Once a medieval hunting ground, this large park now features centuries-old ruins, walking trails and varied wildlife.
Bradgate Park is one of the most loved public parks in the county of Leicestershire. It spreads across an area of about 830 acres (336 hectares), which includes bracken, forest, grassy lawns and marsh. Discover important historical monuments, spot free-roaming deer and enjoy walks and picnics.
Nature paths weave around the park. Stroll beneath majestic trees and along the banks of the slowly rippling River Lin. Pause to admire the views of Cropston Reservoir and the Leicestershire countryside. The park also has horse-riding trails and a tarmac pathway that can be used for biking, rollerblading and skateboarding.
Examine the park’s fauna, flora and geological features. Watch herds of fallow and red deer graze in the bracken and try to spot bird species such as the meadow pipit and yellowhammer. Walk through Swithland Wood, a 155-acre (63-hectare) area of ancient woodland. The park also contains huge craggy outcrops, some of which are around 560 million years old.
The park dates back about 800 years and was an enclosed hunting site. Go to the center to see the ruins of Bradgate House, an unfortified Tudor mansion completed in 1520. The house is believed to have been an early home of Lady Jane Grey, who became the Queen of England for just 9 days in 1553. During the summer months the ruins host open-air theater events. Don’t miss the Old John Tower, an 18th-century folly and lookout.
On sunny days, the park is a great location for picturesque picnics. Bring your own picnic fare or purchase light snacks and refreshments from the park’s teahouses.
Bradgate Park is about a 25-minute drive northwest from Leicester’s city center. Three parking lots are available to visitors at Bradgate Park, with a further two found at Swithland Wood. Parking charges apply. The park is open year-round and admission is free.
Bradgate House is open on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from Easter to October. Between November and March it opens on Sunday only. Find more information on the park’s official website plus details of ranger-led tours.