Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1PN 024 656 5300
Talk about grand designs. Building began around 1552 by Bess of Hardwick and completed in 1707. It's been home to the Devonshires throughout and the current incumbents have just completed a major restoration, so now you've got access to a labyrinth of stunning galleries and state rooms full of family jewels. The Devonshire's wealth was legendary, and 500 years of it are on display; painted ceilings, statues, ancestral oil paintings and mega-grand staircases. Gawp at the grandeur of the 1st Duke's Painted Hall and State Apartments with their sumptuous decoration to the 19th century Library, Great Dining Room and Sculpture Gallery. Once you've had your fill of conspicuous wealth inside, there are a thousand acres designed by Capability Brown and described by Alan Titchmarsh as 'one of the best and most vibrant gardens in Britain' to explore. For kids, a maze and water features to splash about in, farmyard animals to stroke and ice creams made on the estate. Art lovers can spot modern sculptures dotted about the grounds, and for foodies a good cafe and the fabulous farm shop in nearby Pilsley.
Chatsworth's been a film location several times, most famously perhaps as Mr Darcy's gaff in the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It also appeared in The Duchess (2008), featuring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, and The Wolfman (2010), with Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins.
Save the entire day for a visit here - you won't see everything in a couple of hours.
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