“ Haddon Hall / Bakewell / Derbyshire / DE45 1LA / Tel: 01629 812855 / Fax: 01629 814379 „
Even if you've never been to Haddon Hall, the chances you may recognise parts of it because it has featured in a whole host of TV shows and films. Why? Because if you're looking for that authentic "olde worlde" history, there's nowhere else comes close.
Haddon Hall is a major tourist attraction in the Peak District (probably second only to Chatsworth) and so is nice and easy to find. Simply head for Bakewell and Haddon Hall is well signed from there. An official car park with plenty of spaces is available on the opposite side of the road to the property which is a leisurely 5 minute walk away. The car park is pay and display since it can also be used as a base for some lovely walks around the area, which is a little bit annoying for those genuinely visiting the property (more on this later).
Haddon Hall History
The reason Haddon Hall is so beloved of film and TV producers is because it is a rare example of a Tudor hall which remains more or less as it was in the 17th century. Originally built by the Vernon Family, Treasurer to Henry VII, it has been passed down more or less unbroken through just two families -the Vernons and the Manners (related by marriage) and is still owned by the Manners family today. This is one of the chief reasons the hall remains so well-preserved. The other is that the Manners family was so powerful in Derbyshire that it was able to keep the whole county neutral during the Civil War - ensuring Haddon was never attacked.
Haddon Hall Today
For the modern day visitor, Haddon Hall offers an almost unique opportunity to see a Tudor/Stuart era house that has remained virtually unchanged for over 300 years. The actual site itself is even older and features a stunning medieval chapel (complete with biblical wall paintings and a Norman font) that will take your breath away and is quite unlike any chapel you are likely to have seen before. There is even a section of wall (still integrated into the house) which dates from the reign of King John and the signing of the Magna Carta. A truly historical house, indeed!
Much of the property though dates from Tudor and Stuart times and features the clever use of stone and wood which marked Tudor craftsmen. Beyond a few simple pieces of furniture and some spectacular (if faded) tapestries (some of which date from the Middle Ages; one was given to the Vernon family by Henry VII), there is relatively little furniture. If you're the type who likes to see lots of period style furniture, then Haddon may disappoint you. Personally, I think the Spartan look property is far more evocative and helps you to appreciate the architecture.
Where furniture is present, it has a genuine connection to the house. The kitchens, for example, feature an old chopping block that was used at Haddon to chop up chunks of meat, whilst all the furniture in other rooms have been in use at the house at some point. Going around Haddon there is a real sense of history and continuity. Every picture that you see or story that you read is directly connected to either the Vernon or the Manners family. This makes the story of Haddon a very personal one and you soon find yourself fascinated by the lives of these two influential families.
Each room has at least one (often more) information board in it, giving you details of the history and development of that particular room and pointing out some of the key features. It's also one of the properties where it's worth buying a guidebook (separately priced at £3.50) as this contains a lot of really interesting extra information about the house and its occupants.
Going around the property will easily take you around at least 75 minutes (and that's if you don't stop too much!) and once you've finished, you can look around the small, ornate gardens which offer some superb views over the surrounding Derbyshire countryside. The tour ends with a small, but interesting museum which displays some of the objects which have been discovered around Haddon.
Although Haddon is very well preserved and has some good pathways, its unparalleled level of historical accuracy might cause a few problems for the less mobile. Significant areas (including the spectacular Long Gallery) is on the upper level and can only be reached by a series of stone steps. These are fairly wide and easy to climb, but if you are infirm you might struggle. Similarly, because many of the pathways and rooms in the property have been well-trodden over the years there are areas where the flooring is a little uneven.
Haddon Hall is one of the more expensive properties, with an adult admission for 2012 costing £9.50 (concessions £8.50, children £5.50). However, given what you get to see, this is exceptionally good value for money. I was more annoyed by the extra £1.50 for the car park, which effectively raises the admission price for one person to £11. I appreciate that this is because you can get into the cafe and surrounding walks without paying the admission fee, but it would have been nice to offer a refund of the parking fee when you buy a ticket to the house? Still, I'm being slightly churlish because even at £11, this spectacular property is worth it. If you live nearby, the regular visitor pass (which allows unlimited entry in anyone year) is tremendous value at just £18.
Facilities at Haddon are pretty standard. There is the usual gift shop, a cafe offering a reasonable selection of basic snacks (although we only had a drink, so can't vouch for its quality; anway, we probably won't be allowed back as Mrs SWSt decided to re-decorate the table with her drink). There are some very clean toilets on the approach to the Hall (there is another ladies toilet just inside the entrance to the Hall, although curiously, none for men). For anything else, you need to go into Bakewell, but this is less than five minutes' drive away.
Mrs SWSt had been banging on for ages about how lovely Haddon Hall was. Now that I've been myself, I can see why. If you are a fan of stunning, atmospheric buildings that drip with history, then you really need to add Haddon Hall to your list of places to visit.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2012
I consider myself quite privileged to live within such easy reach of so many wonderful and exciting places to visit. Last weekend the weather was glorious and we decided to go and see what Haddon Hall had to offer.
Haddon Hall is just two miles South of Bakewell on the A6 - if you have Satnav then the postcode is DE45 1LA.
This is quite an unusual set up, the spacious car park for Haddon Hall is on the opposite side of a very busy road. At the car park you pay £1 a car and you are ushered into a parking space by a courteous attendant, who then hands you a leaflet all about Haddon Hall.
Crossing that busy road (A1)
You must pay great attention when you cross that busy road, the traffic is fast and constant and there are signs displayed that warn of the dangers.
But once you are safely across you then walk on a pavement until you reach the entrance to the Hall. This is only a couple of minutes walk.
Entering Haddon Hall.
Impressive, the gift shop is situated right at the entrance. A little bit further on up the drive you reach a booth where you can buy your tickets.
Haddon Hall is not owned by the National Trust, it is still family owned and the entrance charges are as follows :
A Family ticket £22.50
Regular visitor £16
Then it seems that party rates could well be available for groups of 15 or over.
Guided tours are by special arrangement.
12 noon -5pm.
May to September though closed on the weekend of the 27th and 28th.
Open from the 3-26th October
Open from the 5-13th December 10.30-4pm
You then begin quite a long walk up a slow incline towards the hall, en route you walk over a small bridge and then you are facing the beautiful lodge house.
We had managed to time our visit well and the lodge house was awash with climbing roses all in bloom. If any of you are topiary fans then there are some clever examples in the front garden of the Lodge.
Although the Lodge has a stone wall running around it you feel compelled to stick your head over and take a peep, as expected the garden is chocolate box pretty. Cast your eye at the Lodge and turn toward the Hall and all you will be very grateful that you don't have to clean the thousands of tiny leaded panes of glass.
Before you make your way uphill toward the Hall you can use the loo if you want. Good clean facilities that must have recently been modernised. Ecover handwash ( How posh!) and watercolours hung on the walls.
The Haddon Restaurant.
We decided that coffee was needed before we went any further, it is a standing joke that we only ever go anywhere to have coffee and cake!
The restaurant is situated at the bottom of the hill too, so maybe the owners feel that you should stoke up before you attempt that climb up to the Hall.
There is a flight of stairs which lead up to the small restaurant and I immediately sensed that if you had mobility problems then Haddon Hall may be too challenging.
The small restaurant has plenty of seating, some pretty close together but very manageable. You find a table and then it is self service. There is a good selection of food on offer, both hot and cold. The soup of the day was certainly homemade, it looked good and it smelled even better.
I bought a round of cheese and salad sandwiches, which were garnished beautifully, a plain scone which was clearly homemade and added a small pot containing jam and clotted cream for good measure. I put that on the tray with two cups of large freshly ground coffee and I was charged £9.75 - which I thought was very reasonable.
There is one word that describe the tea rooms well - gentile, if you want to use two words then make the second word gracious.
Very pleasant staff and we thoroughly enjoyed what we ate.
The Uphill Climb.
Then we set off up that hill toward the impressive hall, I was fine but my Mum found it a slight struggle and we took plenty of time out for her to get her breath back.
Then we `peaked`! - only to find that I had mislaid the tickets !
So we sat on a boulder and systematically raided my handbag, my pockets, my clothing - just stopping short of the undies !
Then the tickets reappeared as if by magic and we were on our way again.
The flagstoned square that sits in front of the Hall is so imposing, you can just imagine how life was all of those years ago.
We wanted to see inside of the hall itself first and felt that we could see the chapel on the way out.
Haddon Hall is mentioned in the Domesday Book, a building since the Norman times.
Haddon has been unoccupied at times, once it remained empty for over two hundred years. But in the 1920s the 9th Duke Of Rutland made it a family home again.
You enter the hall and you tend to feel slightly seasick, the hall floors are stone and very uneven stone at that ! So you do have to be careful and keep one eye on the floor.
I am not going to take you on a virtual tour of Haddon Hall, there is far too much to cover.
The only furniture that you see is huge and wooden and very very ancient - but very interesting and photography must be allowed within the hall because we ducked and dived to avoid being snapped.
The kitchens are amazing and have a great story to tell, you can `smell` that Ox roasting on that fire.
Haddon is quite renowned for having a wonderful tapestry collection and they are quite right on this front. Sadly the first couple of wall tapestries that you see were both covered with a fine net which almost rendered them invisible but we have to remember that the fine works of art are old ( to say the very least ) they are frail and on that bright and sunny day would have been damaged by the bright light.
But further on into the hall you do see some of the tapestries in all of their glory, no covers and you can see the millions of hours work that must have gone into each and every one.
Sadly this will be short and sweet, there are few paintings but I saw a life-size charcoal drawing of one of the previous Lady Manners. It was one of those drawings that made you want to stop and take time to see properly.
Wander around the Hall at your leisure, sometimes you may pass a guide who is only too willing to answer any questions and we managed to `earwig` on a guided tour and glean a small amount of information.
But we will leave the hall there and move out into the gardens.
The Gardens at Haddon.
If you love roses, peonies, clematis and all of the other old fashioned flowers then Haddon Hall gardens are for you.
The gardens aren't pruned to within an inch of their lives, in fact there are many areas which have been allowed to grow wild and they are stunning.
Again the gardens would prove very difficult for anyone with mobility problems and I couldn't see that it would be possible to push anyone around in a wheelchair either.
The garden is on many different levels, this of course adds to the beauty of it. The grass is well cared for and the gardeners have just been planting new bedding here there and everywhere.
Lift your head and you can smell the roses in the air, all of the well known bushes and shrubs are there too.
Winding our way back down that hill.
By the time we had walked around those gorgeous gardens and had then had a slow trip back down that hill Mum had all but had enough but she really wanted to look inside of the chapel.
The chapel is calm and very tranquil, yet a notice says that there are Pipistril bats nesting in the roof and they can be noisy.
We sat in the cool chapel and just drank in the peace for a while.
I loved Haddon Hall, it is architecturally beautiful and the gardens are not too contrived.
The whole setting is gloriously peaceful and it is an adults day out.
If I was going to choose a day out for my grandchildren then I don't think that I would take them to Haddon. But unlike many it isn't commercialised and that makes it a highly attractive proposition.
I think the outing cost us somewhere around £30, that was entrance fees and tea.
Maybe when the roses bloom again next year I would well consider revisiting, it was a grand day ( as they say our way!)
I just want to say one more thing - if you are not so fleet of foot or tend to be unsteady on your feet then Haddon Hall may be too much of a challenge for you. The grounds are hilly and are on many different levels, I would never want to put you off visiting but it is better to know beforehand.
The area of Derbyshire I live in is great for anyone with an interest in history. We have some excellent places to visit, including some notable stately homes, historic houses and castles. Chatsworth House is perhaps the most famous, but there are many others that are well worth a look. Bolsover Castle, Hardwick Hall, Peveril Castle and Eyam Hall are good examples of the other places on offer. Today, however, I would like to tell you about Haddon Hall.
~~~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->Manchester 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!
Haddon Hall is a fortified medieval manor house dating from the 12 th Century, and is the home of Lord and Lady Edward Manners whose family have owned it since 1567. Described by Simon Jenkins in 1000 Best houses as "the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages", this remarkable old house is surrounded by terraced Elizabethan gardens and is set amongst the rolling countryside of the Peak District National Park. Haddon has featured in many films and TV programmes including, most recently Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly, Mathew MacFadeyn, and Dame Judy Dench.