Saturday, 6 June 2015

Hardwick Hall...

the perfect alternative to a Service Station on the M1 motorway!
(if you have a National Trust card....)
Today we drove all the way from Worcester to Leeds - to collect a Jaguar rear axle that Mark had bought on E-bay. This was a drive of approximately 140 miles up the M5, M42 and M1.  As we drove past junction 29 of the M1 I spotted Hardwick Hall on the hill-side and made a 'mental note' that it might make a good lunch stop a couple of hours later...

There was a certain amount of 'messing around' to get the axle in the back of the Discovery..
and then the usual 'bloke-chat' about car building projects...
but I got my way and we arrived at Hardwick Hall in good time for lunch.
After we'd enjoyed sandwiches, crisps and coffee on the sunny terrace behind the stables café, we set off to explore...
There are actually two Hardwick Halls - the 'Old' one (which was restored at the end of the 16th Century and is now a ruin) and the 'New' one (which was built very shortly after the restoration of the first).  As a result, they share many stylistic similarities..

There are enormous windows that take in a fabulous view..

..and intricate plaster panels.

There's a great view of the 'New' Hall from the upper floors of the 'Old' one..

In a state room at the top of the 'New' Hall you can spot a painted version of a similar plaster scene...

This imposing long gallery actually made me say "Wow" as I came through the doorway..

This is an embroidery done by Mary Queen of Scots while she was imprisoned at Hardwick.
(Apparently she passed the time making 'thank you' embroideries for many of her captors..)

As well as the formal 17th Century rooms, the National Trust shows how the rooms were lived in until the mid 1950s...

... and the gardens were a great place to stretch our legs before we finished our 'Motorway Marathon' back to Worcester.

I hope that you are all having a good weekend.


  1. Strange seeing somewhere this way on your blog! What a lovely way to break up the journey!

  2. I'd live to read more about all the National Trust properties you've posted about. Is there a source or two on line you'd recommend?

  3. Those views are spectacular aren't they - nice place to visit xxx

  4. We have our National Parks with nature made grandeur and you have your National Trust places with man-made beauty. I had forgotten Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there. Now I can see it. My goodness, the castles and building are magnificent!!! I wonder now why part of my family ever left the beautiful country side to sail over here to the wild, rough life.

  5. Lunch at a NT house to break up your long journey was a great idea. That's a good view of the countryside from the Old Hall window.

  6. Lovely to see Hardwick on your blog. I grew up close to here and Bolsover Castle in a village just a couple of miles from Junction 29 of the M1. It is always good to spot a good place for lunch when on a long journey and NT properties or garden centres are much better than a moterway cafe:)

  7. Well spotted, made a boring day really nice for you. We have just joined the National Trust.

  8. Good use of a National Trust card! And Hardwick Hall is lovely x

  9. Lovely. No National Trust here sadly. Nothing much older than 200 yrs old, and that's rare. It's the thing I miss most about the UK. Glad you both managed to make the most of your weekend! Thank you for Hubby's birthday wishes.x

  10. Stunning and now on my to visit list! We break up our holiday journeys by stopping off at National Trust and English Heritage properties, they really help relieve the travel boredom and there's always decent facilities!

  11. You could have popped in for a cuppa whilst you were in Leeds, mind you, we're no Hardwick Hall, my house would probably fit in to one of their rooms.

  12. Brilliant idea. So much better than a motorway service station. We did that once at Dyram Park, off the M4. My kids as teenagers now, would probably prefer a service station, although we avoid them.

  13. What a lovely spontaneous visit, helped break up a long day, glad the sun was shining for you xx