About 6 years ago myself and my husband joined the National Trust as young adult members. It worked out cheaper at the time that visiting the house and garden just for the one day and meant we could visit other places too. The time eventually came that we had to become adult members. The cost wasn’t much different and we were enjoying our membership so we still continue it now. We are fairly regular visitors to Hardwick Hall and I personally love the walk up the house along the driveway or the one taking you down to the Five Pit Trails. We are able to sit outside the National Trust cafe with the dog when we arrive at the house and go to explore the gardens afterwards.
The house is open on certain days and I visited on one of the days where the main house was closed but the kitchens and surrounding rooms were open to the public. The National Trust are great at sharing historical information with guests and make it suitable for people of all ages. When it comes to facts I am a bitesized chunk reader so appreciate the short stories and information that is dotted around. Hardwick Hall this time had a presentation about the house and groundskeepers who previously worked at the great house. A great snippet I took away was that the Head Housekeeper charged visitors who came to Hardwick wanting to try on a fine coat belonging to the occupants and made a decent amount of money this way. On a previous visit where we were able to go into the main house we found out that the Elizabethan built hall was home to Bess of Hardwick, a woman of wealth and power, and throughout the rooms it told of her story of wanting her granddaughter to take the throne.
My last excursion to Hardwick Hall included a stroll around the gardens. Although I have done this before there was a new spot that I hadn’t seen previously after delving a little deeper. The gardeners were out in force mowing the lawns and trimming hedges and I couldn’t help but think what a large undertaking it would be to own the house as one family. You would certainly need a team to come regularly to take care of such large lands and the cost that would surely come with this is practically mind boggling.
Another element of a trip to a National Trust site is the shop. I could spend hours in their shops and appreciate that everything chosen is curated to match their ethos. For example on my last two visits with my membership I noticed that they now have a range of household cleaning products that are made with organic ingredients. As a sidenote: I want them all.
Other than the visitors shop some halls and gardens have a second-hand bookshop and a garden shop. When we visited Eyam Hall (when it was taken care of by the National Trust) I found and purchased a Disney Animation book, a fantastic find in my eyes and I don’t believe I would have been able to get this in any local bookshop. Aswell as books I am an avid gardener, I mean, I try to grow things and spend a lot of time ‘pottering’ and not actually doing much of anything. This means I do however enjoy looking at flowers, bee hotels and plant pots until my husband can take it no longer.
The Hardwick Estate also includes Stainsby Mill, somewhere where we haven’t yet been so hopefully will be on the agenda soon.
Have you been to Hardwick Hall? Where would you suggest to visit?
Until next time,