Although some sections of the building have stood for over 900 years, Haddon Hall is, today, one of the best-preserved examples of a medieval period manor house, not just in the Peak District, but in the whole of Britain. Currently serving as the residence of Lord and Lady Manners, Haddon Hall is also unique in that it has remained the ownership of the same family, the Vernon family, since the 12th century – one of the few stately homes in the country to do so.
Having laid empty throughout most of the 17th and 18th centuries, Haddon Hall maintains much of its pre-Georgian-era characteristics, which can be marvelled at by visitors today; from its 14th century banqueting hall and intricate murals, to its delicate alabaster retablo carvings and perching gargoyles. The Hall also features a sizeable courtyard, a chapel, a long gallery, a restaurant, a gift shop, and rolling gardens which interweave with the surrounding Peak District scenery.
History of Haddon Hall
While visiting the Haddon Estate, it is possible to see evidence of the first ever settlement upon the grounds just above the car park; this Romano Britain-era community, thought to have ceased around the time of the Black Death, was known as Nether Haddon, and its ridge-and-furrow field markings are still visible in the fields located opposite the hall.
The hall itself started life as a Norman fort, which was commanded by the knight William Peverel from the year 1087, who built the Peverel Tower, which remains part of the hall’s main body today. The fort was listed in the Domesday Book, and originally featured a protective wall around its perimeter.
The fort then became possession of the crown in 1153, who in turn granted it to the Avenell family. The Hall, as it stands today, started taking shape in 1170 following the marriage of Avice Avenell and Sir Richard De Vernon, which in turn started the reign of present-day ownership lineage. Many of the Vernons who inherited the property thereafter were high sheriffs and speakers in the house of commons. The wealth that was brought to the house led to the banqueting hall being constructed in 1370, and the chapel in 1427.
Dorothy Vernon (1544-1584) was the air to the home at the time of her father’s death, and having married John Manners, 1st Earl of Rutland, in 1563, the lineage continued in the Manners name. It was during this period that renowned architect, Robert Smythson, was commissioned to create the impressive 110ft Long Gallery, which still attracts visitors to this day.
9th Earl of Rutland, John Manners inherited the hall in 1679, however, having also been heir to Belvoir Castle, he decided not to live at Haddon. This led to the hall being rarely used in the proceeding centuries. It wasn’t until Haddon was inherited by the 9th Duke of Rutland in the 1920s that the hall started used again; the 9th Duke oversaw several restorations of the building and also added the walled garden feature.
Haddon Hall became grade-I listed in 1951.
Things to See & Do at Haddon Hall
The Long Gallery – Haddon Hall’s alluring Long Hall hosts both permanent exhibitions, which detail the extensive history of the building, while also showcasing the work of local and contemporary artists. Most recently, the gallery installed a permanent exhibition which explores the story of the man who saved Haddon Hall, Lord Edward Manners, 9th Duke of Rutland.
Gatehouse Gift and Plant Shop – Haddon Hall’s gift shop specialises in plants but is also where you’ll find a diverse range of souvenirs. The gift shop also sells vouchers for workshops the take place on site, including photography and archery classes.
The Chapel – One of the longest surviving features of Haddon Hall, the Chapel, which can be found in the courtyard, was once the parish church of the former settlement Nether Haddon. Dedicated to St. Nicholas, the chapel is worth exploring for its 15th century murals and wall paintings.
The Restaurant – Located in the former Haddon Hall stables, the restaurant offers extensive breakfast, lunch, and traditional afternoon tea services. The perfect place to relax after exploring the castle, with an excellent view of the River Wye.
Christmas Festivities – Christmas candlelight tours take place every year throughout December at Haddon Hall, which involves mulled wine, mince pies, and a very immersive walk through this ancient building. The restaurant offers an exclusive Christmas menu throughout the festive period. Throughout December, and the hall is also filled with live music and seasonal workshops.
How to Get to Haddon Hall
Directions – Haddon Hall is located 2-miles south of Bakewell and can be reached via the A6.
Address for Satnav – A6, Bakewell, DE45 1LA
Public Transport – Direct bus services run from the train stations at Matlock and Derby via the TransPeak (TP) bus route, which runs hourly; the TransPeak route also runs through Bakewell Bus Station.
Parking – The carpark is located on the opposite side of the A6 from the hall itself, and costs £3.50 per vehicle.
Good to Know
– As of 2020, Haddon Hall is closed until further notice. Check the house’s official website for updates.
– The restaurant provides both gluten-free and vegetarian options.
– Picnics are not permitted on site.
Haddon Hall – 10.30am – 5.00pm (Last admission is 4.00pm)
The Carpark – 10.00am – 5.00pm
The Restaurant – 10.00am – 4.30pm
Adult – £18.50
Concession (Over 60) -£17.00
Student – £15.00
Under 15 – Free!