Wollaton Hall is a gorgeous Elizabethan mansion set in extensive grounds. In fact I was struck anew on my latest visit by just how lovely a building it is.
Building was completed on the Hall in 1588, nearly bankrupting its owner, Sir Francis Willoughby. The interior has had alterations made many times over the years such as after a fire in 1642 and when Henry Willoughby wanted to make it more modern in the 1790s.
The Great Hall is probably the most impressive room at Wollaton, because as you look up you see this quite magnificent ceiling.
Another room, and probably the one that has the most items of furniture in it, is the Salon. It was made into a Salon, or drawing room, in the 1890s; before that it would have been the Tudor dining room for the family.
The Hall also houses Nottingham’s Natural History Museum, which opened in 1926. It’s not a very large museum by any stretch of the imagination and is famous, perhaps some would say infamous in the local area, for its displays of taxidermy.
Personally I’m not always a huge fan of taxidermy, but there’s no doubt that a lot of skill went into the displays here from the birds in the Bird Room to the animals in the African Wildlife Gallery.
The Hall also contains a small but impressive Minerals Gallery, with displays featuring some of the finest items from the museums collection,
as well as these excellent ammonites.
From here I went outside into the formal gardens, accessed by a gate to the side of the house. I wasn’t able to explore them in too much detail as it was already nearing the time when I needed to leave, but I did pay a quick visit to the Camellia House, believed to be the oldest cast iron glasshouse in Europe.
And I also enjoyed the chance of photographing a section of the exterior you would miss by not visiting the gardens.
The Hall, like the grounds, is free to enter and is surely a must see for locals and visitors alike. There is also an Industrial Museum on site which I have visited previously, but was unable to do so on this visit as it is only open on weekends and Bank Holidays. You can also arrange tours of areas normally off limits to the general public, something I will certainly look into more for my next visit.
You can find considerably more photos of the Hall and the grounds, here.