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On the fringes of London in the middle of a vast sprawling estate sits one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in England. With a rich and illustrious history spanning more than 400 years and home to the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, Hatfield House is no shrinking violet. The house boasts an incredibly ornate interior full of the most elaborate and fanciful detailing.
Given its fabulous decorative interior its easy to see why Hatfield was featured as the home of Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman and in films such as Shakespeare in Love, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Vanity Fair, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows and the King's Speech.
The 42 acres of garden at Hatfield are maintained by Lady Salisbury and her team of gardeners.
The East garden on the private side of the house features a maze and formal box beds and is open to the public once a week. The West Garden is divided into four stunning sections comprising of a Fountain Garden originally laid out by John Tradescant, the new Sundial Garden, the Knot Garden which was designed by Lady Salisbury adjoins the Old Tudor Palace where Elizabeth I spent most of her childhood and also a splendidly cool Woodland Walk dotted with oak leaf Hydrangeas.
On the edges of the Pleached Lime Walk lie two carved stone friezes of Elizabeth with her entourage of courtiers brought to Hatfield from the Royal Exchange.
Following last year's Henry Moore exhibition at Hatfield House, French artist Xavier Veilhan has introduced his work here this summer and was the primary reason for our visit this weekend.
Veilhan's simple abstract forms sit quietly within the cool woodland environment in stark contrast to the Jacobean splendour of the house and gardens.
We may have lost ourselves for a whole afternoon in the gardens of Hatfield House but I will return to devote another day to the interior of the house, to follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth I, Johnny Depp and er, Batman!