The Peak District and Chatsworth House (part two)

chatsworth-lambsIf you missed part one, catch up here.

Chatsworth House sits on a huge tract of lush, green land, complete with wildlife…like lambs. (Well, maybe the lambs aren’t so wild, since they’re numbered.)

The grounds are beautiful and so large that it would probably take at least a full day to briefly see everything. Maybe two days at a slower pace.

chatsworth-diningI was there for about four hours, which is great if the goal is to see just the main house. During my whirlwind visit, I saw most of the house and a bit of the nearby grounds.

The dining hall is ostentatious in gold and deep red. It’s set up for a formal dinner. There were three forks and knives for each person. It made me feel bad for the poor kitchen staff, doing all those dishes and polishing all that silver by hand.

chatsworth-place-settingHere’s a closer look at one place setting (for His Royal Highness Prince Albert, of course). Would you know when to use each utensil? Thank goodness for Emily Post. Actually, she’s American. So maybe Debrett’s instead…

chatsworth-not-darcyThere is a sculpture gallery with lovely natural light toward the end of the self-guided house tour. After admiring the Chatsworth lions, I could have purchased them in miniature at the huge gift shop housed in the former Orangery.

I didn’t have time to eat at Chatsworth, but reportedly they serve tea in the former stables. Please note that the former stables look so grand that they could be mistaken for part of the main residence. Not that I would ever do that…okay, I did that. But look, it’s got a fancy clock tower on top, and a gold weather vane. Come on!


chatsworth-barnIf I had a do-over for this leg of my trip, I would overnight somewhere nearby like Buxton or Bakewell and spend the full day at Chatsworth. The extra time would be put to use exploring more of the cascade, the kitchen garden, the sensory garden, the rock garden, and long ambles going nowhere in particular.

There’s a stone marker near the base of the cascade that helpfully states “Two miles from west front door via Pinetum and Arboretum.” That’s a lot of ground to cover, right next to the house! They also have a maze. I love mazes. So many photographic opportunities. Another time!

chatsworth-cascadeThe gravity fountain, known as the cascade, is beautiful. Dating back to 1703, a large temple (also called the cascade house) sits at the top of the hill. The temple looks rather small, but the door probably measures around 12 or 13 feet tall. It was built in such a way that the dome can be a waterfall too.

The steps of the cascade were intentionally varied in width and height to produce different sounds as the water progresses down them. The water flows down the cascade and goes underground to a pipe system that supplies the fountains around the house and then drains to the river.

Besides the cascade, there are at least six ponds, a waterfall, and fountains. I would like to walk the path to the far side of the canal pool, to see that iconic view of the house with the canal and the emperor fountain in the foreground.

chatsworth-stairsI’ll leave you with a closer look at those stairs featured so prominently in the Pride & Prejudice movie. I would have climbed all over them. I guess that’s why they were cordoned off.

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