Saturday, May 07, 2011

Chatsworth House, Derbyshire

If you have an ounce of a soul in you, you'd probably enjoy Chatsworth House, at least today. Today was filled with gorgeous art and baby animals and gardens and beautiful spaces and flowers. After a WARM night (must have worked to our benefit that I tipped up the furnace) Tabitha and I woke happy. Lisa, our hostess, drove us down to the bus stop to catch the 9:12 to Chatsworth House in Peaks National Park. It is the ancestral (and current) home of the 12th Duke and Dutchess of Devonshire.
After a lovely half hour drive in the countryside, we arrived before opening. We got a cup of coffee/tea and wandered through some shops, then into the gardens surrounding the estate. We lucked into arriving on one of the days of the "Florabundance Festival". Even though it was raining, we walked for several miles admiring all the landscaping and flowers in bloom and baby animals (lambs and ducklings). The home exterior was undergoing some renovations, but the gardens and interiors were still fantastic. The tulips were all in bloom, along with about every other flower you can imagine. It was really incredible. Reminded me a bit of Biltmore House, Versailles... you know, houses and gardens erected by really rich people, who now must let the likes of me inside their homes, in order to pay for them!
We dined at the restaurant and then tackled the house itself. The art collection alone was worth the trip: from Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Franz Hals, and Correggio, to Joshua Reynolds, David Hockney, and Lucien Freud. Then there were the awesome interiors. Then the gorgeous flower arrangements. Just my cup of tea, for sure.

Oh, and be sure to watch the upcoming documentary about Chatsworth House on the BBC. It will feature all three of these feet.

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