Near Quarndon, Derby, Derbyshire, DE22 5JH 01332 842 191
Kedleston Hall is a spectacular neo-classical 18th-century mansion with a staggering portico of eight pillars under a massive triangular pediment topped with classical statues, all built to reflect the power and influence of Sir Nathaniel Curzon (1726-1804). Robert Adam was the designer, launching a career that would see him heralded as the finest architect of the era. Curzon was a party animal, and the hall was known throughout the land as the location for lavish entertaining and the chance for him to show off his extensive collection of paintings and sculpture. Must-sees are the extraordinary State Rooms, the grand marble entrance hall and Kedleston's famous aqua blue furniture.
The Curzon family have lived here since the 12th-century and continue to live at the Hall. Lord Curzon's Eastern Museum is a treasure trove of fascinating objects acquired on his travels in Asia and while Viceroy of India (1899 to 1905).
It's worth spending a day roaming round the rolling grounds alone; a line of five lakes are joined by a series of cascades, one of which is spanned by an elegant, three-arched Palladian bridge. You'll have built up an appetite by now, so head for the rather good tea room in the old kitchen, complete with fabulous dressers and original china.
Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes romped through the hall during the 2008 Hollywood blockbuster 'The Duchess', and it was used for the TV series Jane Eyre.
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