I’ve been pretty excited to get this post written and share it with you. Going to Chatsworth House was a bit of a “let’s see how it goes with the kids in tow” kind of day, where we expected moaning children. I could not have been more wrong, so here comes our experience of Chatsworth House.
Chatsworth House is about a fifteen minute drive from where we were staying at Pinelodge Holidays Darwin Forest. It’s such a beautiful scenic route to the estate – absolutely breathtaking! It’s set over 35,000 acres of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, with farms, woods, rivers, villages, quarries and other industries too. There’s a lot going on in the Chatsworth Estate.
The Chatsworth House has various opening times depending on the time of the year and the restaurants also have slightly different opening times too, so definitely check out the website before you go. Our visit was during Main Season where the farmyard and playground opened at 10:30am but the house and gardens opened at 11am.
There are three main areas to Chatsworth – the house, the garden and the farmyard & playground. You can buy entrance to all three that cost £66 for a family of five or there are other options where you can gain entrance to just certain things, or mix and match. Take a look here for more information on the Chatsworth ticket prices.
We had entrance to all for our visit. We had arrived for opening time of the farmyard and playground so we headed up the hill for that first. The weather was the warmest it had been our entire Peak District holiday, yet very chilly in the shade. It was bright and sunny, the perfect start to our day.
Little things, but I absolutely adored the map of the Farmyard. The illustrations are so adorable. Eva wanted to be in charge of the map reading. The Farmyard courtyard has a gift shop and cafe in the centre and toilets too. Everything was clean and well managed. The farm isn’t huge, there’s the usual pigs, cows, chickens and sheep. They also have seasonal things going on too.
Further up the hill, because the farmyard and playground is set upon the hillside, is the Adventure Playground. We was all blown away at the sheer size of it. It’s honestly huge. Thankfully there was only one entrance/exit to the playground so it’s relatively easy to keep an eye on children, as in they are in here somewhere!
I had packed some tuna sandwiches with us and despite the fact the girls had had breakfast, they demanded food at this point. So we allowed them to have the sandwiches before heading off to explore the huge playground. It was all rather exciting, and I’m an adult!
The Adventure Playground is set up in different sections/age abilities I suppose. As you walk into the playground you have the younger aged equipment, however it can all be enjoyed by any age. There’s so many different types of equipment to really explore the imagination. Elsa really enjoyed the sandpit and the contraption to lift water from the natural stream up and into the sand equipment. Sorry that’s really hard to explain, you can watch it in my video at the bottom of this post.
The play area honestly felt like it just continued to go on and on. There’s a huge play equipment to the furthest left hand side. I would say it was designed for older children but Elsa had no issue navigating her way around. In the centre of it is a little trampoline, there’s also slides and ziplines too. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it.
I was really impressed that Chatsworth had made sure all eventualities were covered. A party room, toilet block that uses the water from the natural lakes, a refreshment hut and first aid room too. We spent over three hours in the playground, it was so amazing! I would be willing to pay the annual membership just for this park!
Over the loudspeaker we were made aware of the tractor ride. We actually decided to not do it but instead head down to the house soon. We changed our minds by the time we reached where the tractor was leaving, and luck would have it there was three spaces left. They allowed us to have Eva and Elsa on our laps. It cost £2.50 per seat.
The tractor ride takes you around the grounds of Chatsworth. Throughout the ride you are told about the history of Chatsworth. It’s really interesting actually and the girls learnt a lot whilst seeing the hundreds of sheep roaming freely and then beautiful deer too. It was definitely worth the money we paid and I’d highly recommend if you visit Chatsworth too. You are able to walk the route that the tractor went, but it’s a LONG way!
I wanted to give a quick mention to the eating areas that are situated in the old stables at Chatsworth. We didn’t personally experience the restaurants but I took a quick look at the menus. The prices aren’t too bad for a tourist attractions and there’s some great options of hot and cold food for all ages, including dog ice cream for your pooch.
The Chatsworth House is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The estate has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. It’s common that families occupy certain wings or areas of stately homes but I was interested to find out that the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire live throughout the house which I found incredible.
At the moment, until October 2019, Chatsworth have a lovely exhibition called The Dog: A Celebration At Chatsworth. This exhibition explores the Cavendish family’s love for dogs through various forms of art throughout the house and even the garden. This was one of the reason why I wanted to visit Chatsworth during our Peak District holiday as Eva specifically is a passionate lover of all things canine.
As part of the exhibition, and a great way to keep the kids occupied, Chatsworth House have hidden cute white toy puppies throughout. These puppies hold little clues to do with certain dogs, certain art and the children have to give their answers to the guide in each room. If they get the answer correct they are handed a little playing card with a different type of dog on each. These can later be used to create a game to play.
We all really loved the exhibition and the incentive to find little puppies in the house. This exhibition is included within your entrance tickets so there’s no hidden costs to take part.
When you arrive in the entrance of the Chatsworth House, you are given the opportunity to borrow an audio headset guide. There are information cards in each room to read if you choose not to. Our girls were quite excited by the idea of a headset. There’s a useful children’s section that gives a more simpler explanation of each room. It was the cutest thing to watch and all three, including my four year old Elsa, loved listening. Later on in the day the girls were actually talking about various things they’d learnt about the house and the Cavendish family.
I think we spent over an hour wandering around the house looking at the different paintings, decor and history inside. It was just magnificent and I always envision myself living in these stately homes back in the past. I can imagine it being an incredible childhood running through the corridors.
The house tour follows a route so that you don’t miss anything. You exit through a gift shop with some adorable items in there for sale. We picked up some sweets as a little treat and a bit of a sugar boost for energy. As you enter the gardens there are various facilities, like the toilets, a couple of “food to go” stalls, a patio seating area and first aid.
Prior to entering the garden, we had no idea that it was actually 105 acres of garden. As soon as we were aware we realised we had spent far too much time in the playground during the morning and we definitely wouldn’t be able to explore the entire garden in our visit.
We stopped off at the Cascade where the girls carefully (supervised too) had a paddle in the water. It wasn’t designed for walking on so you must supervise at all times. The sun was shining and it actually felt like a lovely Spring day at this point.
With not very long left before closing time, we headed for a short walk through the garden towards the Paxton’s Rock Garden. The garden has so much going on with incredible sculptures, a maze, ponds, historic waterworks and so much more! The rock garden was incredible which only made me feel even more gutted that we wouldn’t be able to explore the rest. The girls were loving every second of our exploration.
As we headed back towards the house and exit, we stopped by the water fountain which was on. As it was literally half an hour from closing, a staff member had arrived to turn the fountain off. He offered the girls to do it which was such a lucky experience for them and definitely a right-time right-place moment. I highly doubt they’ll get the the opportunity to turn off a famous fountain again.
We honestly had an incredible day at Chatsworth. The girls were occupied the entire day and loved every second. By the end of it everyone was shattered from walking and learning so much in one day.
We arrived back to Pinelodge Holidays Darwin Forest ready to chill out. Hubby hopped himself, Freya and Elsa into the hot tub whilst I played a board game with Eva quietly. It was a really lovely last evening in the lodge. I spent the evening packing up and felt quite sad about leaving. It had been the perfect base for our adventures.
Here is our video from our Chatsworth day out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it!