Fodor's Expert Review Hardwick Hall
Few houses in England evoke the late Elizabethan era as vividly as Hardwick Hall, a beautiful stone mansion and walled gardens 10 miles east of Matlock. The vast state apartments well befit their original chatelaine, Bess of Hardwick, who, by marrying a succession of four rich husbands, was second only to Queen Elizabeth in her wealth when work on this house began. Unique patchwork hangings, probably made from clerical copes and altar frontals taken from monasteries and abbeys, grace the entrance hall, and superb 16th- and 17th-century tapestries cover the walls of the main staircase and first-floor High Great Chamber. Access is signposted from Junction 29 of the M1 motorway.