With our second day in Derbyshire we headed east to another National Trust place, Hardwick Hall, which is in between Chesterfield and Mansfield. I haven’t been to Hardwick since I was a child. I remember visiting during the summer holidays and the weather being really nice. That wasn’t the case this time but it was January this time round.
Being January it meant the Hall was closed, as was the old hall which is owned by English Heritage. Nice to see they’re all working together in harmony. Ironically both buildings were built around the same time as each other in the late 16th century. The old hall was yet to be completed by the time Bess of Hardwick began building the new hall (not herself, that would be some feat). Both halls open in the middle of February. But we were happy to go and enjoy the grounds and the gardens.
The gardens are interesting viewing in the winter, as there are no plants or flowers growing, but a lot of signs to say what has been planted. This just makes us more excited to visit again in the spring or summer and see the gardens transformed into an abundance of colour.
We had tea and cake in the cafe. Well, I had a cream tea, while Emma had tea and a slice of coffee cake. It came to over a tenner, which is more expensive than the average cafe, but it’s all to a good cause of preserving our heritage.
There weren’t many people about, which suited us fine as the piece and quiet created an almost personal view of Hardwick. Like we plan to with Kedleston Hall, we will come here again in the warmer months when everything is open and hopefully the sun will be out!