Visit to Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle

took the twins to Bolsover Castle and Hardwick hall.  They love castles so much that I joined English Heritage which lets you get into these places for free.  I haven’t been to Bolsover castle since I was a kid and my mum told me the other day that I loved them when I was young so seems the boys are following in my footsteps!

Was quite interesting for me too to see the baking ovens built into the walls etc – going to put one of those in the prancing pony I think!

View from the top of the old hall


13 Responses to “Visit to Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle”

  1. Mum Says:

    Do you remeber the range in the wash-house at Pipworth? I always wanted a house with a working range in it, never got one sadly. Maybe my log cabin should have one. Warwick Castle is a great one to visit if the boys would stand the journey A day with a joust would be fun but horrendous for people.
    love you xxx

    • Maddie Chambers Says:

      nope don’t remember the range at all – I remember the coal box and lots of spiders lol!
      Warwick castle isn’t part of English heritage (not sure why!!??) but my book says I can get 50% off entrance. They do jousts at Bolsover castle but I just shudder at the prospect of all those people and trying to keep track of the boys lol

  2. Paul Says:

    Hey there! 🙂 I have fond memories of Bolsover Castle, having done one of the nest re-enactment events ever there many years ago. If you wanted somewhere interesting to go for kitchen/oven references, then you could do worse than Haddon Hall ( Unlike the English Heritage/National Trust places, it’s in private hands which mean the original Medieval kitchen still gets used! I should know, I’m part of the group that gets to cook Tudor meals in it!! 😀

    Really looking forward to seeing how The Prancing Pony comes on, and you’ve really inspired me to try my hand at the Tudor Dolls House I’ve been promising my missus for an age. Keep up the great work, Maddie.

    Paul. x

    • Maddie Chambers Says:

      ahhh I went to Haddon hall with school many moons ago – will have to look again!
      and wow u cook tudor meals in it? excellent !!!!!
      I definitely think you should start the tudor dolls house then u can give me tips when I get stuck lol

  3. Paul Says:

    I belong to a re-enactment group which was lucky enough to be invited to Haddon Hall about 3 years ago for an event, and the fools keep inviting us back! 😀 We do a single meal, about 12-20 dishes, which is then presented with the proper etiquette. It’s all good fun and educational for the public.

    How do you sort out layout for your Middle Earth projects? I mean, is there a book of floorplans or are you making it up by obsessively re-viewing the films/reading the books? (what an excuse! 😉 )

    • Maddie Chambers Says:

      Oh wow that sounds so great – when the kids are older we will have to come along to one of those meals

      There isn’t a book of floorplans unfortunately! Tolkien said Bag End was a long tunnel with rooms to either side, and he drew a little sketch of the plan, but it had at least 14 rooms and that just wasn’t practical so I followed the film for the entrance leading to the ‘study’ then it should have really carried on straight into the kitchen, but then the front door wouldn’t be in the middle of the structure and I really wanted it to be, so I just had to improvise and follow the book as closely as I could with the description of the interior of rooms. I wanted it to be nearly square and a set size so that it would fit in my spare room.

      With the Prancing Pony (next project) I have just made it up out of my head – 3 floors (basement for food/ale storage and preparation) ground floor with the Bar and hobbit bedroom and a couple of rooms upstairs for the big folk. It really has to be quite compact as I have no free rooms at all now, so it will have to be on the dining room table for the foreseeable future! The movie doesn’t really show any pictures of the outside of the Inn. I have a book ‘the artwork of the fellowship of the rings’ and there are some concept drawings and I have just merged ideas from that and my own brain. I will be following the book for all the food that the hobbits eat whilst there and other things that Tolkien describes. There is much more scope for my imagination here though because it isn’t described in as much detail as Bag End. I will post my very first rough draft sketch of prancing pony – don’t laugh, the drawing is pretty pants but u get the idea lol

      • Paul Says:

        SAdly the food can’t be sampled by the public, just us re-enactors. Health, safety and food hygene regulations get everywhere! 😛

        I’d love to see that sketch, no matter how pants! Seeing the finished model is great, but the evolution of a project is half the story. 🙂 Most of my own research is 16th/17th century based, but I have a couple of books on alehouses of the Tudor & Stuart period. I know Tolkien liked to ground his stories in a believable, pseudo-historical setting borrowing from the past, so if you wanted to do the same let me know. 8)

      • Maddie Chambers Says:

        aw shame about the food – stupid regulations!
        I have uploaded the sketch

        The books sound interesting – I bought a book on Tudor and Stuart dolls houses but it isnt really about dolls houses just photos and descriptions of tudor and stuart houses, how they were built, what with, what the rooms were like etc. So I am doing some research to try and make it believable. Of course the great thing is that I don’t have to stick to anything rigidly apart from my imagination!

  4. The Mad Hatter Says:

    Wonderful pictures. I accidentally clicked on one, and got it blown up. Fantastic detail. Felt like I was with Tony Robinson and Phil Harding on a dig. I live in Canada, so we don’t have any castles, but I’m a big fan of Time Team, which our local educational station TVO broadcasts, and damn, now I want to move to England! Course the wife would insist on Stoke…

    • Maddie Chambers Says:

      thanks!! they were only taken on my phone so nowhere near as good quality as the real thing. The castles etc over here are great and they quite often have ‘time team’ days where you can go and speak to experts and have a go at mini digs etc etc
      you would love it!

  5. Wilhelm Daniel Says:

    Dear Maddie……I live in Wisconsin USA and been thinking of building me a Full size Hobbit Hole where one could actually live in. After looking at your Doll House Photos, I’m pretty sure it’s feasible with a few modifications to pass inspection. Anyways, I was wondering if you could PDF me a Birds Eye View Drawing or ruff blueprint of your Doll House.
    Tnx in advance for your time and effort.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

    • Maddie Chambers Says:


      I’m afraid I do not have adobe to be able to send a pdf, but honestly the floor plan is just a rectangular box divided into 6 rooms – if you want to design a house to live in, then you would need to make all sorts of modifications – ie more bedrooms, a corridor (because in my miniature house the only access to the bedroom is via the bathroom) etc
      I will email you the ‘floor plan’ that I used but I’m afraid you will be very disappointed because it is only a box with lines inside it lol


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