One of England's greatest country houses, Chatsworth House, known as the Palace of the Peak, is the ancestral home of the dukes of Devonshire and stands in vast parkland grazed by deer and sheep. Originally an Elizabethan house, 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 a beautiful water cascade —all designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century and, in the 19th, Joseph Paxton, an engineer as well as a brilliant gardener. Plan on at least a half day to explore the grounds; avoid Sunday if you can as it gets very crowded. Inside are intricate carvings, superb furniture, Van Dyck portraits, Sir Joshua Reynolds's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Her Baby, John Singer Sargent's enormous Acheson Sisters, and a few fabulous rooms, including the Sculpture Gallery, the library,
and the Painted Hall.Chatsworth is 4 miles northeast of Bakewell. On the estate there is also a working farm with milking demonstrations, as well as an adventure playground. There are also cafés, restaurants, a tea shop, and a farm shop; you can stay on the estate in several cottages scattered throughout the grounds.