Located inside one of Nottingham’s prime parks with something for everyone, Wollaton Hall and Deer Park…  If you only manage a couple of hours, I would recommend you make time to relax at the Café in the Courtyard and enjoy a range of extremely tempting refreshments. My eldest son, my daughter and I set out for a stroll around the park on a very mild day, perfect weather for sitting outside the Café in the Courtyard with our refreshments, taking time out in such a lovely sheltered location and through the archway the Potting Shed and Nottingham Industrial Museum.

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The courtyard is a 17th century stable yard part of the Wollaton Hall estate which has in past years stabled the horses of Nottinghamshire constabulary’s mounted division.

I am in fact trying my best to behave myself and to stick to my healthy eating regime, which is easy enough at the Café in the Courtyard with their wide range of options, freshly made sandwiches and specials, soups and vegetarian options, locally sourced produce and free range eggs used. The problem is whether you can resist the delights that are on offer! To indulge or behave! That is the question.

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On my next visit, I, might be very tempted to indulge in something more off diet such as a slice of homemade cake with one of their sumptuous varieties of hot chocolate drinks.

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There’s a delicious variety of teas, coffees, cold drinks and foods available at the Café in the Courtyard the choice is yours and location is fabulous.

We decided to order a pot of earl grey tea for my son, Jonathan, a couple of creamy lattes for my daughter Jemma and myself plus a share sized bag of lemon and chili humus crisps, very flavorsome too I can tell you, just perfect after our wander around the lake, park and gardens. We visited midweek on this occasion but it’s a great spot to visit at any time, especially if you happen to have young ones in tow, you might be ready for a battery recharge after they’ve had fun at the new kids play area.

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Through the archway into the second courtyard and you’ll see the Nottingham Industrial Museum, an absolute Tardis, it is much larger than you realize and filled with Nottinghamshire’s industrial history, exhibits of local industry include lace manufacturing, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, mining, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and more, a fascinating museum that I’ve always enjoyed visiting since I was a little nipper. If you’re able to visit on the last Sunday of the month you will be able to see their collection of steam engines working which is a real treat, my favourite is the Basford beam engine. The museum is located inside the 17th century stable block and is run entirely by volunteers. Winner of the Nottinghamshire Heritage Site of the Year 2012.  More about the Nottingham Industrial Museum very soon in my follow up article.

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Another surprise you’ll find hiding away in this quaint courtyard is the Potting Shed, a real gem of a shop not only for gardeners but for those looking for a unique gift. I’ve spotted some lovely gifts here which I’ll be back to purchase very soon. There’s a wide variety of seeds, bedding plants and decorative garden items too. You can’t possibly visit Wollaton Hall and deer park without spending some time here in the courtyard, the Potting Shed has lots to offer including bird nesting boxes, wild bird seed, cards, pots and bulbs.

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Wollaton park gift shop and visitor centre has beautiful gifts, souvenirs and ice creams, The Potting Shed is a lovely unique shop for gardening and fabulous, even quirky gifts, the Café in the Courtyard is an oasis in the centre and Nottingham Industrial Museum is an absolute inspiration in this gorgeous courtyard location which I’ll also be writing further about very soon.

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We set off for home via Wollaton Hall, through the beautifully kept gardens at the rear and down hill to the lake again, we couldn’t help taking the longer route around the lake, I love the peaceful atmosphere here, then we stopped briefly to watch the majestic stags in the deer park.

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Feeling at ease and totally recharged we headed out of the park, but I can’t wait to return, there’s always more to do here, I’m sure it’s not possible to experience all there is in just one day and one article is not sufficient to tell the whole tale. A Location to relax, to learn and have fun.