Whilst staying near Bakewell, I had a call from one of my oldest and dearest friends. She lives in Sheffield and was planning to visit Chatsworth with a friend, on the Friday. As we had planned to visit on the same day, we were able to combine a lovely day out with a reunion.
The weather was supposed to be reasonable on that day but we packed our waterproofs in our backpacks just in case. Lucky we did as it turned out! Fortunately we were able to provide lunch and hot drinks in the van whilst we awaited an improvement. But, I am ahead of myself…
We drove throughout Chatsworth village, past the farm shop and through the pretty parkland. The house was ahead of us and made an impressive sight.
It is not cheap to get in to Chatsworth but, I had booked online and saved £4. There are no concessions and no annual pass conversion as with Blenheim Palace. However, we made the most of our day and were amongst the last stragglers to leave!
Chatsworth is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. The current Duke and Duchess are very much involved with the estate and indeed, if you have reason to phone, it is the Dukes voicemail message on the answer phone! I discovered that when the lady in the tourist information office made a call on my behalf to ask about the e.ticket.
The house contains works of art dating back 4000 years and also has more modern prices by Lucien Freud, Edmund de Waal and David Nash. Add to that the sheer scale of the place and the opulence and it is really impressive. There are interesting quotes from people, such as builders and decorators, who have worked on the house over the years, displayed on the windows. One of the most impressive features is the 24.5 carat gold on the window frames in the courtyard. The preparation and execution is described in great detail by those who worked on it. Absolutely fascinating.
I was particularly impressed by this sculpture. It looks as though you could wrap the veil around the figure, it was so finely executed.
The many rooms are elaborately decorated, as one would expect in such a grand house.
Before the rain fell upon us in a deluge, we managed to enjoy the maze, the rockery and the long walk. The gardens were first constructed in 1555 by Sir William Cavendish and Bess of Hardwick. Capability Brown had an input in 1758 but there have been othercontributors over the years. Today you can see the 300 year old Cascade, the Willow Tree Fountain and the gravity fed Emperor Fountain. There is also a maze, rockery and rose, cottage and kitchen gardens to enjoy. Unfortunately the heavy rain curtailed our garden exploration.
We only scratched the surface of this magnificent stately home. It would be worth another visit next time we are in the area.