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Chickens With Attitude
Chatsworth House (Bakerwell)
Member Name: DaisyDuck
Chatsworth House (Bakerwell)
Date: 06/09/01, updated on 06/09/01 (182 review reads)
Advantages: Plenty to see.
Disadvantages: House tour may not suit some children.
Things to do at Chatsworth.
* Tour the House.
* Walk in the Gardens.
* Visit the Farm and Adventure Playground.
* Walk and picnic in the parklands.
* Visit the farm shop.
Parking is £1.00 after that you can use the park area for free, or pay to go into the House, Gardens and Farm/Playground. You can buy separate tickets for any attraction or a combined ticket. We bought a family pass for everything, which meant that you could use different sections of the pass on any day during the season.
On our first visit the children wanted to visit the farm and adventure playground.
Because of foot&mouth the animals on the farm are somewhat depleted with no cattle, sheep, pigs or goats. There is a clear sign warning you of this before you buy your ticket, and of course the milking demonstrations are cancelled because of this.
But there are still guinea pigs,rabbits, horses including a shire, many varities of chicken , geese and my favourite ducks of course. There are organised times for children to pet the furry guinea pigs and rabbits and egg collecting in the chicken coop.
There are sinks, soap and hand dryers for washing after handling animals or collecting eggs.
You follow the steps and the noisy squeals up to the adventure playground. On the way up to the play ground you will find a not so secret "secret tunnel", this is an alternative way for the more adventurous amongst you to get to the play area. It consists of crawling through a large pipe and then climbing a ladder, and yes I saw adults as well as kids give it a go. r><br>
The playground is divided into two main areas, one has a large complex of ladders, slides, rope bridges etc to explore, the other has smaller versions of the same plus some sand and water play.
Although my daughter is only five she was soon clambering about the larger stucture with her big brother. The playground is set up in the trees, and the constuctions are all made of natural wood, metal and nylon ropes. It has a lovely natural feel and look, is protected from wind by the trees and seems to be very sturdy. There are first aiders patrolling around in red overalls and a little first aid hut, should you child get any cuts or grazes. Despite it being quite busy I didn't see any casualties.
By the time we persuaded them it was time to look at something else, it was lunchtime. There is a cafe for families at the farm, but we had taken a picnic with us.My little girl insisited on helping me fetch the picnic from the car, and was then furious when she had her hand rubber stamped as a pass out.
We used the picnic area at the farm, there are picnic tables down by the duckpond. This turned out to be a highlight for the children as Maisy Mallard waddled up from the pond with her five ducklings to share our lunch.
After lunch we returned the empty picnic basket to the car and went to visit the gardens.
The gardens at Chatsworth are spectacular and large, with fountains, ponds a maze and one or two other surprises.
Revelation.. This is a modern water sculpture fountain, it looks a like a flower bud , and opens and closes. It's not easy to describe and I found most people were fascinated trying to work out how the mechanism of this impressive water feature worked.
The Cascade .. water runs down a series of steps down the hill towards the house. This is a huge stucture, as the water cascading over the steps is only shallow many children and adults use it to paddle and cool their aching feet. My children ripped off
their shoes and socks and decided to walk from top to bottom. This all went well until my daughter slipped and sat down firmly on her little bottom. She had a little cry, mainly due to hurt pride rather than physical injury, took off her shorts and completed her journey in T-shirt and knickers.
The Maze.. this is a traditional maze built from hedges, I thought this would occupy the kids while we waited for Aprils shorts to dry in the sun. We didn't find the official route to the centre but did find a way using a well trodden gap in the hedge, I suppose you could say we cheated.
By now the children were a bit tired, so we decided to go back to our holiday lodge and 'do' the house another day.
On the way back we visited the farm shop which is about a mile and half away from the house at the village of Pilsley.
Farm shop is not really an accurate description, it's more of a farm supermarket. It sells fruit and veg, produce from the estate, meat, has a lovely cheesecounter, real dairy icecream, handmade chocolates, cakes and much more. We leant on a wall in the carpark and admired the view, while we demolished our dairy ice creams and conversed with a herd of friendly cows.
The Second Visit.
Feeling brave that day, after a morning shopping in Bakewell to stock up on puddings we decided to return to Chatsworth to tour the house.
We arrived at lunchtime and picnicked under a tree in the park. Out of nowhere came half a dozen chickens looking for a free lunch. Now I haven't mentioned this earlier in the opinion, but there are a lot of free range chickens at Chatsworth, they have free range of the whole park and gardens, not just the farm area. Now my parents used to keep chickens and they didn't bother me that much but my son got quite nervous when they had the audacity to walk allover the picnic rug to get crumbs, and then attempted to drink orangeade from his beaker. Waving of arms and shouting o
f shoo just ended in their beady eyed defiance, so I resorted to flicking a tea towel towards them, this had the desired effect and they went off to prey on some other hapless picnickers.
Finally we enter the house. Both children are under strict instuction not to touch anything. I make sure they use the toilet before going in, as it takes about an hour to get round and their are no public loos in the house. Matthew soon got bored and tried to wind me up by saying he needed the toilet, or saying "I'm Bored" as loudly as he could. He got his come uppance about halfway round when he tore a receipt he had found into confetti and sprinkled it on the floor. One of the room guides was on his case at once "Did you throw that paper on the floor? Well, pick it up at once", and he did! My little girl enjoyed it much more, especially The Queen of Scots Rooms, where she would say "thats the queens room, thats the queens bed" and so on.
From an adult point of view Chatsworth is a beautiful house, wonderfully decorated with some fascinating objects. Unlike some stately homes you only visit the State Rooms and bedrooms, I do like to have a nosy around the kitchens and servants quarters as well.
The guides are very helpful and approachable even if they do pounce on young litterbugs and I chatted with a couple of them about the tapestries and soft furnishings which are my main interest. The most memorable room in the house for me is the Oak Room which is full of carved oak including some huge oak pillars.
Once out of the house hubby went to look around the shop while I took the children for an ice cream. The shop sells the usual things for house and garden , along with souvenirs and they were selling plants when we went.
So now off for a look round the rest of the garden.
The Kitchen Garden.. Kids were quite impressed I could recognise all the vegetables growing without reading the labels, they forget I'm
a farmers daughter.
The Willow Tree.. Not a real willow tree but a squirting sculpture, good fun and refreshing on a hot day. The Pinetum and Grotto Pond.. Walk up into the pinetum to see all types of pine tree, April insisted on collecting pine cones in here in spite of the fact that we were staying in a lodge in a pine forrest. There are plenty of seats amongst the trees to sit and enjoy the peace of the pond and gardens, this area is much quieter than the hustle and bustle around the house.
Finally time to leave.
The verdict. Everywhere except the house enjoyed by all, tip don't take a grumpy 10 year old boy around the house.
We paid £27.00 for the family pass, which for one and half days entertainment seems good value for money.
Plenty of toilets all clean and well kept.
Fully licensed Carriage House resturant, Jean-Pierre's bar, for families the The Farmyard Cafe.
Kiosks for drinks, sandwiches and ice cream.
Only the house is not not fully accessible to wheelchair users, electric scooters and manual wheelchairs can be borrowed.
Christmas at Chatsworth.
The adventure playground closes on the 28th October, but the house and gardens remain open until 22nd of December. During November and December children will be able to go and visit father Christmas.
Adults House&Garden £8.00
Garden Only £4.00
Children House&Garden £3.50
Garden Only £1.75
Seniors citizens&Students House&Garden £6.75
Garden Only £3.00
Adventure playground £3.50 for adults&children.
Family Tickets.. Pass for all attractions £27
Garden Only £9.50
For opening times, group bookings and other prices visit www.chatsworth.org
Also on offer at the website is a history of the house, a virtual tour and details about special
events and behind the scenes tours.
You can also shop online from the orangery gift shop. Shopping is much easier this way than trying to steer small children round a gift shop crowded with tourists.
For further information on opening times, prices etc. go to www.chatsworth.org.
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