Covering over 100 acres, there’s lots to discover at Chatsworth.
Don’t miss the Cascade, the Emperor Fountain, Flora’s Temple, the Grotto and Rock Garden, the Maze and Kitchen Garden.
And if you have time, explore the wider landscape. A path from outside the farm entrance leads up to the Hunting Tower (built 1570s), Stand Wood, reservoirs and the Aqueduct. Also seek out Queen Mary’s Bower which is said to have been built in 1570s to allow Mary Queen of Scots to exercise while she was held captive at Chatsworth. It was restored in 1820s.
Chatsworth is lived in by the Dukes of Devonshire and managed by the Chatsworth House Trust.
Separate tickets must be bought for the Farmyard & Playground.
Chatsworth lies to the east of the River Derwent on rising ground near Bakewell. Home to the Cavendish family since 1549, a ‘new’ house was built by Bess of Hardwick in 1552. Bess was married three times – for more information about her remarkable life, see Hardwick Hall.
Between 1577 and 1580, fish pools, a new orchard and water gardens were created. On Bess’s death, the estate was inherited by her second son William who became Earl of Devonshire in 1618.
The 4th Earl and 1st Duke of Devonshire updated the house with William Talman [Dyrham Park; Uppark] designing the south wing and east façade in c1686 and Thomas Archer [Kingston Maurward] designed the north front and probably the east façade in 1700. In 1688, the Duke paid £20.00 to ‘Mr George London upon his bargaine for making a new Garden at Chatsworth’ and in 1685 work began on making the water gardens into a canal. The cascade was designed by Monsieur Grillet and completed by 1696.
The formal gardens were swept away at the end of the 18th century, with views opened up to the River. Payments show that the work was carried out by ‘Mr Millican’s on Mr. Brown’s account’. It is assumed that Millican was an associate of ‘Capability’ Brown.
The 6th Duke employed Jeffry Wyatt to remodel parts of the house and made Joseph Paxton Head Gardener in 1826. Paxton built the Great Conservatory (demolished in 1920) designed the Emperor Fountain in the Canal Pond and built the Rock Garden.
Further developments have been made to the gardens with the addition of several pieces of sculpture.