A Trip to Hardwick Hall
Just on the edge of the Peak District National Park you’ll find the magnificent Hardwick Hall. Built by the formidable Bess of Hardwick in the 1590s, it’s a wonderful example of an Elizabethan country house, set on a hilltop position overlooking the Derbyshire countryside.
Hardwick was intended to be a grand statement of Bess’s status and wealth, evidenced by the many large windows in the building, added at a time when glass was a luxury. This led to the saying, ‘Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall’.
Inside you’ll find plenty to admire, with fine examples of furniture, beautiful tapestries and magnificent paintings, most of them original to the house, spread over three floors.
Outside there are also extensive formal gardens, parkland with family woodland trails, a lovely restaurant and a National Trust gift shop.
There are actually two halls here: the elegant New Hall has been restored to its original glory by the National Trust, but you can also exlore the fascinating ruins of the Old Hall, managed by English Heritage.
Contrary to popular belief, the Old Hall was not abandoned in favour of the grander house. In fact, the Old Hall was still under construction when Bess began the building of the New Hall and she intended for both to be occupied at the same time, almost as two wings of one building.
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How do I get to Hardwick Hall?
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Chesterfield and Hardwick Hall Weather Forecast
Hardwick Hall Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Hardwick Hall?
8 miles south-east of Chesterfield; via A6175. Leave M1 exit 29, follow brown signs.
SatNav: Should you wish to use a SatNav please use postcode S44 5RW. Please be aware this may take you along minor roads depending on your location.
Is Hardwick Hall a National Trust property?
Yes. Hardwick Hall is a National Trust property and you can read more about opening times here.
Hardwick Old Hall is an English Heritage property, National Trust members are admitted for free. Tickets for the New Hall (the National Trust) and joint tickets for both properties are available at extra cost.
When was Hardwick Hall built?
Hardwick Old Hall was built between 1587 and 1596 by Bess of Hardwick, who was among the richest and best-connected women of the Elizabethan age.
In 1590, before the Old Hall was complete, Bess started to build Hardwick Hall immediately beside this it – the New Hall – this time using a professional architect, Robert Smythson. Contrary to what might be expected, the Old Hall was not abandoned in favour of the new one: instead, the two were intended to complement each other, like two wings of one building.
Who lived at Hardwick Hall?
Rising from a modest background to become a friend of Elizabeth I and one of the richest women of her time, Bess of Hardwick houses symbolised her rise to wealth and power.