Days out Family friendly

Thornbridge Hall Gardens REVIEW

Thornbridge Hall Gardens is currently a little known secret and Peak District hidden gem

Thornbridge Hall is a grade two listed stately home nestled in 12 acres of quirky, quintessentially English gardens with stunning views of the surrounding Derbyshire countryside. Go for good, wholesome family fun. And don’t miss the hook a duck fountain!

thornbridge hall gardens
An abundance of daffodils at Thornbridge Hall Gardens

Thornbridge Hall is located not far from Bakewell and Ashford in the Water in the Derbyshire Dales. It could easily be combined with exploring Bakewell or the Monsal Trail, e.g. from Hassop station. Or, you could spend the best part of the day exploring the delightful gardens of Thornbridge.

The toilets seemed brand new and were fairly clean despite visiting them towards the end of the day. There are disabled facilities (although the gardens would be very tricky to navigate in a wheelchair) and baby changing facilities. We did see people with pushchairs but I’d probably recommend a carrier as the paths are gravelly. (If you’re interested in more pushchair friendly walks there is a full list HERE)

Carriage House Café at Thornbridge Hall Gardens

I enjoyed a well-made coffee. There was a good selection of attractive looking homemade cakes, but for once I managed to resist. My parents had a delicious chocolate brownie and a cranberry flapjack and I’m assured both were good. There’s a range of cold drinks and a small selection of ice creams. I imagine the selection will increase as the weather improves. Apparently the sausage rolls are rather special too! If you visit with young children you can also buy a fishing net. This is essential for the fun that will unfold. We bought a snazzy little retractable number for £4.50 although you could of course take your own.

rubber duck fountain at Thornbridge Hall Gardens
Brilliant fun rubber duck fishing at Thornbridge Hall Gardens

‘Hook a duck’ fountain

For us, the absolute highlight of our visit to Thornbridge Hall Gardens was the ‘hook a duck’ fountain. What a quirky, fun idea! One of the ornate old fountains has been filled with hundreds of yellow rubber ducks so children can enjoy fishing them out. My three year old was in her absolute element and practically had to be dragged away. What good, wholesome fun. It was a shame that so many people had discarded their nets. I can’t imagine any of my discerning readers would be so careless or anti-social. The fountain has had some lovely new seating, perfect for parents/carers to enjoy watching their offspring have the time of their lives! Grab a coffee from the nearby café and watch the fun unfold.

About Thornbridge Hall and its gardens

Thornbridge Hall has a really interesting history. Initially the seat of the Longsdon family from the 12th century until the late 18th century. It has since had several owners, each leaving their mark on Thornbridge. At one point Thornbridge even had its own railway station!

Thornbridge Hall Gardens is a RHS garden. It isn’t quite as ‘manicured’ as the likes of Chatsworth, but we all loved it. There are a wide range of different areas including an Italian garden, a 30m herbaceous border, water garden and Koi Lake, and terraced lawns overlooking the stunning Peak District. There are an extensive range of plants. We will look forward to returning through the year to see garden evolve through the seasons. There’s a wide range of plants available to buy (this area is situated just after the café, near the entrance). Many of the plants have been grown on site from seeds, cuttings and divisions from the gardens.

snowdrops at thornbridge hall gardens
Snowdrops at Thornbridge Hall Gardens
Molly Scott Derbyshire blogger Lovely Local Indie
Smiles all around at Thornbridge Hall Gardens

Overall, we had a wonderful afternoon out at Thornbridge Hall Gardens. My Mum said it was the best day out she’d had in years (to be fair, she hasn’t gone anywhere else because of covid!) and my daughter loved it too. I loved wandering round in the fresh air and would definitely return.

Thornbridge Hall Gardens
Family friendly day out at Thornbridge Hall Gardens

Go for:

Lots of fresh air in the beautiful gardens and good wholesome family fun. Don’t miss the hook a duck fountain!


Open seven days a week, 10am – 4pm, no need to book. Dogs welcome on leads. Adults are £7 each with under sixteens and RHS members free. There is no need to pre-book but you can save 20% if you do.

Homemade picnics actively discouraged, please support the café instead.

Since writing this, there is a big new car park and new entrance to Thornbridge Hall and gardens. Do NOT use the postcode as there’s no access. Entrance is on the A6020 Ashford to Hassop road. Click this link for help navigating to the entrance.

Find out more on the Thornbridge Hall website

If you’ve enjoyed this, why not read my review of Lea Gardens in nearby Matlock or click here for 5 FREE days out in Derbyshire.

Thornbridge Tap Room

It’s rare that a place ticks everybody’s box (well probably not my grandparents’!) but the Brewery Tap at Thornbridge Brewery in Bakewell does just that. If you’ve got someone in your group who likes the kind of craft beer that is so rightly becoming mainstream then Thornbridge is definitely worth a visit. Alongside the regulars…

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By Molly Scott

Derbyshire blogger - bringing you the best places to eat, drink, spa and stay in the wider Derbyshire area. Champion of the most fabulous independents.

5 replies on “Thornbridge Hall Gardens REVIEW”

Definitely! They have exciting plans to build a café that will have direct access to the Monsal Trail eventually. Honestly a great place. We loved it.

I have done many walks down the Monsal Trail and for some reason at the weekend, I decided to come off the trail up by one of the bridges to have a nosey at the little village above and just so happened to stumble across Thornbridge Hall! It was like a hidden gem and it turned our walk into a little day out! It made our day!

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