more pictures after the jump:-
The old hall is owned by English Heritage, so you will have to pay an extra fee if you want to visit. National Trust and English Heritage members to get in for free.
The ruin was the childhood home of Elizabeth Shrewsbury, the medieval manor was replaced by her fashionable Elizabethan estate which can be viewed from the top floor of the old hall.
Some people questioned why Bess wanted to keep the old hall as it was reminder that she came from 'humble' origins. The price of entry includes and audio tour, which is worth a listen to as it has information about the history of the architecture, plus some amusing quotes about Bess' character by her 4th husband.
It's a fair climb to the top of the old hall, but the views across the surrounding landscape are lovely. You'll need to watch out for bird poo though, it's all over the stairs and I got some on my coat.
Some of the original plasterwork as survived, it is forest themed and Bess liked it so much she recreated it in her new house.
If you're short time (or funds), you could give the old hall a miss, but it worth a quick scoot round to see the views of the new Hardwick and the grounds.