Sunday, February 6, 2011

The one & only Chatsworth House

If I ever go back to England (which I hope to!) I must, without a doubt, go back to Chatsworth House. It had to be my absolute favorite palace we visited. I love history to begin with but this place absolutely captivated me. Everything was postcard-worthy. Chatsworth is still the home of the current Duke & Duchess of Devonshire. You might recognize it from the movies "The Duchess" and "Pride & Prejudice" and probably a few others!

We actually did Chatsworth the first day we arrived in the Peak District but I decided it really needed it's own post due to all of the photos I took.

First I have to tell you, when we first arrived in Bakewell, someone told us there was "a path" that you could walk that would take you to Chatsworth house. I think by now we'd learned our lesson and knew that it was a) probably much further than implied and b) if we walked there, we likely wouldn't make it there on time and would end up stuck there in the dark. So we took a taxi.
Our taxi driver was really quite funny. We were driving to Chatsworth and we got chatting about deer, we had said that our deer were much bigger than those in England. Then I asked if they had hedgehogs and where a good spot to see them is. His response was "Yes we do, but you usually only see them when they're "stuck" to the road".... Oooh. I was hoping to see a live one.

Upon arrival at Chatsworth we decided we were starving and needed lunch to start off with. The stables have been turned into a restaurant & gift shop. Part of them still remain as stables but not much. I can just imagine this full of horses though. I love the big open stable blocks with the fountain in the middle and the big statue. Gorgeous! The stables were actually quite a walk up the hill from the house itself.

After that we went in to tour the house. Lucky for us (and for you!) we were allowed to take photos inside the house. It is absolutely gorgeous and has many famous paintings on it's walls. Coming in to the house you're met with the grand staircase.

In every room there are fantastic sculptures and artwork.

This one was almost a little bit eerie.

I found myself wandering through the house in awe (and likely with my mouth hanging open! lol)

I got to thinking how long it would take to create a carving like this (it's all wood)

And then I thought to myself, can you imagine how many man hours went into the house and all of it's furnishings? So many people had a part in making this house what it is today.

This is the private garden of the current Duke & Duchess of Devonshire. You might recognize it from scenes in "The Duchess" if you've seen the movie.

Apparently, there used to be a town in view of Chatsworth house but the Duke at the time didn't like seeing it. So he had the town moved out of view of Chatsworth. Can you imagine, moving an entire town because you don't like to look at it???

Not only were we allowed to see the house but we got to see the D & Dss's jewels.

Yes please!

Quite the library, wouldn't you say?

It's hard to imagine anyone actually living here, it seems so much like a museum.

The current Duke & Duchess do still live here though. Not in this part though, they have a wing of the house that's private. We did however meet the Duchess as we toured the house! We had just finshed reading about the family and were walking down a hall when a lady came out of a private door with her little dog. She said hello and we said hello back but it took us a few seconds to realize who we'd just seen!

You might recognize this room from Pride & Prejudice (the new one). Chatsworth was the scene for Mr. Darcy's house.

Apparently at one point, one of the Duke's believed all of this to be worthless rubbish. He didn't like the statues at all and put them away in a basement until they were rediscovered and their value realized.
Oh and there's Meg!

These are only a few of the photos I took inside the house, it was absolutely amazing. This is also where I learned of Georgiana, the 5th Duchess of Devonshire. Her story is absolutely fascinating. To sum it up, she was married at 17 to the Duke, who was very cold, didn't pay much attention to her. His goal in life was to produce an heir. He had many, many affairs (of which Georgiana knew about). The Duchess made the mistake of introducing her best friend to her husband, which resulted in an affair between the two. A 25 year affair. The mistress moved in with them and lived there until Georgiana's death, when she jumped in and married the Duke. She was very hated my many. Right now I'm reading Georgiana's biography and it's very very interesting. I'd highly recommend it.

Tomorrow's post will be on Chatsworth's gardens.


  1. Amazing tour! I recently watched the movie "The Duchess" and very much would like to read Georgiana's biography. Thanks for sharing these photos :)

  2. I'd highly recommend it! I got my copy off of for about $7 I think?