What is Derbyshire famous for?
- Credit: Gary Wallis
When exploring what the county of Derbyshire is famous for, you can look at it from a number of angles.
For avid walkers, it’s probably the stunning Peak District National Park – the very first of its kind in the UK following its formation exactly 70 years ago.
To foodies, it might be Bakewell and that famous pudding or the famous Derbyshire oatcake.
If you’re a history lover, Derbyshire may be famous for its picture-postcard quirky spa towns, such as Buxton and Matlock.
However, if you were to crystalise it, Derbyshire is arguably most famous for its array of unique, stunning country houses that span the length and breadth of this beautiful county.
So prominent and plentiful are these period buildings that it wouldn’t be practical to cover all of them here – although the majority feature regularly in Derbyshire Life magazine – but here are five that are simply too good not to visit.
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Is there a more celebrated, picturesque country house in the whole of England?
The residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (the former provided an exclusive interview for Derbyshire Life in February), this majestic Peak District house affords stunning gardens, rolling landscapes, historic art collections, mesmerising rooms and galleries and so much more.
Dating back to the days of Bess of Hardwick, who helped shape the magnificent estate we see today, Chatsworth is visited by people from around the world and it is easy to see why.
Just five miles or so away from Chatsworth stands Haddon Hall, perched proudly close to Bakewell in the heart of the beautiful Peak District.
Owned and lived in by Lord and Lady Edward (the latter provided an exclusive interview to Derbyshire Life just a few months ago), Haddon Hall – with its famous Long Gallery - is one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in the country; although its fascinating history pre-dates even the Tudors.
Such is its beauty and history, it has been used for filming in many a famous movie, including Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and The Other Boleyn Girl.
Another Elizabethan masterpiece, which stands eight miles south-east of Chesterfield, and another closely associated with the formidable Bess of Hardwick.
Dating back to the 1500s, the ruinous Hardwick Old Hall is a nod to times long since passed, while Hardwick Hall itself has thankfully been saved from neglect as the centuries have progressed. Inside this fascinating country home you’ll find, amongst other artefacts, stunning period tapestries.
With its sprawling estate, scenic views and plenty to see and do, it makes for a perfect family day out – fun, interesting and thought-provoking in equal measure.
In the south of the county, Calke Abbey offers a different perspective of Derbyshire’s famous country homes. That’s because, rather than being in pristine condition, the estate appears almost frozen in time.
Situated near Ticknall, this Grade I-listed property stands on the site of a former Augustinian priory, which was dissolved by Henry VIII in the mid-1500s.
Safe for visitors but little restored, Calke Abbey is a fascinating and unique example of a country house in decay and decline, offering a real insight into how those who resided in country homes used to live.
Owned and run by Derbyshire Life’s very own Sir Richard FitzHerbert – who pens his monthly Baronet’s Diary for the magazine – Tissington Hall is a charming historic house which dates way back to 1609.
Magnificent features at this much-loved estate include a great Main Hall, two state drawing rooms and a library with over 3,000 books.
Surrounded by 40 acres of beautiful parkland and nestled in the picturesque Peak District village of Tissington, the Hall stands with splendour and is popular with locals and visitors alike.