Stuff I Like

Bradgate Park

My son and I came for a walk to Bradgate Park last Friday for 3 miles of good exercise. It was a really lovely sunny day and the park always makes me feel refreshed and happy when I go.

I am fortunate enough to live just 4 miles away, and I consider to be one of the most beautiful parks in the country. Bradgate Park, situated in the town of Newtown Linford, Leicestershire, has a very long history. It covers 850 acres and has the River Lin running through it which flows into the Cropston reservoir. The park was first mentioned in 1241,  and was used as a hunting ground, but considerably smaller than it is today. It had 3 owners until 1445, when the Grey family acquired the estate after the previous owners daughter married Edward Grey.

Bradgate House and Stables

The park remained within the family for the next 500 years, when it was bought by a local business man called Charles Bennion, who gave it to the public, ‘to be preserved in it’s natural state for the quiet enjoyment of the people of Leicestershire’. I have included some of my own photographs that I had taken on Friday, and ones from the Internet with links included.

Old John

You can just see Old John in the distance. There is also a war memorial to the left of the clump of trees.

The most recognised landmark is the folly known as ‘Old John’ on the top of the highest hill in Bradgate park. Built by the Grey family in 1784, the folly is a memorial to John, an estate worker who was killed in a bonfire accident during the 21st birthday celebrations of the future ‘Earl of Stamford. It has been said that the stonework built at the side of the tower was made to look like a jug handle, as a reminder of John’s liking of ale. Later on, in the 18th century, it was used as a vantage point to watch horse racing around the grounds.

Bradgate house ruins from the back
The Bradgate house chapel

There are also many deer that roam free around the park, and some of them can be quite tame. I had a cheese sandwich stolen over my shoulder once when I was having a picnic with my boys. A male deer’s large head looming over your shoulder can be quite scary. They are beautiful though, and to watch them run in groups over the park is lovely.

Another interesting fact is that some of the trees are at least 600 years old, and you can tell. Many of them are gnarly, oddly shaped and full of holes; the sort you could walk into and disappear into a fairy tale world. They are very interesting to look at, and children seem to love running in and out of them and climbing many of the rocks.

In your history lessons you may have heard of the story of Lady Jane Grey, the girl who was queen for 9 days. Well, she was part of the Grey family of Bradgate, and the ruins were her childhood home. And then, at the age of only 16, the poor woman had to have her head chopped off!

Lady Grey Cafe

There is the chapel within the ruined grounds of Bradgate house, which contains a fine alabaster tomb and various effigies, with ornate windows etc. It really is worth having a look around if you ever visit the park. It is worth checking for the opening times though for the house before you visit, because it is only open about twice a week.

Tomb in the Chapel
Bradgate Arms Pub








I have included a map of the whole area so that you can see how extensive the grounds are, which are very well kept. The main entrance is in the village of Newtown Linford, which is a lovely street containing cafes and quaint houses. There is also a pub called the Bradgate Arms further along the road which serves lovely food and is great to sit outside on a hot summers evening.

Hot chocolate with cream from the cafe within the grounds. It looks a bit explosive, but my son assured me that it tasted great


I am a mother of two children, and have had many experiences in my life that I have been through and had to overcome. I feel it would be beneficial (at least to me, and perhaps you) to share my experiences. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions. x


    • Pip

      Thanks Allen. I’d love to visit America though. I was reading up on the restaurants you mentioned, like ‘The Olive Garden’, the meals look gorgeous. And one of my favourite comedies is ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and I wanted to check if ‘The Cheesecake Factory’ was real, and it is!!! I can’t believe the amount of food you can order! Also, one of my favourite authors is ‘Bill Bryson’ and I loved his book ‘A walk in the Woods’, I would love to visit that part of the States.

      • Allen Thomas St. Clair

        I live very close to an Olive Garden and fairly close to a The Cheesecake Factory, so if you ever visit my area of the U.S., I would be happy to take you to both! LOL Also, I love Bill Bryson, too! the Appalachian Trail is an absolutely amazing destination!

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