Without a doubt, Chatsworth House is one of England’s finest stately homes, and the handsome yellow stone building is the premier tourist attraction of Derbyshire’s Peak District. Set in a 1000 acre park, landscaped by the famed ‘Capability’ Brown, Chatsworth is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. As well as opening its doors to visitors who wish to tour the house and grounds, Chatsworth holds many events throughout the year, including flower shows, a wedding fair, guided walks, the Dodson and Horrell International Horse Trials, food fairs, garden parties and more.
Work began on Chatsworth in the mid-16th century, after Sir William Cavendish was gifted the land as a reward for his work in dissolving the monasteries. Sir William died before the original house was finished and its completion was left to his wife Bess of Hardwick.
The first Duke of Devonshire later rebuilt the house in the classical style that you see today, and other additions—notably the north wing and the library—were commissioned by the 6th Duke.
Chatsworth has hosted many famous people throughout the centuries, with its most famous guest (actually prisoner) being Mary Queen of Scots.
Chatsworth House and Gardens
The house has 126 rooms and over 30 are open to the public. The Painted Hall is possibly the most breathtaking room in the house. Spanning two stories, the hall features vividly coloured murals on the walls and ceiling depicting the ascension of Julius Caesar and other scenes from his life.
In the Sculpture Gallery, you can view works of arts from ancient Egypt and Rome, as well as more modern works like Damien Hirst’s bronze sculpture of St Bartholomew.
Chatsworth’s garden covers 105 acres and is home to the incredible Emperor fountain, the magical water cascade and an intricate yew maze.
If you’re in need of refreshment while you wander around, you can stop off and pick up sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks at the tea shop located in the gardens, or enjoy a sumptuous meal at one of several restaurants in the house and stable buildings.
The Farmyard and Adventure Playground
Behind the house, you’ll find two attractions that your children will love: a farmyard and an adventure playground!
Children can meet ponies, pigs, lambs, goats and chickens, and if you book a young farmer’s session, you can muck in and help to take care of the animals. Every day at 3:30 p.m. there’s a milking demonstration in the farmyard, and at the weekends and during school holidays you can take a trailer ride and learn more about the farmyard and the estate.
In the adventure playground, kids can burn off their energy on slides, climbing frames, scramble nets, trampolines, and have some fun in the sand pits.
At Chatsworth you can plan your visit to suit your interests. If you want to see everything, then you can purchase a Complete ticket, or you can choose to buy tickets for just the garden, the farmyard and the adventure playground, or the house and garden. Whatever you choose to do, a visit to Chatsworth is one that you’ll remember for a long time to come, and many people find it such an enjoyable experience that they return, year after year.