Newest Review: ... and so was being carried anyway!) The room stewards in the hall were knowledgeable and helpful and pointed out things to try to keep our ... more
Sudbury Hall: A good day out for families
Sudbury Hall (Sudbury, Derbyshire)
Member Name: Clayeree
Sudbury Hall (Sudbury, Derbyshire)
Advantages: Good facilities for families
I visited Sudbury hall in August 2009 with my husband, my stepdaughter aged 6 and my son aged 10 months, so this review is from the perspective of a young family. We had rented a holiday cottage a few miles away and needed something to do on a rainy summer's day so decided to give Sudbury Hall a go. What attracted us to it was the National Trust Museum of Childhood however we also visited the hall.
The car park for the hall is on the opposite side of the road a short walk away so you if you have young children you really need to take a pushchair with you. However, only National Trust pushchairs are allowed inside the hall which is fair enough as it's easy to understand that they don't want their floors damaged. However, there was no storage space for our pushchair and we ended up having to cram it in with several others just inside the doorway.
There are some stairs in the hall so we had to carry the pushchair up and down them (although by this time our ten month old was getting grumpy and so was being carried anyway!)
The room stewards in the hall were knowledgeable and helpful and pointed out things to try to keep our six year old interested. However I felt that our experience would have been improved had there been some information panels or even just labels on particular objects to explain their significance as not everyone wants to fork out for a guide book.
Parts of the hall were used in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as the interior of Mr Darcy's house so when walking around you can imagine that you are walking in the footsteps of Colin Firth. The hall itself is interesting and worth a visit although as you might expect it doesn't have much to keep small children occupied and so we didn't spend as much time here as we would have liked.
The Museum of Childhood is located just around the corner of the hall and has a separate entrance charge. The museum is good for grown ups and children alike as the grown ups can reminisce about the childhood toys they may have played with whilst the children can take part in fun activities such as crawling through a tunnel which gives an idea of what it was like for children to work up a chimney in Victorian times (I have no idea whether this is a realistic representation as our six year old refused to try it and I didn't want to get myself stuck halfway through!)
There is a tea room on the site which serves the usual teas, coffees, sandwiches and cakes. It also has children's meals and a microwave and bottle warmer - invaluable for those with little ones.
There are toilet and baby changing facilities near the tea rooms and also within the museum. Unfortunately the baby changing room in the museum is located on a separate floor to the other toilets and is near a popular play area so I had to wait for the room to become free whilst parents with older children used it as they didn't want to have to walk down a flight of stairs.
There are gardens at the back of the house but there was not much to see here except for a nice lake although currently James May's plasticine garden which was originally unveiled at the Chelsea Flower Show is on display here. There is also a children's adventure play area just inside the gardens which occupied my stepdaughter for half an hour or so.
For souvenirs there are two shops; one selling the usual National Trust bits and pieces and another linked to the museum which sells toys and games as well as delicious handmade fudge which I can highly recommend.
The entrance charges if you want to visit both the hall and the museum are fairly steep. For 2009 gift aid admission charges are:
HALL & MUSEUM
We joined the National Trust while were there as for £82 for a family it seemed much better value.
There is plenty to see here, especially in the museum and you could easily spend several hours just in there. If you only have time to visit either the hall or the museum I would definitely recommend the museum over the hall.
Summary: A good place to spend some time on a rainy day
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