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Chatsworth House Review
Glorious parkland leads to the ancestral home of the dukes of Devonshire and one of England's greatest country houses. The vast expanse of greenery, grazed by deer and sheep, sets off the Palladian-style elegance of "the Palace of the Peak." Originally an Elizabethan house, Chatsworth was conceived on a monumental scale. It was altered over several generations starting in 1686, and the architecture now has a hodgepodge look, though the Palladian facade remains splendid. The house is surrounded by woods, elaborate gardens, greenhouses, rock gardens, and the most famous water cascade in the kingdom—all designed by two great landscape artists, Capability Brown in the 18th century and, in the 19th century, Joseph Paxton, an engineer as well as a brilliant gardener. The gravity-fed Emperor Fountain can shoot as high as 300 feet. Perennially popular with children, the farm has milking demonstrations at 3 and an adventure playground. Plan on at least a half day to explore the grounds; avoid Sunday if you prefer not to be with the heaviest crowds.
Inside are intricate carvings, Van Dyck portraits, superb furniture, and a few fabulous rooms, including the Sculpture Gallery, the library, and the Blue Drawing Room, where you can see two of the most famous portraits in Britain, Sir Joshua Reynolds's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and Her Baby, and John Singer Sargent's enormous Acheson Sisters. Chatsworth is 4 miles northeast of Bakewell.
- Address: Off B6012, Bakewell, DE45 1PP | Map It
- Phone: 01246/582204
- Cost: House, gardens, and farm £20; house and gardens £15; gardens only £10
- Hours: Mid-Mar.--late Dec., house daily 11--5:30, gardens daily 11--6, farmyard daily 10:30--5:30; last admission 1 hr before closing
- Website: www.chatsworth.org
- Location: Bakewell
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