Family Days Out: Kirby Hall

Step back in time and explore the history of one of the most magnificent houses built in the reign of Elizabeth I – Kirby Hall.

Sir Humphrey Stafford started to build Kirby Hall in 1570 but he died five years later before it was completed.

It was then finished by Sir Christopher Hatton, Lord Chancellor and a favourite courtier of the queen.

With such regal connections, I knew we’d be in for a great visit when I took my two eldest children.

We arrived mid-morning and were welcomed with glorious sunshine – always an added bonus!

The kids were really excited as we headed up to the ticket office.

On the way Kai found a peacock’s feather – which in turn led us to find at least eight peacocks (including two chicks) grazing in one of the fields, which the kids were amazed at seeing.

They’ve never seen so many peacocks together at once, so it was a great start to the day.

At the ticket office you can buy a tour guide as well as take advantage of a free audio guide to help you navigate your way through the Hall and grounds.

Kai and Ella were eager to start their tour straight away and seemed to take in lots of information as we walked around.

It took a little bit of explaining to them as to why some of the building didn’t have any floors or roof, but they seemed genuinely fascinated at all the different areas (especially the nooks and crannies which Kai was eager to navigate).

In particular Kai was intrigued by the old fireplaces with their impressive chimney stacks – “How did they manage to get someone up there to sweep them, mum?”

The audio tour was simple and straightforward to use – you just need to enter the relevant number in the handset when prompted.

Plus you get a map of the tour route, so if you do go off track, it’s easy enough to re-find your way.

The tour itself takes about an hour but of course you can relax and re-visit certain areas of the Hall and grounds to stretch out your stay.

On your way out you’ll need to pass back through the ticket office.

Here you’ll find a selection of gifts and treats for adults and children alike.

Ella chose a pen and Kai opted for a wooden hunting dagger to take home.

There is also a small selection of refreshments available here too.

All in all it was an enjoyable day and definitely a destination I’d recommend, especially if you’re interested in history.

Finding your way there

Kirby Hall can be found off Kirby Lane in Corby, NN17 3EN (on the back road behind Rockingham Speedway).

Prices and opening times

Adults £6, children (5-15 years) £3.60, concessions £5.40, family (two adults, up to three children) £15.60, English Heritage members free.

Kirby Hall is closed Mondays and Tuesdays but open from 10am to 6pm for the rest of the week until September 30; and then Wednesdays to Sundays 10am to 5pm until November 2.

After then it will only be open weekends until March 2015.

Visit the English Heritage website or call 01536 203230 for more information.

Parking

There’s free parking here. Once you’ve parked it’s a short walk to the main entrance/ticket office.