Doddington Hall with Dennis and Sandra

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It’s another of our cultural days out with mates, Dennis & Sandra. We’ve built up quite a list over the years…

International Bomber Command (September 2023)
Southwell (March 2023)
Chatsworth House (November 2022)
Belvoir Castle (August 2022)
Kedlestone Hall (May 2021)
Hardwick Hall (August 2020)
Castle Howard (December 2019)
The Royal Armouries Museum (March 2019)
Bolsover Castle (October 2018)
Belton House (May 2018)
York (February 2018)
Burghley House (October 2017)
Hull (May 2017)
Leeds (February 2017)

Today, is our fifteenth trip and we’re off to Doddington Hall. The Hall is a Grade I listed building, family owned and was built between 1593 and 1600 by Robert Smythson for Thomas Tailor (who was a Lawyer and the Recorder to the Bishop of Lincoln).

We set off just before midday, heading north on the A1. It was around a ninety-minute journey and the weather was horrid (wet!). Arriving just after 1.15, we met up without friends and headed for our pre-booked 1.30 tour of the House. We do seem to pick the worst days for these get-togethers! On arrival It was (still) chucking it down, very windy and very cold too!

We’d chosen Doddington Hall to look at how they’d decorated the House for Christmas. It wasn’t going to be on the scale of say, Chatsworth, (that we visited last year) but we were looking forward to it, all the same.

After getting our tickets checked, we took the short walk to the main entrance where we were given a brief introduction to the theme behind the decorations. For 2023, everything was based around ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’. Nice!

The House

What they lacked in budget, they more than made up for in imagination. A few of the rooms’ connection with the famous Christmas Carol were somewhat obscure, but it didn’t spoil our enjoyment.

The decorations were spread across two floors, and it didn’t take us long to get around. There were plenty of volunteers on hand to answer questions, and the small scale of it all made it feel very ‘homely’. A lot of hard work had gone into every room – and it showed!

The Gardens

We spent all of 25 seconds in the garden area. It was hardly the right time of year to enjoy the flowers and plants – and the continuing wet weather helped speed up our exit! 😁. We’d booked their Afternoon Tea for 2.30 but we were early, and our attempts to blag an early entry failed miserably! ☹️.

Briefly back out into the cold and wet, we headed for their nearby Farm Shop. It wasn’t much to look at from the outside, but once inside!!! Wow! A fresh meat counter, shelves packed every conceivable variation on Christmas Chutney, over 40 varieties of curry sauces, a fine selection of bread, an impressive selection of wines, beers, ciders, oh!, and a bottle of Port for Β£195!!! Kitchen utensils, crockery, it seemed to have the lot! We could have easily spent a fortune in there – it was only the length of the checkout queue that put us off!

Afternoon Tea

Generous portions and good value had certainly attracted a full house and we could see why! Their Christmas Afternoon Tea was superb. With ‘Sweet’ or ‘Savoury’ variants as well as the more usual veggie, vegan and gluten-free choices, and at only Β£25 per head (with the option to upgrade to Β£30 to include something alcoholic) it was a great experience.

Doddington Hall is definitely worth a visit as the perfect antidote to some of the larger-scale ‘Christmas Houses’ at this time of year.

We said our goodbyes just after 4. The journey home was horrendous due to a combination of the torrential rain and it being dark. I’d quite forgotten how challenging it is to drive when there’s no street lighting!!! 😲😲. I must get out more! We eventually got home just after 6pm. πŸ˜–πŸ˜–

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