Saturday, 10 November 2012

Hardwick Hall

Halloween bouquet

I love how the leaves pile up on just one half of the sidewalk on our street--it gives you the option of crunchy or plain walking.  

Last Monday was Bonfire Night, so we went to Hyde Park to watch the fireworks

Then on Thursday, we had the Leeds Light Switch-On downtown and saw Santa & Rudolph

On Friday, we went down to Birmingham--the Bull Ring was in full Christmas shopping mode!  We stayed with Richard's dad on Friday night, and it was good to see him & the dogs again. 

On the way home today, we stopped at Hardwick Hall.  I love living in England for precisely this reason--we were looking for something to do en route, and this amazing Elizabethan estate is just a few miles off of the M1.  This is the old barn, which is now a restaurant.

Stables courtyard (the stables in the back have now been converted into gift shops & the loveliest visitor bathrooms I've ever seen)

Hardwick Hall is actually two separate halls--this is the Old Hall, where Bess of Hardwick was born

It's amazing--mostly ruins, but there are still some well-preserved plaster decorations on the upper floors

The New Hall, which Bess built next door

This statue was brought over from Chatsworth during the Victorian era

Statue of Mary Queen of Scots--she was held at Chatsworth (seems like she's been a prisoner in every great house/castle in England...)

Detail on a lead rainwater collection container--the snake is the Cavendish family symbol

Gazebo in the gardens--it's like a mini version of the house

This archway reminded me of The Secret Garden

I love all of the windows--Bess set up her own glassmaking operation

The view was hard to capture on camera.  It looks unreal, like a painting

The Old Hall

I think Bess built the New Hall next to the Old Hall so that it would have the same gorgeous view

Inside the ruins--this is the kitchen

Now that's a massive fireplace!

Looking up, you can see the fireplaces and their plastering on the upper floors--the lower one was the nursery, and the next one up was a bedroom

The Great Chamber

View from the Great Chamber

English Heritage has put its own masonry markings on the bits that it's restored--that's the English Heritage logo and "1994".  There's a strange set up where English Heritage owns and runs the Old Hall, and National Trust owns and operates the rest of the property. 

View from the top

The route up to the top is in this very scary set of stairs

There are gaps in the stone where you can see through the stairs down to the lower floors--yikes!

The other sections of the house--no staircases on this side!

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