If you ever find yourself in England near or during the Christmas holiday you owe it to yourself to drive or train to Derbyshire to visit Chatsworth House dressed in dignified splendor for the holidays. It is probably the most recognizable and famous of England’s stately country houses, shy of Highclere Castle, which has recently gained notoriety with the success of Downton Abbey. I decided to make an adventure of it, on a whim, and train to Derbyshire’s Chesterfield train station from San Pancreas, London, and then figure it out from there. But once I arrived at Chesterfied there were no taxis, trams or buses. So I walked … and I walked … until I came upon a bus stop. A kindly gentleman instructed me on which bus to take into the quaint village of Baslow – the nearest village within walking distance of Chatsworth – where I could “stop in for a gorgeous warming lunch”. From there I was instructed to follow a path along the River Derwent to a meadow, at which juncture I will have then reached The Park at Chatsworth.
And so I did … have a lovely, warming lunch, as the nice man had suggested, in a stately manor, on a frosty, cold and gray early December’s day.
From there I found the path along the river, passing picturesque stone houses along the way …
… and followed the path to a meadow where I encountered hundreds of grazing sheep. So transfixed was I by the beauty of the scenery and dots of white sheep that I invested far too much time photographing the spectacle. On the horizon peered Chatsworth rising above a slight hill. By the time I reached the manor house I, regrettably, had limited time to tour its glorious rooms.
In a rush to see as much as I could fit in I fervently took mediocre photos, at best – most of which came out blurred and too dark. But the few that did materialize somewhat nicely capture the glory that is Chatsworth in all its splendor – the stately rooms and great care and detail that goes into making this museum a home; an undeniable privilege to behold, for certain.
For a real holiday treat, make Chatsworth one of your stops when in England over the Christmas holiday. For times and information visit Chatsworth House online. Unless otherwise noted, all photography by Cristopher Worthland.