28 Jul Days out… the Peak District (Lathkill and Chatsworth)
Even though the wedding venue for our bell tents was an hour away, I was still adamant we should camp in the Peak District. Neither of us had ever been to the Peak District so it seemed silly to be going all that way and not go.
We stayed at Bank House Farm campsite, which is ideally located between the village shop and pub. The campsite owners were really friendly and helpful and the site itself was fairly large. The only downside is that the campsite is split in two and all the facilities are only on one site. Meaning it’s a long walk to the toilet or to get your milk out the fridge.
We only had one day to explore the Peak District so driving miles from our base wasn’t really an option as we didn’t want to spend the whole day in the van. Fortunately Chatsworth House was only a 40 minute drive away. Brook spotted on the map that there was a nature reserve with a waterfall en route so off we went. We arrived in Over Haddon, parked up the van and started walking following the signs for Lathkill nature reserve. I immediately became slightly concerned at the very steep incline we were going down – already dreading the walk back up.
When we got to the bottom of the hill we followed the path round to the left not really realising there were other options. We later found out the waterfall was off to the right. Never mind, that could be an adventure for another day. We walked along for a little while enjoying the glorious sunshine until the path widened and you could get down to the river. We immediately took off our shoes and plunged our feet in, deliberating whether to go for a dip or not. Ten seconds later our feet were back out again, it was freezing!
After relaxing on the river banks for a while we headed back towards the van and the dreaded hill. It actually turned out to not be that bad. Very steep but it seemed longer going down than going up. Plus there is the Garden Tea Room just below the top of the hill, which definitely helped. Karen and Mark run the tea room from their kitchen and bake all the cakes themselves. Delicious. (Too delicious to have stopped to take a photo of it seems. Fortunately other people have more self restraint and there are lots of photos of the lovely cakes and their garden on Trip Advisor).
Very full of cake we climbed back into the van and headed on to Chatsworth. As it was still a lovely day we decided to just get garden tickets. We spent four hours walking around the gardens and still missed bits out so if you wanted to see the gardens and the house it would be a full day trip.
Every lake we came to Brook asked whether that was the one Mr Darcy jumped into despite me pointing out numerous times that we weren’t at that house. The driveway definitely had a Pemberley-esque feel to it though. Very impressive. Annoyingly the back of the house was covered in scaffolding – a bit of a downer from a photos perspective.
The gardens are vast. Lakes, fountains, woodland, cascading water features, lush planting, sensory garden, maze, greenhouses full of grapes…the list goes on and on.
There are quite a few statues dotted around the main lawn. Most of the women look a bit perplexed, as if they’ve forgotten where they left their clothes.
We were also treated to a brass band, which was very jolly.
Finally we headed round to the front to get a shot of the magnificent building. I don’t think even Mr Darcy had gold windows…
Chatsworth House http://www.chatsworth.org/
Garden only ticket £12.90. If you book your tickets online in advance you can get free parking (£4)