Behind the facades of every stately home are the stories of fortunes won and lost. We discover both in the glorious Derbyshire countryside – from the tale of the canny Countess of Shrewsbury, one of the richest female landowners of her day, to the Baroque treasure that fell on hard times.
We spend the day at Calke Abbey (pictured left). In stark and deliberate contrast to many of the great houses the National Trust looks after, Calke tells the dramatic story of country house decline – complete with peeling paint, overgrown courtyards and a poignant air of faded grandeur.
The Trust call it their ‘unstately home’ and it’s a fascinating place, not only in its own right and because of the eccentric family who once called it home, but in representing the many houses that have been lost to death duties and squandered fortunes.
At Sudbury Hall (pictured left) we enjoy two very different experiences. The hall is a fine demonstration of 17th century master craftsmanship while the Museum of Childhood, also based here, explores what it was like to be a child in times gone by – whether as a privileged Victorian pupil or a poor chimney sweep.
From here we travel to Kedleston Hall, architect Robert Adam’s Neo-classical masterpiece. The Curzon family have lived here since the 12th century and Lord Curzon’s Eastern Museum is full of curios from the days of the Empire. The house was used as a key filming location for ‘The Duchess’.
Though the mansion house has gone, the echoes of Clumber’s past live on in its beautiful grounds. Clumber Park (pictured left) is a serene spot to while away a couple of hours, whether in the walled kitchen garden or on a gentle stroll through the woods.
From here we make our way to Hardwick Hall, which has emerged virtually unscathed since the powerful Bess of Hardwick ordered its construction in the 1590s. With its enormous windows and lofty ceilings it feels as strikingly original today as it would have been then, while the fabulous tapestries and embroideries are some of the finest in existence.
Included for free: ‘A Taste of Tradition Tour’ at Clumber Park
On our final day we check out of our hotel and head to a handpicked National Trust property on the way home, where we’ll make a short stop.
Grade I Listed, 1875
With its fairytale cupolas, balconies and neo-Gothic flourishes, a house of Thoresby Hall’s stature is the last thing you expect to find hidden on the fringes of Sherwood Forest. The Grade I-listed building is as opulent inside as out, with rich tapestries, an exquisite Blue Room with swagged curtains and a highly decorative ceiling, and a superlative Great Hall with minstrels’ gallery and hammerbeam roof. 30 acres of peaceful gardens, a highly regarded spa and even
a courtyard museum are just a few of the fantastic facilities here.
Upgrade options per person per break
||Dining at Fenocchi’s
||One dinner included in Fenocchi’s
for Historic Rooms only. Small
supplement to dine in Blue Room
or Fenocchi’s for Signature Rooms.
for more details on Warner Leisure hotels.
- Return coach travel
- Accommodation in a Standard Room
- Dinner and breakfast at The Pierrepont Restaurant
- All entrance fees to National Trust properties*
- A historic tour of the hotel garden
From just £279.99
Price includes National Trust members' discount of £45
- Members' discount will be applied during the checkout process if booking on our website.
- Self-drive option available - see the 'Make your own way' section below.
- Single supplement: 4 days, £60; 5 days, £80.
Use our Holiday Finder to search for National Trust Breaks in 3 easy steps.
Most of our customers prefer to let us do the driving and relax on the coach. However, if you’d like to make your own way to the hotel, you are still entitled to a seat on the coach for all excursions.
When making your booking on this website, select 'Making Own Way'
as your pick-up point.
We like to ensure that all our customers are adequately insured to travel. Our fully comprehensive cover
has no upper age limit and to cover your break costs from £14.95 per person
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