Hardwick’s visitors can now enjoy an elevated position

Visitors to an Elizabethan mansion in Derbyshire are now able to scale new heights, thanks to the installation of a new rooftop walkway.

The experience has been launched at Hardwick Hall as part of building conservation work.

Visitors can now climb the original 136 steps of the North Stairs, built between 1590 and 1597, and emerge amongst the chimneys and turrets, to experience the full impact of the hall’s position on the top of the ridge overlooking the countryside. 

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Bess of Hardwick built the internationally recognised mansion in the 16th century and during her time she would invite important guests to ‘take the leads’ as they leisured on the roof, named because of lead being used for the roof material.

New Roof Experience at Hardwick Hall, Near Chesterfield..Tour Guide Ken Noble pictured on the roof.

Nigel Wright, house and collections manager, said: “We’re very excited to be launching roof tours, enabling visitors to ‘take the leads’, as they would have done over 400 years ago.”

Hardwick’s elevated position leaves it open to the elements. This has meant that for centuries it has needed a constant programme of repair and replacement of its walls, balustrades, roofs and windows.