A mere hop, skip and jump away from the city centre, Manor Lodge is one of Sheffield’s most incongruous buildings: a Tudor ruin, sitting next to a 20th-century residential estate. Built around 1516, the hunting lodge was once at the heart of a huge deer park and is best known as the place that imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots in picturesque captivity in the 1570s and 80s. A lot has changed since Tudor times and these days, the 14-hectare site is home to a fun-packed and developing landscape that tells various stories of Sheffield.
Explore the ruins, take a tour, meet characters from the past and learn all about the site’s history at the discovery centre. The ruins, along with the still intact turret house and the discovery centre, open on the third weekend of the month from mid-March to mid-November, while the ruins and discovery centre also open on Fridays and during school holidays.
Travel back to wartime in the 1940s Manor Cottages (open on the third Sunday of the month), where you can dress up and join a local family to hear about life on the farm during the war. Or visit on a Tudor open day (all other Sundays) to meet characters from the past and take at tour of the ruins. Once you’ve had your fill of history, have a play in the giant sandpit and lavender labyrinth and move on to Manor Oaks Farm (open every day) to pet the animals. Say hi to donkeys Rosie and Lily, pygmy goats Daisy and Doris, and rabbits Betsy and Barney. Refuel at the delightful Rhubarb Shed Cafe (open every day), before following the trails through the beautiful wildflower Pictorial Meadows.
Check Manor Lodge's events calendar for school holiday activities, battle reenactments, monthly Monday evening history lectures, bistro nights at the Rhubarb Shed, and much more. And be sure to come back for Open Studios weekend at the on-site Yorkshire Artspace Manor Oaks in November, when you can have a good old nosey around artists’ workplaces.
If you’re feeling intrepid after all that, set out from here on the Norfolk Heritage Trail into the city centre via Norfolk Heritage Park, the Cholera Monument, Park Hill and Sheffield Cathedral – through centuries' worth of Sheffield history.
- Words by
- Joanne Mateer
- Images by
- Will Roberts