Another lively day out from our fabulous guest blogger Gilly.
This time she’s been to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, an easy day trip for us here in MancLand. Last time I was in Derbyshire, I was in a hot tub – but I’ll let Gilly tell you all about that and her trip across the boarder…….
The last time I was near Chatsworth was for a certain 4Manchester Woman Editor’s hen weekend.
I ducked out on a trip then – mostly because the lure of the hot tub and a glass of champagne were, at the time, greater than a wander round one of the most lovely and historic estates on our doorstep. I got another chance recently when invited to spend a couple of days with a good friend, who was taking her caravan to Derbyshire for Easter.
Now, those who know me well will know that whilst I am in love with old VW campervans -and can wax lyrical on the merits of a splitty over a bay – when it comes to actual camping I am really a fair weather girl, and if the mercury has not risen high enough for this lively lass – forget it! So, with the forecast predicting cold and wet (it was a Bank Holiday weekend) I declined her offer of a camp bed, but happily signed up for a day trip to the Chatsworth estate.
Driving over the A623 I was struck by the beauty of our countryside in the early morning; the sun glinting off the last remains of the recent snow, and lush green rolling hills framing my view of the road ahead. Today was going to be a good day.
Arriving in Baslow I met my friends just in time for breakfast. We fortified ourselves for the day ahead with a full English at the Café on the Green (which comes highly recommended) and then headed for Chatsworth.
Now I’m not a massive history buff, but my love affair with Mr Darcy (the Matthew Macfadyen version) is as strong as most other red-blooded women, and the lure of walking through the same rooms he did (Chatsworth was used as Pemberley, the residence of Darcy) was great, so I was champing at the bit waiting for the gates to open and let us in! I was also intrigued to see how much of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was still in evidence in the house having enjoyed Keira Knightley’s portrayal in the film ‘The Duchess’.
The house did not disappoint. A mix of history through the ages and knowledgeable staff on hand with anecdotes of Dukes and Duchesses past and present made for a very interesting couple of hours. Wandering out through the strategically placed gift shop – which offered some excellent gifts – we stopped for a well-earned cuppa, where we shared our magnificent view of the gardens with hundreds of ducks!
Fortified once more we set off to explore. Unfortunately the weather was a bit unpredictable, and despite some earlier sunshine, the clouds were now rolling in. There are 105 acres of garden to explore, and a great Hidden Gems walking tour of the main sites that will take about an hour over a variety of terrain (not all suitable for pushchairs) as well as a more child-friendly Little Explorers Trail. We however were headed for the Grotto. Our route took in some of the main garden features – the Maze, Human Sundial, Willow Tree Fountain and a variety of fascinating sculptures along the way.
Sitting a while to enjoy the view, I was struck by what a magical place Chatsworth is. You can almost feel the past coming to life in the way the house and gardens has been shaped by each new Duke and Duchess, adding their own unique touches, and preserving this glorious place for generations to come. I would highly recommend you go and find out for yourselves.
Photographs: Gill Raine
This is not a sponsored blog post.
Other blogs by Gilly: