Few houses in England evoke the late Elizabethan era as vividly as Hardwick Hall, a beautiful stone mansion and treasure trove. The facade glitters with myriad windows, making it easy to see why the house came to be known as "Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall." Choose a sunny day to see the rooms and their treasures at their best. The vast state apartments well befit their original chatelaine, Bess of Hardwick. By marrying a succession of four rich husbands, she had
become second only to Queen Elizabeth in her wealth when work on this house began. She took possession in 1597, and four years later made an inventory of the important rooms and their contents—furniture, tapestries, and embroideries. Unique patchwork hangings, probably made from clerical copes and altar frontals taken from monasteries and abbeys, grace the entrance hall, and superb 16th- and 17th-century tapestries cover the walls of the main staircase and first-floor High Great Chamber. The collection of Elizabethan embroideries—table carpets, cushions, bed hangings, and pillowcases—is second to none. Outside, you can visit the walled gardens. The hall appeared as Malfoy Manor in the last two Harry Potter movies. Hardwick Hall is 10 miles east of Matlock. Access is signposted from Junction 29 of the M1 motorway.
Doe Lea, Chesterfield, S44 5QJ, England