Hardwick Hall: A Day Out

A few weeks ago a friend of mine suggested heading out to Hardwick Hall for the day as they were shocked to learn that I had never been. To be honest I was as well when I found out where it was. How did I not know about something historical so close to my own front door?! We were quite lucky with the day we chose to go as it cheered up from the rainy overcast day that started. But it still wasn’t the nicest.

hardwick hall, mylavendertintedworld, my lavender tinted world, national trust, lollalong
The hall and grounds are located near Stainsby in Derbyshire with an extensive reach of land. The hall and houses became more important, and built, by the Countess of Shrewsbury, Elizabeth Talbot although she is also known as Bess of Hardwick. Bess was born in the old Hardwick Hall and when she became Countess she made the new hall on the same land but as a more extravagant place to hold court and host nobility to go with her new status. When you visit the hall there is an option to stand and listen to a volunteer recounting Bess’s life and find out about all the ups and downs that went along with it. I would recommend giving this a listen as it’s quite informative and gives an insight into someone who doesn’t get much time or thought in the classroom. Along with Bess is a small bit of information of Lady Arabella Stuart, who was Bess’s granddaughter and was also niece to Mary Queen of Scots. She was also seen as a potential successor for Elizabeth the First and yet she is never mentioned when you’re taught about the Tudors or Stuarts at school but I can understand that there isn’t a lot of time to go into everything with the curriculum.

hardwick hall, mylavendertintedworld, hardwick, derbyshire, national trust, lollalong
Side view of the new hall

Walking around the new house was like taking a step back into the past. The house doesn’t look like it’s been changed much since the Elizabethan and Stuart periods especially with all the tapestries hanging around the walls. I haven’t taken photos of the tapestries as I do believe that things become worn out from looking at them and know that photos also contribute to this. The majority of the tapestries have already had restoration work done to them and if you get close enough to them you can see the stitching joining the bits of broken needlework together. The time and detail that had gone into this to make you unaware of it is inspiring, if it hadn’t been mentioned before I doubt I would have gone looking for it. Which could have been good for me as then I wouldn’t have been spotted crouching on the floor staring at a wall. Also, added fact! The new Hardwick Hall building was used as the outside front for the Malfoy’s Mansion in the Deathly Hallows films, honestly I think thisis one of the best facts to know!

old hardwick hall, garden, mylavendertintedworld, my lavender tinted world, lollalong
Old hall from the new hall

You can also take a walk around the gardens surrounding the new hall. There were a lot of different sorts of plants and it even has its own herb garden which is still used today. Along one wall they’ve created a tiny fairy village with doors leading into trees and even made it look like little houses with washing hanging out on lines next to them. It was definitely an unexpected benefit to the visit that day.

fairy house, hardwick hall, hardwick, national trust, garden, mylavendertintedworld, my lavender tinted world, lollalong
Cute tiny woodland houses!

With the National Trust membership that we bought that day we were also able to go in the old hall as well. This was the original hall that Bess had grown up in but it has definitely seen better days. A lot of the building was destroyed and the materials sold to build other places around the country. In the part that still has walls, it has fallen into disrepair. The majority of the floors are gone from the upper levels and only the interconnecting hallway between them is still there, but you can still walk to the top of the tower and see the views of the surrounding Derbyshire countryside.

derbyshire countryside, hardwick hall, mylavendertintedworld, my lavender tinted world, national trust, lollalong
Top of the tower

I’d never thought of getting a National Trust membership and visiting old places around the country, but for under 25s it’s only £32 or so for the year and you only really need to visit like 4 places in the year to make it worthwhile. Honestly, with my love of history and old buildings it’s weird that I’ve never thought of doing this before but really glad that I have and will hopefully be visiting more places in the future.

Hasta la fuego

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like Visiting Lincoln or Revisiting Toledo

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