I decided on the spur of the moment to book a visit to Chatsworth House gardens. I’ve been wary of visiting ‘tourist attractions’ since the lockdown rules have been relaxed even further. Some of the pictures from beauty spots of overcrowding and littering have been horrifying. However, I needn’t have worried about this at Chatsworth. I love what little I’ve seen of the Peak District and we’ve had a walk around the perimeter of Chatsworth but not been in.
With the pandemic you now must book your visit via the Chatsworth House website, whether that’s just a car parking space to visit the parkland or a garden visit like we bought. There were plenty of time slots for me to choose from when I booked late one Friday. Arriving at Chatsworth House we showed our phone displaying the ticket we had bought at the car park box.
The first safety measures I noticed were the porta loos on the edge of the building near the main gates. Clean and tidy and the added bonus of a hot water hand washing station next to them. I’ve had my fair share of visiting porta loos at festivals, so them being spotless and hot water nearby was a pleasant surprise.
We joined a very short queue to get into the gardens, a member of staff directing us to the ticket window when it was safe to approach. Once you are in the gardens you can’t re-enter on the same ticket. So, if you’ve left something in the car you would have to pay again. I had been worried there wouldn’t be enough space for us to explore but over 100 acres inside the gardens was enough! There are so many different areas and they are of course stunningly beautiful. I think one of my favourites was the Rockery area. The maze and glasshouses are closed for the time being due to social distancing, and these were the only areas we couldn’t visit. Many of the paths have directional signs and one-way systems so that you hopefully won’t cross paths with people. A family of interested ducklings were the only things to get too close to us. We spent around four hours exploring. The weather wasn’t as nice as I anticipated so I marched the family around the grounds trying to warm up a bit!
Despite taking a picnic the lure of a hot pasty smell had us heading for the shop. The gift shop and snack shop all have social distancing measures and hand sanitiser stations. There are porta loos here too. We ate the most amazing pasties on the lawn at the side of the house looking at the sun, having now made an appearance, glinting off the roof. Chatsworth House really is a magical place. Having stocked up on marmalade and souvenirs in the gift shop we went for a last wander in the kitchen gardens.
If you don’t want to buy a ticket to enter the gardens there is plenty of parkland to wander in. We had a small walk before going home to Queen Mary’s Bower. It’s a stone structure with steps that was once part of a water garden feature. Apparently, when Mary Queen of Scots was being held at Chatsworth this was her gym area! When we visited there was evidence that the sheep like walking up and down the steps for their exercise. A fabulous day out, in stunning surroundings and I hardly thought about the blooming virus once. With all those grounds there’s no problem for social distancing.
Since we visited it has been announced that the House will be open to visitors from the 27th July.
Top tip – With no paper maps being given out we found the online interactive map helpful.
If you add gift aid to your booking you are given a voucher redeemable in the shops as a thank you.
I received no incentive to write this, just wanted to share with you our fab day.
Have you visited Chatsworth House and gardens? Or done a fab walk in the area? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you.