This is the first time we have been here, we visited the old hall a few years ago when the children were much smaller and it stressed me out a bit. Felt all a little dangerous with missing chunks of wall and steep stairs. Of course they are all much bigger now so the panic factor has gone quite a bit. We are quite lucky as its very nearby us and I think a visit to the gardens will be planned again soon! The new Hardwick hall was built by Bess of Hardwick, one of the wealthiest women in England in the 1590's. She was born in the old Hardwick Hall, which is run by English Heritage. It is said "Hardwick Hall more glass than wall" and its quite tru althought when you go in the house its actually very dark despite all the glass.
Lots of very impressing pieces of furniture and huge rooms. I was a bit disappointed with the ceilings though as the ones at Kedleston were so beautiful and these were so plain! The children enjoyed doing the trails around the house including a Harry Potter themed trail. But it was quite difficult to find some of the things on the trail due to how dark it was in the house. Obviously this is to preserve the very old items in the house and it was a particularly dull day, we missed several huge rain showers whilst we were in the house. I have to admit I found the house a little repressive but it has inspired me to find out so much more about Bess and her relationship with Mary, Queen of Scots, its fascinating!