The 'Palace of the Peak' contains one of Europe's finest private collections of treasures, displayed in more than 30 rooms, from the grandeur of the 1st Duke's painted hall and state apartments with their rich decoration and painted ceilings, to the 19th century library, great dining room and sculpture gallery. Throughout the house, there are magnificent displays of paintings, including work by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough and Freud, furniture, silver, tapestries and porcelain and a gallery of neo-classical sculptures. Famous curiosities include four royal thrones, a giant ancient Greek marble foot, a lace cravat carved from wood, the fan of a Rolls Royce jet engine and the unique illusionistic painting of a violin hanging on a door in. In 2003 as well as the special exhibition devoted to the life and work of Joseph Paxton, there will also be a display of photographs of great 20th century British artists, by Jorge Lewinski. The 105 acre garden is beautiful in all seasons. As well as the maze, rose, cottage and kitchen gardens, there are five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, fountains and ponds. Water pours down the steps of the 1st Duke’s cascade and shoots from the branches of the willow tree fountain (‘the squirting tree’). This year we celebrate the bicentenary of Joseph Paxton, one of the most dynamic figures of the 19th century, head gardener at Chatsworth for more than thirty years and creator of the giant rock garden, the Emperor fountain and famous glasshouses. There is also new access to an excavated coal tunnel. The latest addition to the garden is a beautiful sensory garden designed to stimulate and delight the senses. The 100 acre park on the banks of the river Derwent is open free throughout the year.
Heritage site, Historic house or home
Every day from 16 March to 4 January 2015, closed 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January. We then re-open 28 March 2015.
House and garden ticket:
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children)
Access: The Garden, Farmyard, Shops and Restaurant are all fully accessible for wheelchair users. Suitable lavatories are available. There are 3 electric scooters and 4 manual wheelchairs available for use in the garden at no charge. Please book to ensure availability. See 'Visiting Index' for contact numbers. A leaflet, showing routes around the garden accessible to scooters and wheelchairs, is available at Chatsworth. The structure of the house imposes limitations on access because there are 160 steps on the public route. Access to the Sculpture Gallery, Great Dining Room, Ante-Library and a view into the Library and Painted Hall, is usually possible at our quieter times, which tend to be weekdays, avoiding school holidays. Entrance is from the Garden via the Orangery Shop. For your enjoyment and safety, this must be at the discretion of the Head Warden on the day. There is also a video of the public route shown throughout the day in the Information Room.
Directions: Chatsworth is 8 miles north of Matlock, off the B6012. It is 16 miles from junction 29 of the M1, signposted via Chesterfield, and it is 42 miles from junction 19 of the M6. The railway station at Chesterfield is 30 minutes away, by taxi
Architecture, Fine Art
Key artists and exhibits
- Van Dyck
- Nancy Mitford
- Jorge Lewinski
Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth
- 28 March — 23 October 2015 *on now
In 2015 we invite you to experience Chatsworth in a new way
to take a seat and make yourself comfortable.
We are turning to contemporary furniture designers to provide a completely different experience for our visitors. Outstanding contemporary seating by international designers, such as Moritz Waldemeyer, Thomas Heatherwick and many more, will be throughout the route bringing to light new stories about the interior and the historic collection. Make Yourself Comfortable is not meant to be an overview of chair design
dotted amongst the historic seating protected by prickly teasels and ropes, we want you to sit on the modern day seats and feel at home.
In addition a number of works have been specially commissioned for the exhibition by established and emerging designers including a collaboration with students at Sheffield Hallam University.
- Family friendly
Included with admission to the house.
The Grand Tour
- 4 July — 20 September 2015 *on now
Chatsworth has joined forces with Nottingham Contemporary, Derby Museums and the Harley Foundation, to create a contemporary ‘Grand Tour’ of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire’s cultural history and landscape. Artist Pablo Bronstein will exhibit new work inspired by Chatsworth’s baroque architecture in the New Gallery, running simultaneously with an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary curated by Bronstein and featuring a large number of loans from the Devonshire Collection as well as works by the artist.
- Family friendly
- 14 September — 25 October 2015
Sotheby's Beyond Limits is now firmly established as one of the leading events in the artistic calendar with artists including Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Jaume Plensa, Manolo Valde?s and Thomas Heatherwick (designer of London’s Olympic Cauldron), having exhibited in recent years. Spread out across the garden, the diversity of these international artists' works represents some of the most original monumental sculpture being made today.
- Family friendly
Exhibition included with admission to the garden.
Treasures from the archive and library
- 26 August 2015
An illustrated lecture covering the family and estate history including key characters such as Georgiana, the 6th Duke and Joseph Paxton. Enjoy an exclusive private view of some of the greatest treasures including letters, rare books and illuminated manuscripts.
Includes lunch in the Burlington room and admission to the house and garden on the day.
Chatsworth Country Fair
- 4 — 6 September 2015
For a true taste of the very best the countryside has to offer, there's nowhere quite like the annual Country Fair here at Chatsworth. Come and sample some superb local produce, find some exquisite crafts and spend a weekend enjoying a whole host of family activities, displays and performances.
The Country Fair is one of England's most spectacular annual outdoor events. Held in Chatsworth park, it attracts large crowds from all over the country. Massed pipe and military bands, demonstrations and parades, hot air balloons, parachuting and over 300 varied trade stands and rural crafts make this a memorable event with something for everyone.
An exciting Grand Ring programme takes place over the weekend, with displays ranging from a vintage car parade to the hot air balloon races and terrier racing. A sporting clay pigeon shoot takes place and the bouncy castle and old time fairground are always popular with children.
Many of England's heritage of Country Sports and pastimes are on show including Armed service displays, horse shoeing, Ferret racing, archery and sheep dog trials.
A history of country house dining
- 23 September 2015 From 9:30am
An illustrated lecture by Eleanor Brooke-Peat, our Assistant Curator of Collections, on the history of elegant country house dining. The lecture will be followed by a private viewing session of silver, porcelain, glassware and cutlery which has been part of the table setting in the Great Dining Room at Chatsworth for house party guests.
Includes refreshments on arrival, lunch in the Burlington room and house and garden entry on the day.
Garden Timeline Tour
Chatsworth's garden perfectly illustrates three great eras of garden and landscape design. Look for clues to see how the landscape has been repeatedly transformed, and learn about the inspired ideas, cutting edge technology and celebrated personalities involved in its development throughout history. Can be tailored to suit Key Stage 1, 2 or 3.
How to obtain
Please contact the bookings office on 01246 565300 to discuss your requirements and to check availability.