How to go behind the scenes at Chatsworth

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth House - Credit: Chatsworth House Trust

As Chatsworth, one of Britain’s most loved historic houses, has closed its doors for the post-Christmas winter months, the house enters a period of busy activity.  

Far from taking a break, there commences a comprehensive 12-week programme of conservation, deep cleaning, repair and restoration in readiness for another season welcoming guests from here in Derbyshire and, indeed, all over the world. 

In an exclusive arrangement, guests of the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants collection staying on the Chatsworth Estate have a unique opportunity to ‘Discover Hidden Chatsworth’, taking a journey behind the scenes of this grand dame of stately homes, and learning the fascinating stories behind this well-loved historic home, and its treasures within. 

The Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group is a collection of luxury hotel and restaurant properties, which form part of The Duke of Devonshire’s hospitality businesses, located at his Bolton Abbey estate in the Yorkshire Dales and on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire. 

In Derbyshire, these comprise The Cavendish at Baslow, The Devonshire Arms at Beeley and The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley. 

The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow was acquired by the Chatsworth Estate in 1830, from the Duke of Rutland. This 28-bedroom four red star country hotel offers a choice of two restaurants, The Gallery, with 3 AA rosettes and its well established ‘Kitchen Table’ experience, and The Garden Room.  

The Cavendish at Baslow 

The Cavendish at Baslow - Credit: Chatsworth House Trust

It's a 20-minute walk across parkland to Chatsworth itself and an ideal location for exploring the surrounding Peak District. 

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The Devonshire Arms at Beeley originated as three separate cottages in 1726 and these were converted into an inn in 1747.  

During the period 1755-64 there were three inns in the village, only The Devonshire Arms has survived. Today this characterful, friendly inn has 18 guest bedrooms in the inn plus three neighbouring cottages.  

Diners here are accommodated in the pub itself with its inglenook fireplace and cosy beam, including The Malt Vault a private seating area for up to 12 diners, and a colourful and contemporary Brasserie, as well as outdoor terrace. 

Coaches often stopping in Beeley to rest the horses, and frequent visitors included the distinguished writer Charles Dickens. It is also rumoured that King Edward VII often met his mistress Alice Keppel at The Devonshire Arms. 

The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley has been a traditional village pub since the 18th century, and only relatively recently developed to an inn with rooms, initially the seven rooms in the main pub, with six four poster ‘Farmhouse’ bedrooms located just next door.  

Seasonal freshly prepared gastro pub dining is enjoyed by residents and locals, walkers and visitors to Chatsworth in equal measure. 

For guests, private group guided tours will take place on selected dates from now until the start of March.  

Led by one of the specialist house guides, each tour will delve into the work underway at any one time, therefore each will be a unique insight, focussing on a key area of the house.  

Visitors will gain an insight into specialist restoration projects, such as restoring gold leaf on a wood carving, or deep cleaning a rare silk tapestry. 

Guests will be guided through the house, which may include key areas such as the Painted Hall, State Apartments, Sketch Galleries and Guest Bedrooms, sharing their expertise, along with many anecdotes and secrets handed down over the generations.  

Chatsworth is in the process of a programme of conservation - but guests can still enjoy its magic

Chatsworth is in the process of a programme of conservation - but guests can still enjoy its magic - Credit: Chatsworth House Trust

Each route and itinerary will be different depending on the work taking place at the time. There will also be an insight into the history of this great house, its importance as a working estate, its legacy, conservation and stewardship under the expertise of the Chatsworth House Trust.  

The Trust is focused on restoring and preserving this great House and the Devonshire Collections for the benefit of future generations. 

Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants guests may also have the opportunity to meet some of the talented in-house team and view recently-restored interiors and works of art, as well as an insight into future events and installations. 

The duration of each tour is between 60 - 90 minutes, and each will host only a small group, between six and 20 guests.  

Tours take place each morning at 11am, with meet up time of 10.45am, and are exclusively available to those booking a ‘Discover Hidden Chatsworth’ two-night stay at The Cavendish at Baslow, or one of the estate inns - The Devonshire Arms at Beeley, or The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley.  

Guest staying in one of the self-catering Boltholes on the estate can also join the tour. 

Two-night packages at each hotel or inn include three-course dinner on the first evening, full traditional Derbyshire breakfast on both mornings, Chatsworth House tour tickets and complimentary car parking at Chatsworth House for one day.  

Valid from Sunday January 24 to Thursday March 3 2022, with tours take place Monday – Thursday.

The Cavendish at Baslow 

A two-night package at this luxury country house hotel, which has been owned by The Dukes of Devonshire since 1730. Accommodation, three-course dinner on the first evening, full Derbyshire traditional breakfast, entry to the house tour and complimentary car parking at Chatsworth on the day of the Tour. 

From £293 per person for a two-night stay, based upon two sharing a twin or double Classic room, available Sunday – Thursday evenings.  

Dinner can be taken in either The Gallery Restaurant or The Garden Room. 

The Devonshire Arms at Beeley and The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley 

The Devonshire Arms at Beeley

The Devonshire Arms at Beeley - Credit: Chatsworth House Trust

A two-night stay at either one of these two charming historic inns, located in picturesque Chatsworth Estate villages, includes two nights’ accommodation, three-course dinner on the first evening and full Derbyshire traditional breakfast each morning, entry to the house tour and complimentary car parking at Chatsworth on the day of the tour. 

From £195 per person for the two-night stay at Pilsley, and from £212 per person at Beeley. Prices based upon two sharing a double Classic/Petite room, available Sunday – Thursday evenings. 

Guests are requested to make their own transport arrangements to Chatsworth, and car parking there is included.  

The tours are suitable for wheelchair users although prior notification is required. Other terms and conditions may apply, see website for more information.  

To book please call 01756 718 111 or visit https://devonshirehotels.co.uk/offer/discover-hidden-chatsworth