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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Speed

Brodsworth Hall and Gardens

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Stunning Victorian gardens and a fine example of Victorian life and architecture await visitors to Brodsworth Hall, and an exhibition takes an honest look at the site’s connection to the slave trade.


Don't need accessibility info? Jump to The Visit to find out what it's like to visit Brodsworth Hall and Gardens and read about some of its histories.

Location


Brodsworth Hall and Gardens

Brodsworth,

Doncaster,

South Yorkshire

(signposted from Brodsworth with brown signs)





Access

Parking is available on-site, with a designated section reserved for blue-badge holders, but there are no marked bays so parking distance is at the discretion of each driver. However, call ahead of special event days to check parking options and restrictions.

The Grounds are incredibly accessible. I must praise English Heritage here. A buggy is on-site to drive guests to the hall from the entrance (do ask in the shop if you need to use this). The grounds have level access wherever possible, with ramps into buildings and very user-friendly footpaths. Even lower levels of the gardens have alternative access via footpaths for those who can’t descend the steps. Mobility scooters are permitted on-site. Paths are mostly tarmac, but there are gravel paths within the gardens. There are many benches on-site, especially near the house looking out onto the gardens.



The House has a lift for those who need it to gain access to the first floor, however, servants’ bedrooms are accessed via steps. There is also a wheelchair available to borrow. For those using stairs in the Servants’ Wing, be aware that the steps are quite worn.

The Gift Shop is spacious and navigable. The staff are friendly and helpful.

Facilities are available on site with accessible toilets for disabled guests. A Tearoom is accessible via ramped access or steps.

The nearest Changing Places toilet is located 8.8 miles away in the Doncaster Tesco Extra store.


The Visit


Although the house was closed for winter when we visited in early January, we were still able to enjoy the gardens (no less beautiful at this time of year) and the ground floor of the servants’ hall, which includes a Victorian kitchen that allows visitors to feel they’ve stepped back through time. The servant bell system was a powerful reminder of the demanding way of life on display here, and the extreme division of wealth between social classes.



Particularly interesting were the sculptures, information boards, and audio installations that form part of the current exhibition, Liberty and Lottery, which acknowledges the wealth accumulated by one of the previous owners of the estate through the slave trade, and explores this aspect of the site’s history.




Due to the time of year, the majority of our visit was spent in the delightful gardens. (Though I appreciate that houses are often closed over winter for conservation work, I’ll never understand why the owners/caretakers choose to do this at the time of year when visitors are most likely to want to be indoors, rather than during the warmer months when people might be happier to spend their time outside.)


The gardens are worth a visit in their own right and still convey a sense of time travel through their restored design, and a wealth of history is provided on the information boards dotted around.



Top Tips


  • Visit in peak season if you want to see inside the house


  • Call Brodsworth Hall and Gardens ahead of your visit to check parking and access options if you plan to attend a special event


  • Don't hesitate to ask a member of staff if you require the loan of a wheelchair or a lift in the golf buggy (you could call ahead of your visit if you want to be certain they'll be available)


  • Consider having someone with you if you need assistance with doors or on gravel paths


  • This is not a free site. Brodsworth Hall and Gardens is under the care of English Heritage



For More on the History




For More on the Site





For More on the Exhibition


Check out this from the designers of the exhibition: https://www.bivouac.co.uk/liberty-and-lottery/


Final Note


We actually chose to visit here as a way to break up our journey home from another site, but I would have liked to have seen inside the house (which is said to be a spectacular example of a grand Victorian house), and the rest of the exhibition, so we will visit again later in the year.

Happy travels!

*Disclaimer: This blog is written as a travel blog with a disability focus and history theme. It is intended to entertain and inform but is in no way a comprehensive guide and I do not attempt to provide a full accessibility guide for any site. Readers planning to visit any sites should check site websites or contact sites directly for up-to-date information on opening times, facilities, accessibility and other required information.




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2 Comments


k.heads
Jan 23, 2022

What a beautiful place Melissa

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Melissa Speed
Melissa Speed
Jan 23, 2022
Replying to

It is beautiful indeed, Kevin. It was recommended to us by the lovely staff member at Middleham Castle, and I’m so glad we took her suggestion.

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