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National Trust - Calke Abbey, Ticknall

#3 of 562 in Things to do in Derbyshire
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
Built in 1704 on the site of an ancient priory, National Trust - Calke Abbey is an example of the dramatic decline that many typical English country houses suffered in the 20th century. Largely unchanged for over 100 years, the grand mansion is surrounded by walled gardens and sits in the middle of a nature reserve. Peeling paint and crumbling walls in many of the building’s rooms illustrate the tragic story of its original owners, an eccentric family that accumulated a huge collection of hidden treasures. No restoration to the mansion has been done since the 1880s, with the decay of the interior slowed, but not reversed. Take a guided walk around the estate to learn the secret story behind the faded face of this historic house. Work out when and for how long to visit National Trust - Calke Abbey and other Ticknall attractions using our handy Ticknall road trip planner.
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National Trust - Calke Abbey reviews

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  • Lovely walks around the estate where you can go with your dog. We chose the purple route but were a tad disappointed we could not access the Church from the main walkway route. However we did have....  more »
  • Visited free of charge on the Heritage Open Day. We have visited the Abbey before. It is in an idyllic setting with large grounds and gardens. The house is largely untouched and it has been left to...  more »
  • Second visit here on a glorious summer's day. As ever plenty to see & do, and the house is fascinating. Somehow it felt more ordered than last time, with more stuff in glass cases (my pet hate). You need to book a time to tour the house. The state bed is amazing. There are also the tunnels which are well worth a visit. The gardens, in particular the Secret Garden, are amazing with loads for the kids to do & plenty to stimulate their imaginations. There was also lots going on for them in the stables, so a wet day would see them well occupied. We enjoyed coffee & tasty scones in the courtyard outside the cafe, where there are ample tables to sit at & lots of grassed area to sit & sunbathe. Only issue was all the wasps in the courtyard, partly because there were lots of used trays & dishes with waste food & crumbs, also opened jam pots lying around, but no sign of staff clearing the tables. Toilet facilities are adequate but limited to two sites in the large grounds. Clean enough, but I've known better. All the family love it here & visit frequently. I'd go again but skip the house & probably the Church too, which is lovely but small.Once is enough.
  • Fabulous day out. Enjoyed the walks with points of interest on the way. If the sun's out take a picnic and the children will love the open space. House was very engaging for all. Loved spot the toy bird in each area for the children, encouraging younger visitors to look careful. Make sure you visit the ice cream stand near walled garden deliciously devine!
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