“ Address: Renishaw Hall / Renishaw / Sheffield / S21 3WB / Telephone: 01246 432 310 „
Renishaw Hall is the home of the Sitwell family, it is situated just a couple of miles off of junction 30 on the M1 and the hall is well within easy visiting distance for me.
Renishaw Hall and gardens are a part of the Historic Houses Association and if you are in the vicinity then it is well worth a visit.
The Derbyshire house has been home to the Sitwell family for over 380 years, maybe one of the more well known `Sitwells` would be Dame Edith, who was a well known poet.
Today the house is still occupied by the Sitwell family and they reside there permanently, this means that the house is only opened for parties by arrangement, if you happen to be lucky enough to pay a visit on a day that a pre-arranged tour of the house is taking place then it is possible that you would be invited to join in.
Renishaw Hall is an imposing building that sits in the midst of acres of tranquil gardens and lakes and we decided to walk around the gardens to build up a good appetite for a snack lunch.
In front of the house there is a spectacular lawned area which sits in the middle of some wondrous herbaceous borders.
Each border is packed with many very interesting and beautiful plants ranging from the common or garden to the exotic and they all seem to be flourishing.
In front of the hall there are a number of huge stone troughs which are filled with enormous succulents. Orange trees, lemon trees and grapefruit trees are planted in tubs too and all are bearing ripening fruit.
At the moment there is some spectacular magnolia blossom on the trees that climb the walls of the hall and the whole frontage looks idyllic.
Around the far edge of the large lawn there are some well manicured yew that were in the process of being clipped, the gardener had trimmed them to perfection.
Even though we chose to visit during the last week of the season the arbours were still alive with honeysuckle, the tail end of the sweet peas and the odd stray rose bloom that had managed to fool the weather.
If I were to write about the entire garden the review would be akin to a novel so I will have to take the short route. Throughout the garden there are some ancient stone statues that have become very weathered and in the centre of one area there is a wonderful fountain with a high spray.
One part that caught my eye was the pet cemetery, a giant weathered stone canopy shields a substantial number of gravestones that all bear the names of the deceased family pets.
A large flowing stream is home to a number of fish and you can stand on a wrought iron bridge and watch the fish swimming below.
There are many well established Ash and giant Oak trees and as Mum passed a Mulberry bush a sweet ripened mulberry `just happened` to fall into the palm of her hand !
A coffee stop is an essential and we stopped twice, The roomy cafe is light. Bright and spotlessly clean. The sandwiches and cakes are home-made and what we ate was good.
It seems that you can buy a £10 ticket if you want and that ticket entitles you to morning coffee and biscuits, lunch and a drink and an afternoon cream tea. We chose not to have that because we would eat a meal when we got home.
The cafe is licensed so it is possible to enjoy a cool beer or a glass of wine.
The cafe serves both hot and cold food.
The toilets are adjacent to the cafe and they are clean and well kept and there is a disabled toilet too.
The gift shop sells the usual small gifts, sweets, cards and biscuits. I noticed that it also sold locally made wine which I thought was a very nice idea.
There are two art galleries, one houses a collection of work by John and Luke Piper, who are accomplished artists. The voluntary guide was able to give us lots of interesting information about the paintings and the artists themselves.
The other gallery has a resident artist and that is Tracey White, Tracey studied art at Sheffield college and she specialises in both painting and glass work.
We met her and she was very interesting and friendly to chat with.
The museum is interesting and it is awash with information and memorabilia appertaining to the Sitwell family. One area of the museum is dedicated to a collection of designer dresses that were worn by the Sitwell ladies to memorable occasions.
A large glass cases houses a good sized collection of lead soldiers and in another section there is a display of ceremonial regalia.
Renishaw Hall has a good website that is regularly updated. The website outlines the events for the forthcoming 2010 season.
The volunteer workers were keen to tell us that the hall was used regularly for weddings and in fact one couple who worked there had celebrated their Golden wedding in the hall.
The day was busy and interesting, we were very fortunate and the weather was in our favour which was fabulous. As we walked across the lawns we felt the warm sunshine on our backs.
I think our day was good value for money, the entrance fee was £5 for adults, £4.20 for concessions and children. ( children aged ten and under -no charge)
Plus you pay £1 for car parking.
Renishaw Hall and gardens are open from 2nd April to the 27th September, Thursday to Sunday including Bank holidays. They open at 10.30am and close at 4.30pm.
As you come off the M1 at Junction 30 the hall is well signposted, if you have satbav then the postcode is S21 3WB.
At various times throught the season Renishaw Hall holds special events including folk music, food fayres, walk and dine days, children's activity days and McMillan coffee mornings.
I really want to go back next season and enjoy one of these events, if I enjoy the day as much as I did today then the trip is very worthwhile.
I am very fortunate living where I do in the south west suburbs of Sheffield. I have easy to the Peak District National Park, but I also have some other interesting attractions on my doorstep. One such place is Renishaw Hall, which is actually within walking distance of where I live, albeit quite a long walk, but this is a place that I pass by frequently on one of my regular round walks.
Renishaw Hall is the family home of the Sitwell family, and has been for almost 400 years. The Sitwell family are one of the most well known families within this region and historically have always been large landowners. In fact they are second only the Duke of Devonshire (of Chatsworth House) in relation to the amount of land they own in this area.
Renishaw Hall stands within a 300-acre park. This park has been landscaped and there are several areas of mature woodland as well as lakes and ponds. Within this park there is an area of garden that covers eight acres, which has been set aside as an Italian Garden, and this is widely considered to be the most important examples of this type of garden in Britain.
The house itself is not visible from any of the roads that run along the boundary of the estate and so the first views of the house as you approach it from the private road into the estate is somewhat a surprise. I wouldn't describe Renishaw Hall as a magnificent English Country house in the same league that I would put Chatsworth House, but it is still impressive nonetheless.
The house is open to visitors but since it is still lived in there are large areas of the building that are out of bounds to the general public. There is an admission charge to tour the house so being the stingy sort of person that I am I have only been inside the house once. This was however both an enjoyable and memorable experience.
A large area of the house that is open to the public as been transformed into the Sitwell's own sort of personal museum. Here there are vast collections of artefacts that have been accumulated by the various generations of the family. These items include pottery and silverware from all around the World as well as some more curious items. These smaller items are displayed inside glass display cabinets with information cards inside them telling the visitor a little bit about the item.
There are several other areas of the house can be visited by the public including the drawing room. This large room has some examples of important pieces of furniture, including a Chippendale commode. On the walls here there are some fine paintings including a family portrait from John Singer Sargent, which is now widely considered to be a masterpiece from the turn of the 20th century. This drawing room is still occasionally used today by the Sitwell's to entertain their guests. There is also a large portrait of the current Lady Sitwell here too.
The dining room is another of the large rooms of the house and this is now often used for civil wedding ceremonies. Since the changes in Britain marriage laws Renishaw Hall has proved to be a very popular venue for couples to tie the knot as well as to host their evening party in the ballroom. The ballroom dates from 1808 and was added onto the house to host a ball for Princes Charlotte, the daughter of the then Prince of Wales who later became George 1V. The emblem of the Prince of Wale's three feathers is a prominent feature on the ceiling of this room. This room is also home to Lady Sitwell's favourite painting in the house "the Salvator Rosa of Belisarius in Disgrace".
One of the more curious objects at Renishaw Hall that I recall is "Robin Hood's Bow". This object was acquired from nearby Barlborough Hall where it was kept in a drawer with a letter saying that this bow had been given to the owner of Barlborough Hall from Kirklees Hall. During the days of the legendary Robin Hood, Kirklees Hall was a nunnery and it is said that Robin fled here to the safety of his cousin, the lady Prioress. Whilst it is impossible to know if this bow really did ever belong to Robin Hood it is a wonderful story.
As I mentioned I have only been inside the house once but I am quite familiar with the grounds to Renishaw Hall. There is a car park here which costs £1 to park a vehicle but if you are on foot there is no charge to enter the grounds. Close to the car park there is a cafe and toilets which are equipped for disabled access
The grounds are a very tranquil place since for some reason very few visitors seem to bother to take the time to explore them. There are several small fishing ponds and there is also a small chapel, which stands at the entrance to the Sitwell family's burial ground. There are several areas of the grounds that are private but the majority of the area is accessible. It does seem that the ground keepers of the estate have a sense of humour and there are several witty signs that mark off these private areas. One of these reads "The area beyond here is private. Please do not trespass as it will annoy Mr Sitwell's snakes!"
The house and its gardens are open from the end of March until the end of September.
The opening hours are Thursday through to Sunday (plus Bank Holidays) from 10.30am until 4.30pm.
Admission charges are:
Adults £5 (7.5 Euros)
Concessions £4.20 (6.5 Euros)
Children under 10 - Free
Come discover the treasures of Renishaw Hall & Gardens. Check out the vineyards, browse through the museums or book a hall and come celebrate in our wedding & conference halls