Bess built Hardwick Old Hall in 1587 on the grounds of her father’s medieval manor house. Bess intended for both the old and new hall to complement each other. However, after her death in 1608, the Hardwick estate was passed to her son, William Cavendish who partially dismantled the Old Hall in the 1750s.
In 1789, the lower rooms were still occupied by the house keeper of the New Hall and a family. In the 19th century lead was removed from the roof leading to the hall’s final demise to a ruin.
The Old Hall is managed by English Heritage. As of 2019, the hall can only be viewed from the outside but there is a small exhibition and shop. Parking is £5 (free for EH and NT members). The EH website states that entry is £6.80, but there was a sign which said the exhibition was free entry when I visited. I assume when the restoration work is complete, there will be a charge again. The EH website also states that the hall is closed Monday and Tuesday, but as only the exterior is currently viewable, I think as long as the park is open (managed by the National Trust), you can have a walk to the old hall ruins.