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Chatsworth House

One of the best things about the UK is that is has really embraced its history and preserved great estates like Chatsworth House, for the public to enjoy.

Located in the heart of the Peak District, Chatsworth House [map] was the home of the dukes of Devonshire. Known as the ‘Palace of the Peaks’, this magnificent house is now a treasure trove of art, craftsmanship and history, with plenty to offer visitors of all ages.

Built on land purchased by Sir William Cavendish for £600, work started on this great house in the mid 1500s. However Cavendish died before its completion so never got to see the house in all its glory. It was however passed down through the family and became the home of the 1st Duke of Devonshire in 1618.

Today the house tells the 450-year story of this family, and visitors can explore the oak and marble décor in the 26 rooms open to the public (there are 175 in total), wonder at the furniture and tapestries on display in the magnificently adorned rooms, and marvel at one of the finest private art collections in Europe that includes work by Rembrandt, Lanseer, Gainsborough and Freud.

A trip to Chatsworth House is not just about the building though as the house is accompanied by 105 acres of landscaped gardens that feature fountains, rose gardens, streams and ponds. These gardens were added around 70 years after the house was initally built, under the ‘capable’ direction of Lancelot Brown, one of England’s greatest landscape gardeners. Nicknamed Capability Brown because he was always telling people their gardens had “great capabilities”, he was employed by several landed families in the 18th century and worked on the gardens at Blenheim Palace, Kew Gardens, Warwick Castle, Bowood House.

If you’re planning a trip with little ones there’s plenty on site to keep them interested. When the paintings and the beauty of the house is lost on them, they could try the outdoor maze, paddle in the Cascade when the weather is fine, enjoy a picnic in the 1,000-acre park, visit the Woodland Adventure Playground or visit the animals in The Farmyard.

Even if you’re not visiting with children there are plenty of other things on site to enjoy including a guided tour of the house, fly-fishing and a meal at the Carriage House restaurant and bar, as well as a variety of shops selling items from china to children’s books.

Chatsworth House is around a 30-minute drive from Sheffield and is open from 11am most days of the year. The park is free to use however admission charges apply to the enter the house itself and other attractions. Check the Chatsworth House website for more details.

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