Just 5 minutes down the road, we are very lucky to have Haddon Hall, a fortified manor House on the banks of the River Wye, on the way to Bakewell. Built in the 1400's the Hall both nestles into the landscape and yet commands over it. The gardens terrace down towards the river with huge gritstone walls and butresses clad in rambling roses. The gentle shelving steps are over-run with tiny daises. It feels like 'The Secret Garden' it's as though it has had a long sleep and yet retained some lovely planting. Its not perfect and that's its beauty.
Both in the gardens and the house, there is combined sense of grandeur and simplicity. With intricate patterned windows, ornate carved details and once guilded wood and panelling, alongside very early simple furniture. The house isn 't 'dressed with fancy drapes or furnishings but has incredible patterned ceilings especially the painted chequer - board ceiling in the dining room. The kitchens are frighteningly stark - a reminder that it would have been very hot and exhausting with the two huge fireplaces burning - an insight into the tough life of being 'downstairs '
The chapel is fabulous - its very small but has frescoe seccoes incl the 3 skeletons !!, floral designs and religious illustrations. There is a small museum in a courtyard room. There is also a tea room and outdoor seating.
There are a lot of steps and uneven surfaces so not ideal for those a little unsteady on their feet.
When I next return, I will take a picnic and find a sunny quiet spot at the lower terrace by the towering walls amongst the roses, looking at the river and the meadow beyond.
I love Chatsworth House, but this is different, it'is quieter, smaller and less polished but its still a jewel well worth a visit. ( Entry was £12 )