Looking to get out into the countryside this Easter? The beautiful parks in Bradgate in Charnwood Forest are truly historic and have been around since medieval times. As well as being historic it’s officially a site of special scientific interest for its ancient oaks, bird life and some of the oldest rocks in England (and when we say old, we’re talking from the Precambrian period hundreds of millions of years ago)!
There are areas for all accessibilities, from the lower parts of the park that are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, to the walk up the highest hill to ‘Old John’, an 18th century folly
Here’s what you can get up to at Bradgate Park
Picnic at The River Lin
Pack up a picnic, take a cozy blanket and enjoy the gorgeous surroundings at The River Lin. Sit on the grass and watch the deer graze while you eat, then dip your toes in the shallows afterwards for a refreshing treat!
Fun fact: The River Lin is the shortest river in Leicestershire.
Join a free daily tour
Every weekday at Bradgate park you can join in with a free tour between 11.30 and 2pm. The walks are hosted by knowledgeable volunteers who will guide you around the intriguing ruins and tell you about their fascinating history. The walks take place whatever the weather, all you have to do is turn up in suitable clothing and reserve your spot at the Visitors Centre.
Enjoy afternoon tea with a view
Bradgate Park have not one but two tearooms where you can enjoy afternoon tea, a light lunch, or a slice of locally produced cake with your cup of tea. They’re open seven days a week and are also dog-friendly, so the perfect place to stop after taking the dog around the park. There’s also The Deer Hut which serves hot drinks and sweet treats like crepes and waffles to take away.
Take time to reflect in Memorial Wood
Memorial Wood is a very special place, an area dedicated to quiet reflection and peace. You’ll find outdoor seating from which to look out onto the beautiful plants, wildlife and sculptures. There’s a chance to be a permanent part of Memorial Wood by buying a bronze oak leaf, which can be inscribed with a dedication of up to 30 characters: the perfect way to remember a loved one.
Walk amongst wild deer
The herds of deer at Bradgate Park are legendary and have inhabited the area since the 13th century. You’ll see hundreds of Red and Fallow deer, with a herd size estimated at 550 animals. The deer are wild but are supported by the park, which offers guided walks to tell visitors more about the majestic creatures. They are free to roam around the park and mix with visitors but remember to keep your distance as they are not pets!
- Is there car parking at Bradgate Park?
There are 3 car parks for Bradgate Park which we have included for you below. All of the car parks are pay and display, and cost £3 for all day (monday-Friday), and £4 all day at the weekends and bank holidays for car / motorbike & small van, for more information on parking charges - click here
The 3 car parks at Bradgate Park
Newtown Linford car park - (LE6 0HB) – This is the main car park, and you will find the entrance within the village and alongside the Church. At this car park you will find Toilets and Changing facility, as well as an easy walk to Jade Tearoom and The Grey Lady kitchen & Deli. This is also the best entrance to the River Lin for a picnic, and to view the old ruins dating back to the 16th century. As this is the main entrance it can get very busy, and there is an overflow car park as you drive out of the main car park which will be opened on busy days, but do keep in mind that this is still pay and display
Hunts Hill (Old John) car park - (LE6 0AH) – This is the closest car park to Old John which is the folly that sits on top of the highest hill in Bradgate Park and is a good walk with a view at the top. Please keep in mind that this car park is sadly not suitable for wheelchair users
Hallgates (Cropston) car park - (LE7 7HQ) – This car park will offer you the shortest walk to the Deer Barn Tearoom, Visitor Centre and toilets, including disabled access, where you can also join a daily guided tour
- Is Bradgate Park open every day?
Bradgate Park is open all year round, including Christmas Day. The park opens everyday from 8am, and then closes at Dusk, which can vary throughout the year. The opening times are mainly for the toilets, and car parks as the gates are closed with the last car park to close being Newtown Linford. There is 24 hour access to Bradgate Park as long as you have not parked inside one of the 3 car parks or need the toilet as they will close at Dusk.
- Can you drive though Bradgate Park?
Blue badge holders are able to pre-book a time on set dates. The main rules for this is that you need to pre-book a time slot for up to 90 minutes, as you are not able to just turn up on the day without speaking with the visitors centre first on 0116 236 2713 (ext 25). The times available are between 10:30-16:00, for more information - click here.
- Can you cycle though Bradgate Park?
You are allowed to cycle at Bradgate Park, including Skate Parks and children's bikes & scooters (not including motorbikes), You are also only allowed to cycle on the surfaced roads and paths, and not allowed to go off-road as Bradgate Park wants to protect as much of the park as they can, also please note that pedestrians and horses always have priority.
- Where to eat at Bradgate Park?
There is a number of places to eat at Bradgate Park or locally, which include Deer Barn Tearoom in the heart of Bradgate Park, The Grey Lady Kitchen & Deli in Newtown Linford which is just outside the main car park, you also have a number of local pubs, which include The Bradgate in Newtown Linford, and The Pumping Station. Plus you are only a short drive to Anstey where there is a choice of takeaways, local pubs & restaurant.
- How big is Bradgate Park?
Bradgate Park covers an area of 850 acres, which a surfaced road running from one side of the park to the other so is great for cyclists and wheelchair access, as well as the surfaced area you can also walks about the other quieter areas of the park on your own, and even walk up to the highest point to Old John.
- How many deer our at Bradgate Park?
Bradgate Park has around 550 red & fellow deer within it's walled park, which are looked after by the park wardens
- What is the history of Bradgate Park?
Bradgate park was once home to Lady Jane Grey who was born in the old ruins in October 1537, before moving to London when she was 10. Lady Jane Grey was also the great-granddaughter of King Henry VII, and later became the queen of England from the 10th of July to the 19th of July 1553 at the age of 16. King Henry VII chose Lady Jane as his successor, as in doing so would stop any claims to the throne from his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. Lady Jane Grey was only the queen of England for 9 days, as she was removed by the privy Council who changed sides and proclaimed Mary as the queen of England. sadly Lady Jane Grey was imprisoned in the Tower of London and 4 months later convicted of high treason, which carried a sentence of death, and was later executed in the Tower of London in February 1554
So put on your walking boots, pack a picnic and explore this glorious part of the UK’s natural history.
The Let's Go Out Team
Next Article >