, the routes are operated by Uno.

National Express offer coach services from a choice of towns and cities in the UK to Hatfield.

By Train:

The closest train station is Hatfield train station, it is located opposite the main entrance to the Park and is a 5 minute walk to the house. From London King's Cross station there are regular services to Hatfield, the journey time is approx 25 minutes.

Contact Details

The House Office
Hatfield House

Telephone: +44 (0)1707 287010

Fax: +44 (0)1707 287033

Website: Hatfield House

Facilities & Information

Opening Times:

For the House:

From end of second week in April until end of September:

Wed to Sun & Bank Holidays: 12:00 to 17.00 (last admission at 16.00)

Closed on Mon & Tue (excluding bank holidays).

Park, West Garden, Restaurant & Shop:

Wed to Sun & Bank Holidays: 11:00 to 17.30 (last admission at 17.00)

Open daily in July & August

East Garden:

Open on Thursdays only during the Visitor Season from 11.00 to 17.30 (last admission at 17.00)

The house may have times when it is closed or closes early or operates alternative opening hours at short notice. It is recommended visitors check all opening and closing times and specific days visits are open when booking to get the latest information & avoid disappointment, as changes can occur.

Further Information:

Admission Prices:

For House, Park and West Garden:

Adult: £10.50 approx, Children: £5 approx, Concessions: £9.50 approx, Family Ticket: £26 approx


Visitor information

There is a gift shop for souvenirs and a restaurant offering hot and cold drinks and snacks including sandwiches, cakes, salads and cream teas.


View Larger Map

For Local Search and Directions see: Hatfield House Map

Tips & Other Considerations

There may be some variations on the opening hours depending on the time of year and the attraction you wish to see. It is wise to double check before going to ensure the attraction you wish to see is open and avoid disappointment.

Always remain alert, vigilant and aware of your belongings at all times especially your wallet/purse and valuables and ensure they are hidden away from public view. If you have a bag try to use a shoulder bag with a good quality, strong strap, that is put across your shoulder not on your shoulder making it more difficult for anyone to take your bag.

If you are travelling by car to Hatfield ensure you are well prepared with maps and Sat Nav to aid your journey, particularly if you are not familiar with the local area and roads. Check Road & Traffic Updates before travelling.

If you are looking for car parking close to the House, ensure you fully understand the rules, regulations & charges for car parks and street parking. The rules & regulations can be complex & confusing if you are unclear, it is wise not to park there.

If you are travelling by public transport, check for service updates prior to beginning your journey for any delays, disruption or cancellations to services that may impact on your journey. Ensure you have the service timetables for the trains, trams, buses and coaches. Remember when the last services are and ensure you make it to the train/bus/coach stops well in time to avoid missing the service.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Disclaimer: The information given in on this website is given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge. If there are any discrepancies in no way do we intend to mislead. Important travel details and arrangements should be confirmed and verified with the relevant authorities.
Copyright © 2019 Essential Travel Guide Ltd. All Rights Reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form or by any means without our written permission.