Hardwick Hall

[size=12]Had a fantastic day with friends out at Hardwick Hall - link here to the National Trust website page for this property - http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-hardwickhall

We parked in the car park next to the Hall and walked down to the lakes past the fishing ponds to see what wildlife was around. Surprised to find quite a lot and maybe we should have been there before!

What looked like a young greenfinch was hopping around on the woodland floor eating grass and leaves - eventually flew/hopped out of site but managed to get some shots of it first. Then we found a pair of Great Crested Grebes on one of the lakes with 3 young (are they grebelings?) and I have posted my best shot of the day in the birds gallery http://www.gfcphotography.co.uk/photo9499166.html

Hardwick Hall is one of the most splendid houses in England. It was built by Bess of Hardwick in the 1590s and has her ES in stone at the top of the hall. It has remained unaltered since but with its huge windows and high ceilings it feels very modern. Its six towers make a dramatic skyline and climbing through the house from one floor to the next it is a thrilling architectural experience. The rooms contain rich tapestries, plaster friezes and alabaster fireplaces and the highlight is the hauntingly atmospheric Long Gallery.

There is also a Stone Centre - you can explore the old ruins and there is a wonderful tea room and restaurant.

The parkland as we discovered is amazing - you can park at the bottom of the hill rather than have to (as we did) climb back to the top of the hill at the end of the day.[/size]