Chatsworth House & Our Top 3 Houses to Visit

Last weekend we visited Chatsworth House, whose beauty and splendour amazed us. The house has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549 and since then they have amassed a collection of paintings, sculptures, antiques and items of furniture which each tell their own story. Chatsworth House stands on the east bank of River Derwent in Derbyshire. The rolling hills and luscious landscape make a perfect backdrop for such an imposing building.

The house and garden were first constructed by Sir William Cavendish in 1555 and have since expanded. Something that struck us about the garden designs and modern sculptures was the way in which the Duke and Duchess have moved with the times, incorporating modern garden design and works of art to enliven and maintain a fresh feel. The sculpture in the image below right is by Barry Flanagan, the Welsh sculptor known for his bronze statues of hares and other animals.

While there are a myriad of features to marvel at in the gardens, one of our highlights was the ‘Revelation’ sculpture by Angela Conner, pictured above. Conner creates kinetic sculptures which are powered entirely by natural forces, mainly water or wind. ‘Revelation’ has water channels which force the opening and closing of the structure to reveal a gold core. There are also bronze pieces by Dame Elizabeth Frink, who has always been a favourite of ours, including ‘War Horse’ and ‘Walking Madonna’. The maze is plated with over one thousand yews and is beautifully up-kept.

The garden is itself a beauty to behold, it is 105 acres and is filled with wonderful features including sculptures, waterworks, a Victorian rock garden and a maze.

For our London based readers, here’s a few of our other favourite estates to visit:

Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace and Gardens near Greenwich is a stunning home to visit. Originally a Medieval Royal residence, it was bought by Stephen and Virginia Courtauld and redesigned by architects Seely and Paget in 1933-6. While the house features an eclectic mixture of styles including Medieval and 20th Century elements, it is its Art Deco designs that most stand out.

Leighton House Museum

Leighton House in Holland Park, now a museum is the former home of the painter and sculptor Frederic, Lord Leighton. It was designed in 1864 by architect George Aitchison and is perhaps his greatest architectural feat. Its interior is known for its beautifully elaborate Orientalist and Aesthetic designs.

The centrepiece of the house is its Arab Hall which was designed to display Leighton’s collection of Islamic tiles. Over 1,000 tiles decorate the walls, together with coloured marble clad walls, a golden mosaic frieze and a central fountain.

Kenwood House

Kenwood House is right on the edge of Hampstead Heath, so a perfect spot for walking and checking out Hampstead village while you're there. It is a true hidden gem and best known for its fabulous selection of artworks which includes sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and paintings from Dutch masters including Rembrandt and Vermeer.