Practical jokers from the past cast a magical challenge

The devilish Delaval family have scattered clues for Doddington Hall’s ‘Summer of Imagination’.
The Summer of Imagination is now underway at Doddington Hall & Gardens.The Summer of Imagination is now underway at Doddington Hall & Gardens.
The Summer of Imagination is now underway at Doddington Hall & Gardens.

The much anticipated ‘Summer of Imagination’ has begun at Doddington Hall & Gardens, with real life history combining with local myths and legends in an event for all the family.

The Lincolnshire attraction has transformed into an immersive outdoor experience with spectacular performances, art installations, activities and workshops, as well as a magical Quest Trail through Doddington’s historic gardens.

Renowned practical jokers, the Delaval family lived at Doddington Hall between 1749 and 1828, and would play tricks on their guests.

The latest generation of the family have scattered and hidden the history of Doddington Hall across its gardens, and visitors must embark on a magical adventure complete with unicorns, dragons, fairies and witches to find the clues and solve the mystery.

Claire Birch, whose family has owned and lived in Doddington Hall for 190 years, said: “Doddington Hall has a long history that’s rich with colourful characters and astonishing stories. For the Summer of Imagination, we’ve brought these to life so that people of all ages can escape into our beautiful gardens and enjoy a fun-filled experience.

“The feedback from the first guests who’ve experienced Summer of Imagination has been fantastic and I’m so glad we’re able to host events like this again. It’s such a treat to see so many smiling faces as visitors embrace the summer we’ve all longed for in our gorgeous gardens.”

Among the real characters, stories and local legends depicted at the Summer of Imagination are reputed witch, Meg of Meldon, the Lincolnshire boggart and a clutch of petrified dragon eggs.

Helping to bring the myths and legends of Doddington to life is the renowned Rhubarb Theatre Company and local artists from Lumo Workshop.

Kirsty Mead, founder of Rhubarb Theatre, will host a series of drop-in storytelling sessions and Nadya Monfrinoli and Louise Jones of Lumo Workshop will deliver drop-in craft workshops with a range of activities for all ages. Families can also book a variety of exclusive art workshops to explore new skills and enjoy crafts in an intimate group setting, before taking their finished pieces home.

Grown-ups can also reconnect with nature through exclusive Garden of Imagination workshops hosted by Rachel Petheram of Catkin Flowers. A combination of mindfulness and creativity, these pre-bookable workshops help participants gain inspiration from their surroundings to create something beautiful using materials gathered from the garden.

Meanwhile, more than 350 children from six local schools have helped to create a special community sculpture which can be viewed free of charge on the front lawn of Doddington Hall for the duration of the Summer of Imagination. Named ‘Jarvis Row’, the artwork is an eye-catching depiction of the Doddington Estate skyline, created by Lumo Workshop.

Doddington Hall & Gardens’ Summer of Imagination runs until September 5 and it is open seven days a week from 10am to 4pm.

Adult tickets are available for £7.50 and tickets for children aged four to 16 are £3.50. Children under three can enter for free. Family tickets are available for £19 and Doddington Season Ticket holders can enter for free.

Tickets can be purchased from or upon arrival, although numbers are limited to support social distancing so advance booking is recommended.