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
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
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
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.