I am a big fan of stately homes and the National Trust here in England. I love to visit these old homes and have a nosey around, learn some history and see how the other half live. This summer we visited Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.
Chatsworth house has become famous due to the association with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (it’s thought that Chatsworth was the house that inspired Austen for Darcy’s home of Pemberly). The house was also used in the 2005 adaptation of the book for Pemberly (so obviously I walked round pretending that I was Elizabeth Bennett). However, the house has many other famous associations such as Kathleen Kennedy, JFK’s sister who married William Cavendish and is buried at Chatsworth.
The house and grounds are beautiful! Even the drive through the Peak District was beautiful! I’m definitely going to have to go back for a walking holiday. Parking is easy and is £3 per car -not including the price of the house. We went round with an audio guide, I always love an audio guide, which provided us with some more information about the house as there are not many signs up explaining the different rooms or the things within them.
The Painted Hall is an impressive way to start your tour around the house. The decorative walls and ceiling and the grand staircase add to the grandeur of the house. This room was very busy when we visited, lots of people were taking pictures on the stairs and this meant that a que was started at the bottom. So be prepared to wait if you want a picture!
Walking around the house I didn’t realise how much art the family owns and commissions. They had multiple exhibitions in the house while going round including their collections. One of the exhibitions dotted around the house was an unusual chair exhibition, celebrating design but also providing seats as you walked round which was delightful. They had many modern pieces placed in the old rooms providing a contrast of the old and new.
The house holds many events throughout the year so check out whats happening when you decide to go. In the winter seasons they hold a christmas market and a ‘Christmas at Chatsworth’ event which looks magical and in the summer they hold many events such as horse riding trials and music fair.
My favourite part of the house was the sculpture gallery. Right at the end of the walk around the house you walk in to this corridor like room with its stone walls and multiple marble statues guide you through. The statues range from replicas to original roman statues. The room does seem to hold the best and the largest of the statues however, they are dotted throughout the house as you go round.
Once finishing our walk around the house we decided to have a picnic in the gardens. You can just pay to enter the gardens and stay for as long as you like, which I’m guessing quite a few locals do. The one thing about going in summer is that you truly do see the gardens at its best. While we were there they had a brass band playing in the gardens which made lunch even more enjoyable. They have multiple sections to the garden, the most famous being the cascade which is well worth a trek up to the top to get the amazing view. There is a maze, a willow waterfall tree, something that looked like pride rock and of course the canal pond with a fountain that can spurt water up to 60ft in the air.
Chatsworth has been a place that I had wanted to visit since I read Pride and Prejudice. Which I guess is why it is so popular today, people want to experience that same sort of feeling that Elizabeth Bennett got when seeing Pemberly for the first time, and its no disappointment.