Bakewell is a lovely village set in the Heart of the Peak District National Park, a beautiful place in Derbyshire and dating back to the Saxon times. The Church dates back to 920 a.d although much of the ‘modern’ building dates from the 13th Century!
Jane Austen is rumoured to have stayed in The Rutland Arms hotel which is still standing today and is mentioned in Pride & Prejudice where Elizabeth meets the Darcy’s and Mr.Bingley. Their greatest claim to fame though is that their Chef in 1859 invented the great Bakewell pudding by mistake. Plenty of shops in the Town sell the puddings, all claiming to have the ‘original’ recipe!
Just 4 miles away from Bakewell, is one of my favourite places, not just in the East Midlands but in the whole of England. From the main road you take a sharp right and drive a mile or so and when you reach the peak of the hill laid out before you is this sight which always makes my heart soar:
This is Chatsworth House which I believe is one of the most beautiful of all the stately homes in the UK. Some of you may recognise it from blockbusters like Pride & Prejudice and The Duchees but the house dates back to the Saxon times. Building on the current house was started by Bess of Hardwick in 1553 and it’s now owned by the 12th Duke of Devonshire, son of one of the Mitford Sisters.
It’s hard for me to know where to start with telling you what I love most about Chatsworth and what makes it so amazing for me! I don’t know if it’s that it awesome in every Season. In the Summertime the gardens are just out of this world and you could spend a whole day exploring and enjoying and discovering new things. There are gardens designed by Capability Brown or maybe the Arboretum that has some of the oldest specimens of Giant Seqouia in the UK. They have Fountains that were made especially for the proposed visit of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and a Maze. My favourite of all the things in the gardens is the Cascade Fountain:
It’s so impressive from every angle and has 24 cut steps, each slightly different and with a variety of textures so that each gives a different sound when water runs over and down them.
I love the house as well but my favourite time to visit is at Christmas. The decorations and trees are awesome and the atmosphere is just sooooo lovely! It has 126 rooms most of which aren’t seen by the public but you would never know that and there isn’t a particular style to the house. It’s a little bit mis-matched and I think that’s part of what endears me to it! They also have a River running through the front garden:
If you are ever in the UK long enough to make it out of London you should head up to the Peak District and explore. Not only to see Bakewell and Chatsworth but for the walking, spa breaks and history.
We've even recently had a themed picnic at Chatsworth held on the front lawn. It was soooooo much fun:
Prices for Chatsworth vary depending on what you want to see and do. To park and explore is about £4 for the day. Tickets for the gardens are currently £12.90 and range up to £21.60 for a ticket that covers everything including free parking. More details available at the Chatsworth website.