Days Out

Hardwick Hall

I’m always looking for an interesting day out, and so decided to fit in another outing on the way back from our Peak District mini break.

We called in at Hardwick Hall, our second National Trust visit after Longshaw, and had a fantastic time. It had all the elements we love; interesting buildings, lovely gardens and a good story!

After an 18 month hiatus, we rejoined the National Trust as members. It works out as such good value-we only need to visit one place a month to save money when you take into account car parking and entrance fees.

We started with a visit to the Old Hall, birthplace of the formidable Bess Of Hardwick.Β This is now a ruin, but there are glimpses of it’s former grandeur. As we obviously couldn’t take the pushchair, Finn had to walk around the building (with a bit of help up and down the stairs). He had a great time exploring all the nooks and crannies.

Hardwick Old Hall

This shows some of the surviving plasterwork in the Great Hall

Hardwick Old Hall

I think that this gives a good idea of the scale of the Old Hall

Hardwick Old Hall

I love this photo of the new Hardwick Hall, taken from it’s predecessor

Notice the coats in the picture. It was very cold for June, particularly as we were exploring the draughty old ruins! There is some beautiful parkland to explore and lovely walks around Hardwick. We had a stroll through the gardens and then headed inside for a warm up.

Hardwick Hall

Part of the extensive grounds at Hardwick

Built by Bess as a home befitting of her status, Hardwick really is an impressive property. She married four times, each time to a richer and more influential man, and even became a friend of Queen Elizabeth I. At this time it was unusual for women to gain such power and wealth, I think Bess must have been a real force of nature!

Hardwick Hall

One of the rooms at Hardwick, suitably demonstrating Bess’s wealth and status

The most interesting part for me was finding out about Lady Arbella Stuart, Bess’s grandaughter and niece of Mary Queen of Scots. Due to her claim to the English throne, Arbella was kept a virtual prisoner at Hardwick, banned from marrying and growing increasingly despondent. Her sad story was one I’ve never heard before and, for a history geek like me, it was fascinating to learn about.

I really enjoyed myself, and I can’t wait to visit more National Trust places this year. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!

Whatever the Weather Linky

16 replies »

    • It’s worth it for the free parking alone! When we’re away we quite often use NT carparks for walks etc and it’s brilliant. There’s so many places all over the UK, I recommend it πŸ™‚

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  1. We love our NT membership. They’ve got such a diverse range of places. This hall looks great to visit – I love all the nooks to explore you mention. Formby Point is NT place we love – a beautiful red squirrel reserve, forest and beach. Sarah from KippersCurtains also has a lovely place in Sheffield that’s another NT property on her blog. Thanks for sharing. Potty Adventures.

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  2. That plaster work is stunning! We love visiting National Trust properties, you’re right. It is well worth it. #whatevertheweather

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    • I know, it is still a lot of money-hence why we took a break while I was on maternity leave. Glad to be back at work & able to afford a few treats! Looking forward to more days out πŸ™‚

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  3. Wow! This place of so beautiful! I bet it the view up there must be so pretty too! Great job on Finn for climbing all the way up! Well done! The love the photo of the Old Hall. Wow! Stunning! #MyFavouriteTrip

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  4. A magnificent place and such an interesting background. Bess sounds a fascinating character..such a shame about Lady Arabella…I’m glad I didn’t live back then! I keep thinking I need to get NT membership #myfavouritetrip

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  5. I love a historic house with a great story. And ruins as well as a house – what a great find! I’m seriously considering National Trust membership. I love visiting this type of place and I think if we had the membership it might push us to get out to them more than we do now #myfavouritetrip

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    • It was a fab day out, so many stories and interesting buildings. I really recommend NT membership, it works out at great value & it really does encourage you to visit more places.

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  6. Wow, the ruins look massive, look how many floors it had. The newer hall looks pretty impressive too and Bess’ story sounds very interesting, a shame about her niece though. Thanks for linking up to #Whatevertheweather x

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  7. What a great place to explore. I love the ruins and am also a bit of a history geek so would love reading about the family history. So interesting that she married four times. I’ve never had NT membership but sounds like a great idea if there are many attractions near you. Lovely photos. Thanks for joining in with #MyFavouriteTrip Polly

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