Haddon Hall has been heralded a gem, named by many as one of the most enchanting houses in England. There is no arguing on both accounts. Haddon has history flowing through its veins, seeping out of every nook and cranny, filling the imagination of those that pass through its doors with glimmers of what life was once like. It is the embodiment of the medieval period and is one of the finest examples of a medieval manor house in existence. Situated along the River Wye, a short distance from Bakewell here in Derbyshire, the county I call home.
Haddon Hall is as perfectly preserved a medieval manor house as you will find anywhere. An enchanting time capsule that will transport you back in time. The origins of the hall date back to the 11th century, the house boasting a full medieval kitchen, a Tudor long gallery, a 14th century banqueting hall complete with minstrels’ gallery and Elizabethan gardens.
A Brief History Of Haddon Hall
Once home to the Peveril family after the Norman conquest in the 11th century, it has been in the possession of the Manners family for over five centuries. The Manners moved up the social ranks, becoming Earls and then Dukes of Rutland. As Dukes, they moved their main seat to Belvoir Castle whilst keeping Haddon Hall in their possession, yet leaving it unused for the larger part of two centuries. As such, it managed to escape ‘improvements’ and has been left trapped in time; a glorious glimpse into the past, pulling at the heart strings of all those who visit.
In 1912, the 9th Duke of Rutland realised the importance of this wonderful property and began restoration, making it inhabitable once more. Haddon is remarkably well preserved for a building so old, still having most of its original features owing to much of its charm. The courtyard is higgledy piggledy, not a single stone seeming straight or flat, steps at an angel; grooves worn into them over the centuries as feet pass over them day after day. To the right hand side is the Chapel, perfectly preserved, looking much as it did centuries before. Walls decorated with drawings made long ago. Just inside the entrance of the house is the old banqueting hall, a 14th century marvel complete with minstrels’ gallery, grand open fireplace and dark Tudor oak wood panelling. Beyond lies the dining room and a little further the Elizabethan long gallery giving views into the spectacular gardens. The kitchens are astounding, unchanged since they were last used; holes worn through work surfaces where kitchen maids worked diligently, providing sumptuous feasts. Close your eyes and you can still see the kitchens in use.
Can You Go Inside Haddon Hall?
Absolutely! Haddon has truly got to be seen to be believed. You need to go and soak up the atmosphere this house emanates and let it mesmerize your senses. If you are in Derbyshire then make sure to plan your visit to this wonderful piece of English history. Click here for seasonal opening times, however they are usually open daily from April through to December. My particular favourite time to visit is in June when all the roses are in bloom and they creep up the exterior walls and decorate it like a living wallpaper, giving out the most wonderful scent; the very essence of summer. Or perhaps take a tour by candlelight at Christmas. Whenever you choose to pay a visit, you are guaranteed to be taken under the spell of Haddon Hall.
How To Get To Haddon Hall From London, Chesterfield, Matlock and Derby
The easiest way by far to reach Haddon Hall in Derbyshire is by car. If you don’t have your own car then I highly recommend this place for rentals. It would certainly be handy as the gorgeous market town of Bakewell is just down the road, as is the stunning village of Ashford-in-the-Water (read my post here for further info and photos) and of course, the impressive Chatsworth House. Being able to drive would allow you to visit more of this fantastic corner of Derbyshire.
If a car isn’t a possible transport method then there is also train links and bus options available.
Getting To Haddon Hall By Road
Haddon is situated on the A6 between Bakewell and Rowsley, just a couple of miles south of Bakewell. If you are approaching from Rowsley, you will find the dedicated Haddon Hall car park on the left, on the road opposite Haddon Hall (you will have to cross over the road on foot to reach the entrance to the hall). The charge for parking is £2 for all day.
Getting To Haddon Hall By Public Transport
There are fantastic train links from London St Pancras via Chesterfield, Matlock or Derby.
London to Chesterfield: This route has a direct train taking roughly 1 hour 45 minutes. Click here to find train times. From Chesterfield you will need to catch the number 170 bus which will take you as far as Bakewell. From there you can either take a couple of minutes taxi drive or walk along the footpath between Bakewell and Haddon.
London to Matlock: This route will require one change on the train line. Once you get to Matlock station there is a bus station directly outside where you can catch a bus which will stop directly outside Haddon Hall. Click here to find train times from London to Matlock.
London to Derby: The train is direct to Derby and takes on average 1 hour 30 minutes. Click here to find times. From Derby, you can either catch a train to Matlock and follow the above directions or catch the 6.1 bus service (Derby to Bakewell service) from Derby bus station that will take you all the way to Haddon.
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