Discovering Wollaton Hall And Deer Park – A Visitor’s Guide

a family in front of Wollaton Hall, Nottingham

Wollaton Hall and its impressive parklands have been delighting our family for decades. And every guest we’ve ever taken there too! Wollaton Park is one of those places where people say ‘How come I’ve never heard of this place?’ and ‘Why isn’t this National Trust?’.

But in actual fact, Wollaton Hall and Deer Park is just a humble project of the City Council, well-loved and appreciated by all Nottingham residents. And it’s free!!

So if you’ve never visited our beloved Wollaton Hall and Deer Park before, then you’re in for a treat because this place is one of Nottingham’s gems. So pack your picnic and get ready for a really great day out at Wollaton.

Visiting Wollaton Hall and Deer Park

There are so many things to do at Wollaton Park Nottingham, we are going to endeavor to break it down for you into bitesize information to help you make the most of your visit. You could easily spend a whole day at Wollaton Park enjoying the grounds and the hall, it’s quite extensive.

Useful Information about Wollaton Park, Nottingham

Entrance is free.

Wollaton Park parking is £5 for the whole day and there are plenty of spaces both at the bottom of the park near the entrance and further up towards the Hall. Do not park outside of the grounds – it’s residents parking only and you will be fined. You can pay either via the Ringo app or with cash or card inside Wollaton Hall, or the in the shops and cafes.

Public Transport to Wollaton Park is available from the city centre. You will need to take the number 30 bus from Upper Parliament Street if you want to approach Wollaton Park by the main entrance. Alternatively, you can catch the number 35 or 36 from Angel Row which drops you at the back entrance to Wollaton Park along Derby Road (A52).

Wollaton Park Opening Hours are the same all year round. The park is open from 9am – 5pm and Wollaton Hall is open from 11am – 4pm.

There are public toilets at three locations; in Wollaton Hall, the courtyard and behind the 508 cafe near the entrance. There are also changing facilities.

Dogs are allowed at Wollaton Park although the council request that you keep them on a lead. There are deer roaming free across the park. Dogs are not allowed in the Hall.

You cannot have fires or BBQs in Wollaton Park and you are not allowed to swim in the lake.

Wollaton Hall and Museum’s

Did you know that Wollaton Hall was used as Wayne Manor in the 2012 film Batman – The Dark Knight Rises? This historic Grade I Elizabethan manor was the perfect ‘fantasy-Gothic’ backdrop for a night-time garden party and the hall was dressed for certain inside scenes too. You’re definitely going to appreciate the directors’ vision as you approach this old 16th century hall. Built by the same architect as Hardwick Hall and Longleat this architectural gem has plenty of striking features. Turrets, grand halls, and intricately designed facades stolen from French and Dutch architecture make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fairy tale. It’s a truly beautiful building.

It was built as a home for local man Sir Francis Willoughby in 1588 and remained a place of residence for this same family until the late 1800’s. The Willoughby’s sold their stately home to Nottingham Council in 1925 considering it “too near the smoke and busy activity of a large manufacturing town”. The Council quickly set to, turning it into a tourist attraction that has captivated and charmed children for decades.

Wollaton Hall Natural History Museum

There were a fair few Willoughby ‘explorers’ over the centuries, including Sir Hugh Willoughby who died on an Arctic expedition, so it seems very fitting that Wollaton Hall should become a Natural History Museum. Artifacts from all over the world make this a treasure trove of wonderful things from the realms of paleontology, anthropology, geology and beyond. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a science buff or just secretly trying to connect with your inner explorer, Wollaton Parks Natural History Museum promises to leave a lasting impression.

Some things not to miss at the Wollaton Museum are:

  • The Allosaurus Skull – the carnivorous dinosaur.
  • The Dodo skeleton – extinction brought back to life.
  • Fossilized Ammonites from prehistoric oceans.
  • The Egyptian mummies and their intricately designed sarcophagi.
  • Wollatons Diorama’s – scenes from the African Savanna that transport you across continents.
  • And last but not least, George The Gorilla, a favourite with all Nottingham children. You’ll see what I mean when you find him!

Wollaton Hall Tours

You don’t have to pay to get into Wollaton Hall itself but there are daily tours that you can avail yourselves of, and we think they’re well worth it. For those interested in Wollaton Park history and the Hall’s architecture, this behind-the-scenes tour takes you to areas of the hall that are not typically open to the public. You get to explore hidden passageways, secret chambers and insights into the lives of the Willoughby family of Wollaton Hall. You’ll hear about the historical events that unfolded within these walls and will be transported back in time to the splendour of the Tudor era. You may have heard before that Nottingham is the city of caves and Wollaton Hall is not excluded from this Geological trait, a feature you will also get to explore on the Wollaton Hall tour.

Dates: Daily

Times: 11 am & 2 pm – tour takes 1 hour.

Meet: In the Hall promptly for the tour.

Prices: Adults: £12 | Kids go free

The Nottingham Industrial Museum

Housed in a historic 17th-century stable block, the Nottingham Industrial Museum is often overlooked by visitors to Wollaton Park. However, this unique museum portrays a captivating journey through the region’s industrial heritage with a proud display of lace-making machinery, vintage vehicles, and a steam engine collection.

The intricate textile machinery sheds light on Nottingham’s role in the lace and textile industry during the 19th century. Technological advancements powered the region’s industrial growth and each exhibit tells a unique story of innovation and the industry that is woven into Nottinghams history. Exhibits and displays pay tribute to the real workers who toiled in factories, mines and workshops and remind you of the challenges and triumphs of the people who powered the revolution.

The museum also boasts a remarkable collection of vintage vehicles, including steam engines, trams, and trolleybuses – a little boys dream, especially with the interactive activities and live demonstrations.

The Nottingham Industrial Museum at Wollaton Park holds different opening times…

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday – Closed

Thursday 10am – 3pm

Saturday & Sunday – 11am – 4pm

Wollaton Hall Gardens and Deer Park

The iconic silhouette of Wollaton Hall is certainly one of the main features of Wollaton’s parkland but the beauty does not stop there. Wollaton Hall Gardens and Deer Park are a 500-acre expanse that offers visitors a unique blend of serene gardens, wildlife encounters, and natural beauty on the grandest scale.

The Rose Gardens and Camellia House

To the right of Wollaton Hall is a fabulously manicured rose garden perfect for a picnic. No matter the season you will be able to stroll through perfectly landscaped flowerbeds and intricate topiaries whilst the kids run off to play amongst the grand ancient trees behind the hall. Or if the weather is a little cooler there is nothing more pleasant than a seat in the Camellia House – one of the earliest cast iron glasshouses in the country.

There are some strategically placed benches along the edge of the Rose Gardens with perfect views down to the Lake, you could sit there for hours.

Wollaton Park’s Secret Walled Garden

Another guided tour you might want to take is a visit to Wollaton’s secret garden. There’s a tour every Thursday at 10.30am, meeting at the flag pole at the 508 cafe. Join a guide for a peruse of the restored cucumber house and the flowers and vegetables growing in the cleared garden. A £5 donation is apprectiated.

Wollaton Deer Park

One of Wollaton Park’s enchanting features is its resident deer herd. The park is home to hundreds of fallow deer and observing these graceful creatures in their natural habitat is a truly mesmerizing experience. If you’re lucky you might spot them grazing peacefully or leaping playfully through the meadows. Especially during the rutting season in the autumn when the stags can engage in thrilling displays of dominance.

Wollaton Deer Park’s history actually dates back to the reign of King Henry VIII in the 16th century when the park was established as a private hunting ground for the local gentry. Today they appear to rule Wollaton majestically. You can approach them if you would like, but don’t get too close and respect their habitat.

Some of the giant Oak trees, particularly at the backside of the park near Derby Road, have stood for centuries. And, in the spring the ancient woodland, on the western edge of the park, is carpeted with bluebells and wildflowers. You will often encounter professional photographers trying to capture these scenes, along with sightings of Kingfishers and Woodpeckers in the Wollaton’s grasslands and wetlands. There are some amazing photographs of Wollaton Hall and Park Gardens displayed around the cafes and gift shops.

At one end of Wollaton Park is the great lake, with impressive views up towards the hall. The paths around the lake and beyond provide miles of cycle paths and walking routes.

Playgrounds At Wollaton Park

Whilst the whole park could legitimately be described as a playground, with its network of trails and occasional hidden Geochaches, there is also a playground for younger visitors to Wollaton. It has been sympathetically designed to fit into the surrounding woodland and is a spacious area of jungle gyms, slides and swings. It’s a really good play park.

There are nearby picnic benches and a coffee shop for the adults too.

Wollaton Hall and Park offer an unforgettable experience that seamlessly blends history, nature and Batman in one epic day out. It’s one of Nottingham’s gems, for sure, whether you’re interested in exploring the halls of the grand mansion, packing a picnic to enjoy in the park’s natural beauty or observing the resident deer. Wollaton Park has something for everyone and we hope that you will visit soon!

READ MORE: Nottingham’s Best Parks – Which Ones Are Worth Your Picnic?

And if you’re visiting Wollaton Park as part of a mini-break to Nottingham, we have some other posts that you might be interested in…

Our Top Three Nottingham Hotels

Take Our Free Self-Guided Walking Tour Of Nottingham

Visit The Nearby Town of Southwell in Nottinghamshire

Learn About Our Favourite Places To Eat In Nottingham

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