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The exterior of Hardwick Hall on a sunny day.
The Elizabethan High Great Chamber inside of Hardwick Hall.
The Hardwick Hall orchard with Hardwick Hall behind.
Hardwick Old Hall in the grounds of Hardwick Hall.

Hardwick Hall

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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

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  • Explore the stunning collection of tapestries and embroidery collected by Bess of Hardwick.
  • See furniture, ceramics and decorations galore from across Europe.
  • Experience 500 years of Hardwick Hall as you explore the house and grounds, discovering something new every time.


Hardwick Hall is a Derbyshire Elizabethan country house in Chesterfield built between 1590 and 1597 and is an example of a prodigy house. Designed by Robert Smythson, the building was erected for Bess of Hardwick, a notable Elizabethan figure, who married well four times to rise to the top of English nobility and was one of the richest women in Elizabethan England. Five centuries later, and the house is still standing and open for the public; it may be recognised by keen-eyed Harry Potter fans as the inspiration for Malfoy Manor in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, except missing the CGI towers. If you enjoy places like Knebworth House or Audley End House, you will love Hardwick Hall.

One of the first things you may notice about Hardwick Hall is the number of tapestries. It is home to one of the largest collections of tapestries from across Europe during the Elizabethan era. Almost every room and wall will have some form of tapestry or embroidery. You will also find exquisitely preserved furniture, paintings, ceramics such as a collection from the Ming dynasty, and other decorative objects. Bess of Hardwick had an extensive portrait collection, which included family portraits and the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I from the workshop of Nicholas Hilliard. Currently, you can also discover the history of the last Lady of Hardwick, Duchess Evelyn Devonshire, the last of the Cavendish family to live there. However, not only can you explore the life of the rich and famous Lords and Ladies, but you can also travel below the stairs to the kitchen and discover the life of the servants who lived there from across the ages. A picture detailing the servants from 1893 is still there and has led to fascinating research into these less famous people of history.

The blue bed inside Hardwick Hall.

Not only is Hardwick Hall history embedded in the walls of the building, but it can be found in the Hardwick Hall gardens. Can your children find the fairy tree? A secret little fairy house is hidden in the grounds for children to find and discover what the fairies are up to. Within the gardens, you may also find the vegetable and herb garden, as well as the orchard. The grounds also contain Hardwick Old Hall, a secondary Grade I building maintained by the National Trust within the property. The Old Hall was an earlier house created for guests which is now a ruin. Fragments of the impressive plasterwork can still be seen and have been coated in preservatives, and rain shields as most of the building is unroofed. 

If you want a better look at Hardwick, you can book one of the Hardwick Hall walks. Explore the Hardwick Hall park and parkland on Exploring Bess’ Grounds. For walking pros, try the 6 mile walk showing Hardwick’s wider estate. To discover features Bess would have seen, try In Bess’ Footsteps. The Duke and Duchess Short Walk is the best for young families who still want to get around the site.

Hungry? Enjoy the delicious food at the Hardwick Hall restaurant, also known as the Great Barn restaurant. With hot and cold drinks, snack items, soup of the day, jacket potatoes and more, it’s perfect for a spot of lunch. Freshly baked scones might whet your appetite too. Looking to take some of the Hall with you? The Hardwick Hall shop sells plants, books, and more.

Can’t get enough and need to stay longer? The Hardwick Hall Hotel is surrounded by the Hardwick Hall Country Park and has gorgeous views to match. The Hotel is also known for the events it puts on throughout the year. For example, the Hardwick Hall Festival, or Hardwick Festival, is the largest music festival in the North East and takes place in this historic area. You can also get a Hardwick Hall afternoon tea and feel like royalty.

What to know before you go

  • Hardwick Hall opening times vary depending on the time of year, so check online before you visit.
  • There is mobility parking in the main car park.
  • Accessible toilets and baby changing facilities can be found in the Stableyard.
  • There are non-accessible toilets in the Hall.
  • Dogs are prohibited in the formal garden but are permitted around the estate and the Stableyard as long as they are on leads.
  • The interior of Hardwick Hall is accessible to wheelchairs, but the first and second floor is not accessible.
  • Large bags, buggies and brollies need to be stored inside the entrance hall before beginning the route around.
  • Masks must be worn inside, including when using the toilet.

Getting there

  • Stourhead is 8 miles southeast of Chesterfield and is accessible via the A6175. Leave M1 by exit 29 and follow the brown signs.
  • The closest train station is Chesterfield; you will then need to take a bus.
  • Alight at Glapwell 'Young Vanish', and cross the road, walk up the hill and take 1st right following signs to Rowthorne & Hardwick. Continue towards the village then take the second right & first left, before arriving at Rowthorne gate. Continue straight to access Hardwick Hall. The walk from the bus stop is approximately 2 miles, on main roads in part and with limited signage.
  • The Rowthorne Trail and Teversal Trail lead to Hardwick Hall.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

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Logo for the National Trust featuring an acorn leaf on a green background.

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The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest is a renowned charity and membership organisation in England, Northern Ireland and Wales that offers natural preservation for the most beloved heritage locations in the UK, including houses, buildings, coastlines, gardens and parks. With over 500 sites and attractions under their conservation and an ever-increasing 5.6 million members, the Trust is one of the largest wilderness and heritage protectors in the world and is now celebrating its 125th anniversary year since being founded in 1895.

With a National Trust membership, easily joinable via their website with family and lifetime options, you can enjoy free entry to all of their gardens, parklands and National Trust properties including the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, Knole in Kent and hundreds more. Partly owned by H.R.H the Prince of Wales, the National Trust aims to protect, preserve and develop the most treasured locations and outstanding areas of nature in the UK so that they can be enjoyed by visitors from across the world.

Image © National Trust Facebook.