Hardwick Hall

The remarkable Bess of Hardwick built the house and created the gardens in the 16th century. Bess of Hardwick married four times, and from relative obscurity she became one of the wealthiest and most powerful women of her time. Her second husband was Sir William Cavendish and after buying land in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, work began on the creation of Chatsworth in 1552. Their son William who was made 1st Earl of Devonshire in 1618, decided to make Chatsworth his main family home.

The layout of the gardens with their walled enclosures has changed little since the 17th century.

Enter the gardens from the West Court into the walled compartment which is divided into quarters and edged with yew and hornbeam hedges. Enjoy the South Border, the Orchard and the Herb Garden which grows both culinary and medicinal herbs. The Stumpery is at the south-west corner of the Herb Garden while to the south-east is a pavilion similar to those in the West Court.

The windows are exceptionally large at a time when glass was extremely expensive – the Hall has been described as having ‘more glass than wall’.

Make sure you leave enough time to take a tour of the house which Bess finished building in 1599. Described by Mark Girouard as ‘the finest surviving example’ of a 16th century house, climb the viewing platform to admire the stunning plaster frieze illustrating hunting scenes; the room has changed little since it was built. There is also a wonderful collection of Elizabethan tapestries and embroidery.

Hardwick Hall was given to the National Trust by the Devonshires in 1950.

Dogs are allowed in the Park.

National Trust members visit for free.

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Address: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S44 5QJ View map Phone: 01246 850430 Length of visit: 2-3 hours
Dogs - some areas: Yes
Cafe: Yes
Car park: Yes
House open: Yes
House open - occasionally: No
Family friendly: Yes
Toilets: Yes
Wheelchair - majority: Yes

For information on opening times and to buy tickets: Click here

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