My first visit of what should be quite a few to Chatsworth House this year since I've bought a 'Silver Friends' package annual season ticket.
I spent about ninety minutes in the House today, and nearly twice as long exploring the extensive gardens: including walking to and from the railway station I did 19,000 steps, about six miles. I haven't walked up and down so many steps in only a few hours before, there are a few flights of stairs inside the House, but there are hundreds of steps cut into the hillside where the gardens are.
In my opinion the interior of Chatsworth House is nothing special, it's sumptuous and overwhelming at times, but many of the rooms are very similar - lots of cherubs, heralds, and angels on the ceilings and family portraits on the walls. I've certainly seen better large country houses, Kedleston Hall about twenty miles further south, for example.
Many of the rooms were very dark and it made photography difficulty for me; most of the photographs I took were either out of focus or under-exposed. On its automatic setting my camera couldn't make its mind up what to do, struggling to focus and process the image, and none of the manual settings seemed to be much better...I much prefer landscape photography.
These are the three photographs which I think are okay...but I'm not entirely happy with them. On future visits I'm going to have to experiment with my camera; maybe do some research online first.
The final one of the three photographs was taken in the Sculpture Room, definitely my favourite room in the House...it's nice and bright in there and I could actually see what I was looking at. My other highlight was spending a few minutes listening to the pianist playing a bit of Beethoven [I think] in the Music Room.
It's the gardens that I was really looking forward to see, and although it's early in the season, and there was a very cold wind blowing, I wasn't disappointed, despite the fact that there is scaffolding erected on the Eastern Façade which ruins some of the vistas looking towards the House. There are still plenty of fine, majestic views of the gardens, the House, and the parkland and the nearby hills to enjoy though.
My personal highlights of my two and half hours exploring the gardens were the Rock Garden, walking through the Coal Tunnel, watching the spray of the Emperor Fountain catch the sunlight and form a mini-rainbow, 'The Revelation,' a fascinating water sculpture...and just coming across pleasant surprises hidden away in quiet corners; a grotto, a belvedere, various shelters and little follies, ornamental ponds and waterfalls, statues and sculptures everywhere...oh, and at this time of year, thousands of daffodils in bloom.
I'm planning to visit Chatsworth House about once a month, so I'll be getting my money's worth...I'm really looking forward to watching the seasons change as I explore the gardens.