Nottinghamshire has some wonderful places of interest but one of the lesser known attractions is Hodsock Priory.
This historical pile of the Buchanan family dates back 2000 years and lies between Worksop and Blyth in the north of the county.
It can boast of many figures from ancient royalty to recent celebrity passing through its hallowed halls including Henry VIII and Darren Gough - but not at the same time!
The 800 acre estate remains a family home of Sir Andrew and Lady Belinda Buchanan and their youngest son George, his wife Katharine and their four young children.
George is the ninth generation resident and general manager of the estate which has diversified into the wedding and celebration market as well as a visitor site with its annual Snowdrop Spectacular event.
Throughout February the 17 acres of woodland and gardens are opened up to visitors to explore where you can see the carpet of tiny snowdrops that surround the Priory.
The event this year is running from now until Sunday 2nd March when guests can see for themselves all the delights that Hodsock offers. There are 82 varieties on display including the specially grown varieties named after Buchanan family matriarchs.
Hodsock’s annual showcase event has come from humble beginnings with 2,000 visitors back in 1991 to 20,000 in recent years.
“We started simply with my mother opening the gates and opening a tin of biscuits for visitors to what it is today,” explained George Buchanan. “Every year the event keeps evolving as we keep it exciting for visitors whether you are a seasoned snowdrop veteran or discovering us for the first time.”
Hodsock is also a premier destination for weddings and parties with its specially built venue which has been sympathetically built onto the main house.
With their hospitality and catering background, George and Katharine are bringing their expertise to the party arrangements.
“We are all about the personal service and attention to detail,” explained George. “We try and go the extra mile and accommodate our couples’ requests and let their personality into the wedding.”
Opening the family home to strangers who are looking for a good time has proved a challenge for the family whilst meeting the demands of diversification.
“My parents were worried about having a bar installed and took some persuasion,” added George. “But it is our home and people respect that.”
The family have also explored other business ventures including the growing of willow trees on the state to make cricket bats.
“We are cutting about 30 trees a year which produce between 30 and 40 bats per tree,” explained cricket fan George. “This has been a delight as the bats have been used in test matches around the world so a little bit of Hodsock is now international.
“And cricket is our family sport and we now get to play using our very own home-grown bats.”
Snowdrops at Hodsock is open daily from 10am to 4pm until Sunday 2nd March. Tickets are £5 for adults and £1 for children over six.
There are offers available online by visiting www.snowdrops.co.uk. You can also join the Friends of Hodsock scheme for access to Friends only events.