Historic House and Gardens itinerary

Immerse yourself in the mystery of magnificent manor houses and expansive gardens.

Haddon Hall - Derbyshire (c) Ian Daisley 1500X298 Haddon Hall, Derbyshire

This two-day tour takes you to the counties of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire where you will discover three historic houses and gardens, full of hidden secrets. A must-see for all ‘Capability’ Brown fans, Chatsworth and Burghley showcase his signature lake and avenues of trees. There’s even a visit to a grocer’s house and garden, almost unchanged since 1923 and time to enjoy a local Bakewell pudding.

Download the Historic House and Gardens itinerary (PDF, 1,491 KB)


Day 1: Chatsworth ● Haddon Hall ● Bakewell, Derbyshire

Chatsworth - Derbyshire (c)VisitEngland, Chatsworth House Trust 389X280 Chatsworth, Derbyshire

Your day begins at Chatsworth, one of England’s greatest treasure houses and gardens. Take time to explore this dramatic house, home of the Cavendish family since the 1550s. Full of works of art spanning over 4,000 years, there’s something to delight every visitor from Roman and Egyptian sculptures to masterpieces from Rembrandt, Reynolds and Veronese. Head over to the farm shop café for coffee and cake where you can take in the stunning views of the park, before you visit the historic garden. 

This 18th century ‘Capability’ Brown garden with over 105 acres is full of surprises. It’s most famous for its 200ft (61m) fountain, rock garden and surviving Joseph Paxton glasshouses and contemporary sculptures. Explore the garden by joining a free one hour garden tour where you’ll learn all about its history.

A brief 15 minute drive will take you to one of England’s oldest (c12th century) and possibly most romantic houses, Haddon Hall. Set in the heart of the Peak District National Park and overlooking the river Wye, the house was once home to William the Conqueror’s illegitimate son. You may recognise it, as it has been used for many films including Jane Eyre, Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice and The Other Boleyn Girl. Before you explore the house and garden, enjoy a well earned lunch with a wonderful view at Haddon Hall’s restaurant, located in a 17th century stable block.

The house provides a unique view of early English life and history and the Elizabethan terraced gardens are truly magnificent. Take a stroll along the paths and enjoy the colour and scent from the wide range of roses and flowers, as you make your way to the fountain terrace.

Drive 10 minutes along the A6 to the picturesque market town of Bakewell, dating back to Saxon times and home to the Bakewell pudding (it’s not a tart!). Stop off at the Rutland Arms Hotel, built in 1804 and where Jane Austen stayed and even mentioned in her famous novel, Pride and Prejudice. Enjoy afternoon tea and of course, a Bakewell pudding. This hotel lays claim to inventing it in their kitchen. Take a walk up the hill to the local church, dating back to 920 or enjoy an early evening stroll along the river before you retire for the day.

Find out more things to do in Derbyshire

Day 2: Mr Straw’s House, Nottinghamshire ● Burghley, Lincolnshire

Burghley House - Lincolnshire (c)VisitBritain Images & Tony Pleavin VB21983950 389X280 Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Wake up refreshed and ready for your next day visiting historic houses and gardens. A one hour drive will take you to a hidden gem, Mr Straw’s House, a National Trust property almost unchanged since 1923. Step back in time and discover how a grocer’s family lived in their modest semi-detached house. Enjoy the small garden, with orchard and greenhouse displaying Mr Straw’s fascinating cacti collection. Stop off at Mr Straw’s House Tea Room for coffee and cake or eat a picnic in the orchard.

Travel for just over an hour to Burghley, one of England’s greatest Elizabethan houses and gardens dating back to the 16th century. Take a tour of the house and view the collection of Italian art, Chinese and Japanese porcelain and 18th century furniture. Stop off for lunch at either the more formal Orangery Restaurant or relax in The Garden Café, where you can try an Absolute Taste chocolate brownie (or two) before you explore the stunning 300-acre deer park and gardens.

The gardens are a must-see for all ‘Capability’ Brown fans and include his signature lake and avenues of mature trees. Take a stroll around the Historical Garden of Surprises, hidden from the outside it features obelisks, statues, flowing water and fountains. Explore the Contemporary Sculpture Garden, dedicated to exhibiting innovative sculptures. Visit during mid March to mid April to see the stunning displays of spring bulbs.

Find out more about Lincolnshire

Must-see local events

Hodsock Priory - Nottinghamshire (snowdrops) (2) 389X280 Hodsock Priory, Nottinghamshire

Snowdrops at Hodsock Priory, Worksop, Nottinghamshire: February to March. Enjoy a walk through 17 acres of stunning snowdrop covered woodland. There are over 4 million snowdrops here!

Bakewell Show, Bakewell, Derbyshire: Early August. One of the oldest agricultural shows in England. There’s something for everyone, from sheep shearing contests and the grand parade of show animals to family fun entertainment.

Chatsworth Country Fair, Chatsworth: End August to early September. A country fair set in the beautiful grounds of Chatsworth. Try local produce and arts and crafts or just sit back and enjoy the many displays including hot air ballooning and parachuting.

Burghley Flower Festival, Burghley House: Early October. See the magnificent state rooms transformed with stunning floral displays.

Travel Fact File

Recommended transportCar
Top travel distance106 miles/171 km
Approximate travel time2 hr 30 min
Nearest airportRobin Hood Doncaster Sheffield robinhoodairport.com 
East Midlands eastmidlandsairport.com  
Manchester manchesterairport.co.uk  
Nearest main rail stationMatlock, Chesterfield and Buxton nationalrail.co.uk
Visitor informationReal-time local information realtimetravelguide.co.uk
Peak District & Derbyshire visitpeakdistrict.com
Nottinghamshire experiencenottinghamshire.com
Lincolnshire visitlincolnshire.com

Want to see more fabulous gardens?

Continue your tour of gardens with An education on English tea and Cambridge gardens itinerary

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