I’ve been wanting to visit Chatsworth House for years but we’d never even been to Derbyshire. After seeing some of the countryside on the BBC’s Countryfile programme recently we decided that we wouldn’t put it off any longer. Of course Debo Devonshire has been on TV recently too with her most recent book and I’m about to start re-reading some of Nancy Mitford’s books. We set off last Wednesday morning and stayed overnight near Sheffield, another place we hadn’t been to.
We drove into Chatsworth early on Thursday morning, and honestly if I had been a weeping kind of a woman I would have wept. Instead of seeing that beautiful house in all its glory the whole front of the house was swathed in plastic which had scaffolding behind it. What a disappointment! Anyway, such is life and I have to say that apart from that Chatsworth is a fantastic day out. You can see some of the plastic in this photo of the back of the house. The Cavendishes have taken advantage of the scaffolding and tours of it are on at the moment. We were tempted but after spending a long time walking about the grounds and the house we were too tired to take on the scaffolding too!
The grounds were designed by ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1760s, for some reason I learned quite a bit about him in history when I was at school, it was great to be in one of his creations.
This is a photo of one of the many ponds/water features.
This is the rockery which is on a really massive scale, the trees are a big feature of the landscape and are beautiful, I must admit that I’m not very far from being a bit of a tree hugger.
Can you see that there are two darker rectangles of greenery high up on this hill? I’m fairly sure that they are the letters ER which have been seeded in a contrasting green plant there to show the Cavendishes’ allegiance to the Queen but at the moment they don’t look too clear. Maybe they will flower.
This photo is of a seating area which is above a grotto, it’s quite a climb up there but it’s worth it.
I took loads of photos, inside and out, so there are a lot more to come. Obviously the house is a thriving business and a lot of people are being employed there and although I don’t have anything against the National Trust, I still think that a visit to Chatsworth is enhanced by the fact that the family is so involved with the running of it all. They don’t seem to have missed out on many business opportunities along the way although I have to say that as a keen gardener I was disappointed with the garden centre. They could make masses of money selling plants which have been propagated from their plants even if they employed a gardener just for that purpose they would generate far more money than his or her annual wages would cost. When we were there the only plants on offer were a couple of roses, lavender and heuchera (boring old Palace Purple).
I really wanted some plants for my garden as a souvenir of Chatsworth but I didn’t get anything at all. Maybe they normally have a better selection and I was just unlucky.
If you’re planning on visiting Chatsworth you should devote a whole day to it as there’s so much to see. If I were local I would definitely buy a season ticket to the grounds as it’s such a beautiful place to have a picnic or just go for walks. When we were there it was very busy, about half of the visitors seemed to be fellow Scots and the rest of them English, where were all the foreign tourists?
I bought two books in the shop there – a Chatsworth Guide Book and a massive chunkster called Letters Between Six Sisters, the Mitfords obviously, and I think it’ll be very interesting but very awkward to read.