If you want to dive into some fascinating English history, enjoy a good walk and admire stunning architecture, then we’ve got the perfect activity for you stack that combines all three – Visit Hardwick Hall, one of England’s finest Elizabethan constructions, also home to beautiful gardens to relax in and spectacular estate parklands, with plenty of tranquil walks to be had!
Hardwick Hall dates all the way back to the 16th century, when it was first established by the formidable and talented Bess of Hardwick, who was one of the richest women in Elizabethan England. The mansion is home to a rich collection of historical objects, taking you on a journey through a series elaborate rooms. Walk through the Long Gallery and admire the artworks of the largest surviving Elizabethan long gallery. You’ll also find some of the finest embroidery and tapestries in Europe, one of the few halls to retain the original works. It’s no wonder then that this building was used as the filming location for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, acting as the exterior as Malfoy’s home!
Wandering around the perfectly maintained and restored rooms will take you back in time – take a look into the Mary Queen of Scots room where the famous figure often stayed, with it’s royal black velvets and dramatic lacquer furniture. The room of Duchess Evelyn, the last lady of Hardwick, will show you the fascinating life of a duchess, displaying her conservation work and the contributions she made to the estate. While you’re there, don’t miss the the Treasures of Hardwick exhibition, showcasing the some of the designated Treasures of the National Trust, getting a close look at the remarkable collection that Bess surrounded herself with.
In the spring and summer months, the garden becomes a must-visit. Enjoy the sights of flowers blooming and colours bursting to life, and the four courtyards laid out in Elizabethan fashion. The high, sandstone walls almost create a maze that you can lose yourself in, discovering hidden garden gems. Explore Bess’ parkland grounds, a relaxing 1 hour walk that will take you through peaceful woodlands and afford you some fantastic views.
After exploring the mansion and a refreshing walk, take a break to enjoy some of the delicious hot meals or treats from the Hardwick restaurant. Explore a range of locally sourced, seasonal food and drink as well as a second hand bookshop to discover your next story at the stables.