Chatsworth Reopened: The Glory Of Derbyshire Is A Great Family Day Out

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Image by Paul Johnson, creative commons licence

Let’s face it, England doesn’t exactly have a shortage of big, fancy houses in the countryside open to visitors. On these pages alone, we’ve recently recommended Audley End, Hever Castle and a septet of National Trust properties.

Chatsworth’s worth banging on about, though. The Peak District home of the Duke of Devonshire has a ton of stuff for families to enjoy. Now reopened following the coronavirus closures, it’s a great time to visit while the crowds are smaller.

Isn’t It In The Middle Of Nowhere, Though?

Chatsworth is beautifully hidden away in the rolling hills of the Peak District (as hidden as a massive house and 2,000 acres of land can be). Don’t dismiss it as difficult to get to, though. It’s less than 15 miles from the M1, so you could easily pop by for a few hours (having prebooked) if you’re making a north-south journey.

Is It Just A Posh House To Look Round, Or Is There Other Stuff We Can Do?

For sure it’s a posh house. It’s been a posh house for half a millennium, and it has 126 posh rooms -- about a fifth of which you can look round. That’s all very exquisite, but not exactly what most kids are after. 

They’ll be more interested in the wider grounds, which contain a farmyard and an adventure playground. Hang on. Let me rephrase that. They contain a farmyard with a secret tunnel to an adventure playground.

A Secret Tunnel?

Yes. Well… it’s not that secret. It’s mentioned on the website, and it has a big sign over it saying SECRET TUNNEL. But, yeah, it’s still a secret tunnel.

The humble stable block. Image by the author

Sounds Good. What’s The Rest Of The Adventure Playground Like?

It’s really rather brilliant… one of those fortress-with-rope-bridges-and-curving-slide affairs that they totally didn’t make when you were a child. Add to this “a giant rope park, climbing walls, a trampoline, huge slides, zip wire and swings to burn off their energy,” plus a water play area and clamber-stuff for younger children and you have one of the best playgrounds in the Midlands.

And The Farm?

Nearby you’ll find a small petting farm with the usual collection of sheep, pigs and chickens, plus a donkey called Seamus. You can’t currently pet the animals, thanks to the C word, but they’re all there for the kids to ogle. Star turn is the new foal called Princess Beatrice. 

Brilliant. What Else Can We Do As A Family At Chatsworth?

You’ll want to explore the gardens. With any number of sculptures, follies, landscape features, and the famous water cascade, there’s plenty to see. Looking for a 17th century willow tree made of brass that squirts water into the air? You have highly specific needs, but you’ve come to the right place. Ever wanted to turn yourself into a human sundial? Again, Chatsworth’s your friend. The gardens are full of delights like these. Be sure to download the Little Explorer’s Garden Trail from the website. Sadly, the maze is closed at the moment (difficult to do the whole social distancing thing).

OK, Anything Else I Need To Know?

Like all venues, Chatsworth’s had to adapt to the ‘new normal’. All tickets must now be prebooked, and once you’ve left a certain area (like the farm), you won’t be allowed back in without another booking. Facemasks will be needed for indoor spaces (except for under-11s and those with certain medical conditions). The estate has several dining facilities, plenty of toilets and baby change. Buggies are welcome all over the estate, but not inside the house (front- or side-worn baby carriers are allowed).



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.