Weekend in Leeds, part 2 – Hardwick Hall

After Nostell yesterday, we then headed to Hardwick Hall. Although pretty cloudy (see below), it was stunning. This year, the house is celebrating its association with Arbella Stuart, niece of Mary, Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick’s protegee. Bess, Arbella’s grandmother, built the house and attempted throughout Arbella’s youth to realise her not insubstantial claim to the English throne. Arbella had other ideas, however, and ended up imprisoned in the Tower after a secret marriage.

Hardwick Hall

Gripping as it is, the experience of the house runs alongside and yet beyond these two fiesty Elizabethan women. Built in 1590, the house is one of the earliest examples of English Renaissance architecture, and seems to herald the arrival of the ‘country house’. Its very structure has been built to accommodate the more traditional hierarchy of master and servant, with very separate living quarters and ceiling height and scale to reflect the seniority of that room’s inhabitants. It also sees a move toward the more decorative architectural style, and a departure from the fortifications of castles of old.

Bedroom at Hardwick Hall

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Weekend in Leeds, part 1 – swans and statues at Nostell Priory

Today on the blog we have two very special properties to help you make the most of that National Trust membership! (Even without it, entry fees were reasonable.)

We have a family in Leeds, so headed up there for the weekend. First stop was Nostell Priory, featuring a beautifully symmetrical exterior… [although, if you look closely, you’ll notice some damage on the left-hand side from a fire in 1980]

Nostell Priory

And an interesting lighting project, From Gloom to Glow, where they cast light on previously hidden objects. It certainly made for some dramatic photographs!

Gloom to Glow statue at Nostell Priory

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Weekend in the Cotswolds, Sunday – animals everywhere at Cotswold Farm Park

So I grew up in the countryside. Next to a farm, in fact. But after a few years in London it’s a bit exciting to go to a farm park… Especially one where you can hold bunnies, since that just doesn’t happen on normal farms.

As a result, on day two of our Cotswold adventure, we visited the Cotswold Farm Park. Tickets were a little expensive, at £9.25 each, but there was plenty to see.

We [she] definitely didn’t elbow any children out of the way to cuddle these bunnies:

Bunny at Cotswold Farm Park

Or these chicks (their feathers were so soft!)

Chick at Cotswold Farm Park

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