Newest Review: ... the modern day visitor, Haddon Hall offers an almost unique opportunity to see a Tudor/Stuart era house that has remained virtually ... more
A Real Taste of the Past!
Haddon Hall (Bakewell)
Member Name: tange
Haddon Hall (Bakewell)
Advantages: Lovely old building with so much history.
Disadvantages: Maybe not for children or non-history fans.
~~~WHERE IS HADDON HALL?
Haddon Hall can be found around two miles south of Bakewell. It is pretty well signposted - follow the brown tourist signs from Bakewell or Matlock on the A6. You can also get there by bus - I haven't done it that way myself but I looked on http://www.cressbrook.co.uk/visits/haddon.php and it said "By Bus: the Trans-Peak bus between Derby->Matlock->Bakewell->Buxton->Manc hester goes right past the door, as does the R61 Derby-Bakewell bus. From Sheffield take the 240 bus to Bakewell and then pick up the Trans-Peak or R61 to get to the Hall. From Chesterfield take the 170 bus to Bakewell and then ask for Sheffield." I couldn't have put it better myself!
We normally go by car (my dad drives!) and I would say that this is where one of my main criticisms of the Hall kicks in - the car park is opposite the entrance and once you've parked you have to cross the A6; a busy and often scary road. It also costs a pound to park which, on top of the entrance fees, can make your day a little expensive. The busy road can also put quite a lot of time on your journey and the congestion can make the trip a bit tedious - something to bear in mind if you are taking small children who can get bored quite easily.
~~~OPENING HOURS AND ENTRANCE PRICES.
Haddon opens for the following times:
April: Saturday - Monday.
Easter: Good Friday - Tuesday.
May - Sept: Daily.
October: Saturday - Monday
Opening hours: 12 noon - 5pm.
The last admission is by 4pm and it costs £7.25 for adults, £6.25 for concessionary categories and £3.75 for children. Family tickets (for 2 adults and up to 3 children) are available and will set you back £19.00. It is worth noting that children are classed as anyone up to 16 years old.
~~~A BIT OF HISTORY.
Haddon Hall was originally owned by the descendants of an illegitimate son of William the Conqueror (called Peverel) and dates from the 14th and 15th Centuries. It passed into the hands of the Manners family by marriage - this is the family who later became the Dukes of Rutland. The Hall was closed up for many years (around 200 the history books say) until the 1920s, when the 9th Duke of Rutland reopened it and restored it to life!
The Hall is now a joy to visit and has some lovely gardens and interiors to explore. It is also notable because it is one the only fortified manor houses still around. The condition of the Hall is excellent and is very well preserved, making it a great place to go to see a house of this age.
Haddon Hall is a member of the Historic Houses Association, which represents 1,500 privately owned historic houses - more than English Heritage and the National Trust.
~~~WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?
A visit to the Hall offers a great opportunity to witness history! It's lovely gardens are great to walk around - if you manage to time your visit for when they have a special event you can combine the beauty with a very interesting day. Combine the walled gardens with the beautifully preserved interior and you will soon see why Haddon has been the setting for countless TV and film dramas - it has featured in things such as Jane Eyre, Elizabeth and Moll Flanders. The best time was when it featured in Jane Eyre, as Thornfield - the special effects people used pyrotechnics to make it look like the building was burning and flames were lapping around it. The countless calls to the local fire brigade that night perhaps tell you that the effects were pretty realistic!
The building itself has been added to and extended during the years and has examples of architecture from many different historical periods. The walled gardens near the stable block have some rather amazing looking pieces of topiary - the best things are the boar's head yew trees and the peacock tree (the crests of the Vernon and Manners families. The gardens also have some excellent examples of old flower and herb varieties - a must for anyone with an interest in gardening (and pretty enough for those who haven't).
Inside the Hall look out especially for the banqueting hall, the long gallery (110ft long!) and the kitchens. There is also an impressive collection of tapestries - a collection that includes examples from the 17th century (some which are said to have been owned by Charles I) and which would have been so much bigger had it been largely wiped out by a fire in the 1920s. The hall is also renowned for its wooden carvings and frescos that feature throughout the many lovely rooms. Also keep your eyes open for some great items of furniture - some from 16th and 17th centuries.
Also take a look in the family chapel, which boasts some well known wall paintings. There is also a little museum with a collection of artefacts from the early days of the Hall's existence - these include coins, combs and domestic objects. You can also take a guided tour of the house and grounds if you want - we tend to go alone and wander around; a way that we find much more relaxed. If you aren't familiar with the history of the property though (or if you are on your first visit) I would probably recommend that you take the tour to appreciate the place fully.
I really love Haddon Hall and would thoroughly recommend a visit if you are in my neck of the woods. It's not the most commercialised of tourist attraction and manages to retain an air of calm and beauty despite the countless feet that cross over its threshold when it's open to the public. It is still essentially a private residence, so I always feel quite privileged to be able to share such a magnificent place. It's just a shame I have to leave and go home afterwards!
Summary: A real glimpse at history!