About Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Hall, a Grade 1 listed prodigy house, is the centrepiece of Wollaton Park, known for its Elizabethan architectural style and rich history.  There are other listed buildings in the park too.

The hall is home to the largest dedicated Natural History museum in the county.

Brief History of Wollaton Hall (Click to expand)

  • 1580: Construction of Wollaton Hall begins under the direction of Sir Francis Willoughby, a wealthy landowner and Member of Parliament. Designed by Robert Smythson, built using Ancaster stone.
  • 1588: Wollaton Hall is completed and Sir Francis and his family move in.
  • 1640s: The Hall was occupied by Parliamentary troops at some time during Civil War
  • 1641: Fire causes extensive damage.
  • 1641-1687: The house was unused.
  • 1687: Francis Willoughby and sister Cassandra, returned to the Hall, making it their principal residence.
  • 1702: Cassandra Willoughby, Duchess of Chandos recorded that the master masons, and some of the statuary, were brought from Italy, including the decorative but ludicrous gondola mooring rings carved in stone on the exterior walls.
  • 1742: Stable block built.
  • 1783: Foundations laid for the Walled Garden.
  • 1801: Fire damages the original interior of the house and it is remodelled by Jeffry Wyattville, a prominent garden and architectural designer who worked on Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
  • 1881: The house was still owned by the head of the Willoughby family, Digby Willoughby, 9th Baron Middleton, but by then the Willoughbys considered it “too near the smoke and busy activity of a large manufacturing town”.
  • 1924: Wollaton Hall is sold to Nottingham Corporation (later Nottingham City Council) for use as a museum and public park.
  • 1926: The Nottingham Natural History Museum is established in Wollaton Hall.
  • 1970: Industrial Museum opened in the stable block.
  • 2005: Wollaton Hall is granted £4.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • 2007: Wollaton Hall undergoes a major restoration and refurbishment project.
  • Present day: Wollaton Hall is a popular destination for visitors, who come to explore its natural history collections, as well as the surrounding park and gardens.

At the back of Wollaton Hall, you can find the Formal Garden and Sensory Garden.

Friends of Wollaton Park arrange occasional volunteering inside the hall.

For more details on the hall or museum, see the Hall and Museum page on the Wollaton Hall website.

If you can help add some informative content to this page, about the hall or museum, please contact us.

More Than Just a Hall

The list of activities that occur at Wollaton Hall and in the park is wide and varied. From the simple family picnics that can be seen to major events like music concerts, exhibitions and organised walks and runs.  See our What’s On for a list of events we are aware of. 

Are you organising a public dog walk, charity event, sporting event or indeed anything making fantastic use of this venue?

If you would like your, free-to-attend event, added to the list above and/or calendar, please email us.

Commercial events can also be added in return for a donation to Friends of Wollaton Park.

Wollaton Hall Organ

Wollaton Hall has an Organ built around 1680, rebuilt around 1780, restored in 1981 and tuned in 2024. The leaflet below describes the history of the Organ.

Organ Leaflet

More information can also be found in a report from 2016.

To hear a recial, check the video below, or see our What’s on page for recital dates.

Organ recital, November 2023. Credit: Wendy Smith.

Questions or Queries?

If that does not help then please get in touch with us…

Photographs used on this web page are reproduced with the original artist’s permission.  Copyright © for each picture remains with the original artist, who is duly acknowledged for their contribution.

On this page: Adam Mckillop, Wendy Smith.