The end of summer means that I am finally reaching the end of my long break before heading back to university. As such, I recently decided that I ought to be making the most of my free time before I return to being busy. Hardwick Hall has been on my list of places to visit for about two years. It may look familiar to some of you as it was used as Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I had been hesitant to visit before as I wasn't quite sure how to get there and how far it was. Fortunately, I discovered that the journey only took forty minutes rather than the two hours that Google predicted.
We paid to go around the gardens and the new hall. I was not aware that you could pay a joint price to go around the gardens and the new and old halls, and so I think I will be going back for another visit to go around the old hall ruins. We headed to the gardens first in an attempt to make the most of the weather as rain was predicted for the afternoon. The gardens are magnificent, and very well maintained. Despite visiting during the school holidays, they had a very tranquil atmosphere. I can only imagine how peaceful they must be during the quieter months. I was incredibly impressed with the attention to detail in the gardens. The little fairy houses that we found tucked away in the gardens, complete with furniture were a lovely surprise. I would have loved them when I was a little girl!
After an extensive stroll around the herb garden and grounds, we decided that it was time to look around the hall. We declined the offer of a guided tour, as I prefer to look around at my own pace and sometimes find tours a little overcrowded. The hall was built in the late sixteenth century for Bess of Hardwick, and was designed by the architect Robert Smythson, who also designed Wollaton Hall.
As with the gardens, the house has been wonderfully maintained and worth a visit. We also walked through the lower park which I don't recommend if you have difficulties with mobility. It is a pretty walk, but I personally found it to be a very difficult walk as it was so steep, and my leg was very stiff and sore afterwards. Just a warning!
I absolutely recommend visiting Hardwick Hall if you are ever nearby. Both the hall and house are extraordinarily beautiful. I am already itching to go back to go around the old hall!
Have you had an enjoyable summer?