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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 6.00pm on Monday 2 October until 8.00am on Tuesday 3 October: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

History of Hardwick Park

Hardwick Park is an 18th century Grade II listed site with many historical features to discover.

A grand vision 

In the 18th century, John Burdon set about transforming the Hardwick Estate into his own pleasure grounds. To help him achieve his vision he employed James Paine, a leading architect of the time. Their grand plan was to create a garden that, although heavily engineered, was meant to look completely natural. It was a huge step away from the formal gardens of the past. Burdon and Paine created ornamental buildings, ruins, lakes and woodland which looked like they had always been part of the landscape. The Serpentine river was created from a number of ponds, as a slow-flowing artificial river through the park.

The historic circuit walk

The buildings and structures in Hardwick Park were designed to be experienced from a circuit walk, set around a lake and an artificial river. Classical buildings (their styles becoming more complex and decorative as the route progressed) alternated with Gothic structures. The classical buildings were carefully finished and situated in open areas, while the Gothic structures were situated in dark and gloomy surroundings, roughly finished and designed to look old and ruined. Each structure was sited to link with the others.

Restoration project

John Burdon died in 1792, and by the late 19th century the Hardwick estate had fallen on hard times. The buildings decayed, the lake silted up and the magical views became overgrown with trees and undergrowth until 1999 when we embarked on a project to return the grounds to their former glory.

The project came about thanks to a £4.1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the reconstruction and restoration of the Lake, Serpentine River and Cascade, the classical Temple of Minerva, the Gothic Ruin, the Gothic Seat and the Bono Retiro began.

Work was completed in 2010.

Visitor Attraction Quality Marque

In partnership with

  • Visitor Attraction Quality Marque