Glorious parkland leads to the ancestral home of the dukes of Devonshire and one of England's greatest country houses. The vast expanse of greenery, grazed by deer and sheep, sets off the Palladian-style elegance of "the Palace of the Peak." Originally an Elizabethan house, Chatsworth was conceived on a monumental scale. It was altered over several generations starting in 1686, and the architecture now has a hodgepodge look, though the Palladian facade remains untouched. The house is surrounded by woods, elaborate gardens, greenhouses, rock gardens, and the most famous water cascade in the country—all designed by two great landscape artists: Capability Brown in the 18th century and, in the 19th, Joseph Paxton, an engineer as well as a brilliant gardener. The gravity-fed Emperor Fountain can shoot as high as 300 feet. Plan on at least a half day to explore the grounds; avoid Sunday if you're allergic to heavy crowds. Inside are intricate carvings, Van Dyck portraits, superb furniture,
and a few fabulous rooms, including the Sculpture Gallery, the library, and the Blue Drawing Room, where you can see two of the most famous portraits in Britain, Sir Joshua Reynolds's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and Her Baby, and John Singer Sargent's enormous Acheson Sisters. Chatsworth is 4 miles northeast of Bakewell. On the grounds are a farm with milking demonstrations at 3 and an adventure playground.
Off B6012, Bakewell, DE45 1PP, England