Of the dozens of historic “Great Houses” enriching England’s countryside, Chatsworth, the centuries-old home of the Duchess and the late Duke of Devonshire, is one of the most impressive. It has some 300 rooms open to the public, including lavish state apartments decorated with a wealth of art treasures. There are also important gardens landscaped by the ubiquitous Lancelot “Capability” Brown in the 1760s; the equally esteemed Joseph Paxton turned them into some of the most celebrated gardens in all of Europe a century later.
Set in the verdant folds of the Derwent Valley, this Baroque palace was built in the late 17th century, as were parts of the famous gardens, notably its striking Cascade House of forced waterfalls. Many generations of dukes have added to the prodigious art collection. Paintings by such masters as Tintoretto, Veronese, and Rembrandt are here, and the present duke and duchess have enhanced the Chatsworth’s painted hall collection with more contemporary works, including that of their friend Lucian Freud. Visitors to the 100-acre garden (within a 1,000-acre parkland) should visit the chapel first, one of the finest Baroque interiors in all of England.
WHAT: site. Where: 150 miles/241 km north of London , 4 miles/6 km east of Bakewell. Cost: admission. when: open daily, mid Mar-Oct. best times: May and Sept for the gardens.