We had a fantastic day out at Renishaw Hall and Gardens last week. Everyone has heard of Chatsworth, Haddon Hall and Hardwick Hall, but a visit to Renishaw Hall, home to the famous literary Sitwell family offers something quite different. The rooms are packed with interesting furniture, tapestries and paintings, but this is very much a family home and we were lucky
enough to be shown round by Alexandra Sitwell, granddaughter of Sacheverell Sitwell and niece of authors Edith and Osbert Sitwell. She told us family anecdotes and explained why one of the medieval Venetian carved statues is wearing a pair
of glasses whilst his counterpart is sporting a handbag! (You will have to pay a visit to find out for yourself!)
After the house tour, we walked around the gardens which were looking fantastic in the autumn sunshine. Last time we visited, camellias and bluebells were in bloom. This time the roses and herbaceous borders provided a wonderful contrast to the clipped hedges and manicured lawns. It’s hard to believe that when Alexandra’s great grandfather, George Sitwell planned the
formal gardens in the classical Italianate style, he didn’t want any flowers to distract the eye from the yew hedges, pyramids and antique statues. Apparently his sons Osbert and Sacheverell would goad him by walking up and down the garden with potted plants and a trowel saying loudly, “So where shall we plant these?”
We finished off the day with homemade quiche, salad and cake in the buttery, situated in the former stable block. What struck us was not just the quality of the food and drink, (we sampled an extremely good, crisp white wine from Renishaw’s own vineyard), but the value for money. This is not a place where you will feel ripped off!
From 3rd to 18th December, Renishaw Hall will be open every day for guided festive tours. The rooms will be “dressed” for Christmas and for the first time, the gardens will be open for winter walks.
With homemade soup, mulled wine and mince pies as well as teas and coffees also on offer, carol singing and a special gift shop selling Christmas gifts, Renishaw Hall offers all you need for a special day out in the run up to Christmas.
Click here for opening times and visitor information