Victoria Visits: Chatsworth

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I’ve spent the past week up in Derbyshire with my mum. We normally go to Bath for our annual holiday, but this year we thought we’d change it up and headed up the M1 to Baslow.

For those who don’t know, Baslow is a small village in the Peak District. It sits right on the edge of Chatsworth estate, which is why we decided to stay there. We like a good stately home and Chatsworth isn’t just an amazing house, it’s got a lot of excellent walks round the grounds, including a sculpture trail (of which more later).

The village itself is beautiful, with the buildings being made of this wonderful stone – even the new builds are constructed of this, or something similar to it, so they don’t clash with the older buildings.

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We stayed at The Cavendish in Baslow, and oh my goodness, what a wonderful hotel. I was instantly taken by the view from the car park as we pulled in, and couldn’t quite believe I’d be waking up to this for the next week:

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The hotel is very traditional country-house hotel, which is no bad thing. Our rooms were very nice and decorated in a similar traditional style, facing out onto the view above, and in the distance we could just see the top of Chatsworth House. I took some shots of the hotel, because the building is beautiful.

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The food at The Cavendish is excellent. I tend to judge a hotel on how well they can make the simplest of dishes, and their fish and chips is so freakin’ good. The chips are thick cut, delicious, the tartar sauce has the right amount of tang and even the mushy peas are great. We ate very well last week, let me tell you! Below are the chilli prawns my mum became a bit obsessed with, and with good reason. They were delicious, and I am not a fan of prawns.

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The staff at The Cavendish are also wonderful – help was given with our bags both when we arrived and when we left, the receptionists were lovely, the waiting staff were hilarious (to the blonde lady, I’m sorry, I like Meadowhall!) and housekeeping were wonderful. The hotel is immaculate. The only criticism I had was that the TV channels were a bit thin on the ground! But I guess that’s not why you go to a hotel, although it was odd not being able to doze off to my usual background noise of Food Network.

The primary reason for our holiday was to go walking, and having Chatsworth and the grounds on our doorstep meant that we could most definitely get some good walking in.

There is a footpath that leads directly from the hotel to Chatsworth, across the field behind the hotel, but there were Sheep in the field (and I don’t do sheep, I am legit scared of them) so we took a slightly longer route. And found an adorable thatched cottage!

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This footpath continues past more cottages. You then pass through the kissing gate into Chatsworth Park itself.

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Not sure what Ye Olde Skip is doing there! There was some heavy machinery around and work being done, so I guess there is some landscaping going on. One of the staff said that it was preparation for the Christmas market, which makes sense.

After walking through the grounds from the hotel to the house, we went into the house proper. And my goodness, what a house! It’s so opulent inside. I also didn’t know that the paintings in the photo below represented the life of Julius Caesar, but were also a political statement of the time. The guides at Chatsworth are really well-informed, so don’t feel shy about asking them a question.

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There was also a man in one of the rooms playing the piano… and he let me have a go! I’m rusty as all hell but managed to get a bit of a tune out of it – it’s a 123 year old Steinway grand so! What a thing to say I’ve done. It kind of makes me want to get a keyboard again, but we’ll see about that.

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Outside in the grounds, there’s a sculpture trail. And some incredible views. I’m going to shut up for a bit and just let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

By far my favourite sculpture was ‘Drummer’.

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There’s just such an energy about it, I was half expecting him to come to life and leap off the plinth. Here’s a different view of him from the path above the grotto pond.

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We had to split our walk around the grounds into two, so one day we did half the trail and the other half was done on another day – I simply do not have the energy to walk so far, although we clocked up twenty-one miles over the week, which is pretty impressive.

On another day, we went into Sheffield, which is my old stamping ground. I used to live there, and I couldn’t believe how much the city had changed. It was all very modern and things weren’t where they should have been (in my mind anyway) so we jumped on a tram to Meadowhall and went shopping!

We’re definitely going back up there next year. There’s so much we wanted to do that we simply didn’t have the time to. We want to go out to Haddon Hall, across to Castleton and explore the Peak District a bit more. We’ll stay at the Cavendish again for definite, and I for one can’t wait to go back.

I’d recommend anyone looking for a lovely autumn break checks out Chatsworth and the surrounding area. With views like the ones I’ve posted above, what’s not to like?

(The views in this post are my own and I am not being paid for this review)

 

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