Last weekend we enjoyed a day out at the National Trust’s Hardwick, well except for the behaviour of one of my children but the less said about him the better 😉 Hardwick is just off junction 29 of the M1 and it really easy to get to, it is an absolutely stunning place so really worth a visit if you are thinking about it. I have so many photographs to share with you all so this post might go on for a while 😉
At Hardwick there is something for everyone, if you love history then you will love to explore the hall and find out all about the people who created it in the 1500s, there is gorgeous food and drink served in the Great Barn restaurant, places for the kids to play, acres of beautiful grounds to walk around and explore and shops too!
When we arrived the kids spent ages playing football in the stable yard with the balls that were there for them to play with. This was a huge bonus especially for Bugs who would spend hours kicking a ball around no matter where he was! We then went on to explore the gardens and the hall, the gardens are absolutely gorgeous! There is so much to see, the kids especially loved walking around the orchard and trying to guess what all the different types of fruit was. Thankfully most trees had labels to help us out.
Hardwick was created in the 1500’s by ‘Bess of Hardwick’ and it is such an amazing building to explore, the kids loved doing their quiz sheets and learning all about ‘Arbella Stuart’ who was the the granddaughter of ‘Bess of Hardwick’ and niece to Mary Queen of Scots. She had a strong royal lineage and a realistic claim to the throne after Elizabeth I died. Educated and raised as a princess, but whose desperate attempts to seek freedom ended with her being imprisoned in the Tower of London.
I loved finding out all about Duchess Evelyn, the ‘Last Lady of Hardwick’. Her newly restored bedroom completes the family rooms on the middle floor in the hall and you can discover more about the life of a duchess, her pioneering conservation work and the dramatic changes she made to the east view landscape, in the East Court Rose Garden.
At lunch time we ate in the Great Barn restaurant, unfortunately I didn’t take many photos of this as this was the period where Bugs was being a bit naughty and throwing a few tantrums so I apologise for this. The food was absolutely gorgeous though. I had a beef casserole which was very tasty and the beef just melted in my mouth! The kids had a children’s box where they could choose 5 products from a good selection. There were also plenty of drinks and cakes to choose from, I had a lovely latte and a slice of the most gorgeous Victoria Sponge 🙂
After lunch we headed towards the lower park to explore all the ponds, there are seven in total and on a nice day it is just beautiful, there is lots of wildlife to discover and fishermen to watch. It’s very relaxed and quiet and as you can see from the photographs it really is a beautiful location!
We all loved watching the little duck family swimming around on the pond! A day can never be that bad if it has ducklings 😉
As if all this wasn’t enough before we headed back to the car we went onto the woodland trail and spent ages playing there too. The kids have never been on a tree swing before so they spent ages on those! I did too! It was so much fun!
We were all amazing by the HUGE fallen tree that had nets and ropes added to it for them to climb over. After this we were all pretty exhausted, we’d had a long day out and walked about 10KM throughout our day so it wasn’t surprising that the kids both fell asleep for the journey home… Ahhhhh peace 😉
We had a really lovely day out at Hardwick and will definitely be going again over the summer! If you are interested in other National Trust properties you can read my Calke Abbey review here.
* We received free entry, a lunch voucher and a goody bag – all words and thoughts are my own and completely honest.