Situated just outside St Albans are the remains of Old Gorhambury House, a once immense mansion constructed in 1563-8 by the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Nicholas Bacon. A prolific builder, Sir Nicholas spent many years expanding and adapting the residence - the showpiece of which was undoubtedly an elaborate and expensive porch adorning the entrance.
Over the years, the extensive building was sadly left to crumble, and visitors to the site may find it hard to visualise the estate as it would have looked during its heyday. However, the ruins that remain do give some indication of its grandeur, and make a visit to the site truly worthwhile.
Read more about Old Gorhambury House's history.
Before You Go
Opening times: Old Gorhambury House is usually open most days of the year during reasonable daylight hours, but not earlier than 8am or later than 6pm (last access to the Drive is at 5.30pm, with gates to it being locked at 6pm), except when Gorhambury Drive is closed and access is not possible (see 'How to find it' section below or visit Opening Times page).
How to find it: Access on foot or bicycle is via Gorhambury Drive (the postcode for its entrance is AL3 6AE) which is a permissive path, normally open to the public daily from 8am to 6pm. It is generally closed on Saturdays from 1st September to 1st February and occasionally at additional times at its owner's discretion. Please visit the Gorhambury Estate's website for current details of additional planned closures before you visit.
Access: Access to the site is mainly across grass, with some gravelled and paved areas. There are a few steps but these can be avoided.
Parking: The walk or cycle up Gorhambury Drive to the site is about 2 miles from the nearest parking. Closer access by car to parking at the house is limited to Thursdays from May to September between 2pm-5pm only. During these limited opening hours, use AL3 6AE in sat navs for the gate to the entrance to Gorhambury Drive and then, once at the gate, use AL3 6AH for the house. Except on these Thursday afternoons, the nearest parking is at the Verulamium Museum where a charge applies, or there is limited parking at The Roman Theatre of Verulamium for their visitors.
Facilities: There are no facilities on site but the centre of St Albans is just under 3 miles away.
Dogs: Assistance dogs only.
Plan a Great Day Out
To help you better imagine what an estate like this one may have looked like why not visit Wrest Park, about 24 miles away. Previously home to the De Grey family, with dazzling parterres and fragrant borders, sweeping views and woodland walks, it's a real treat for the senses. Once you've explored some of its 90 acres and 300 years of garden history, treat yourself to something tasty at the café, learn more about Wrest at War in the exhibition, or let the kids run off some steam in the playground.
Before that though whilst in St Albans, why not visit another site there in our care - some remaining parts of the wall built to defend the Roman city of Verulamium?