Yesterday I had a rather 'Grand' day out at Chatsworth House Gardens in the Peak District.
Although this amazing stately home is just on my doorstep I have only visited it once before several years ago, which is a shame - we never seem to appreciate what we have when we live so close to it!
It couldn't have been a more perfect day to visit, it was an absolutely gloriously sunny and scorching hot day, which as we know, is a rarity in the UK!!
You can take a tour of the house as well as enjoying the 105 acres of gardens but it will come as no surprise to you that I prefer the gardens!
The gardens are quite diverse and house a huge array of sculptures from classical to very modern pieces.
I was very pleased to see that many areas of the garden had been left to go a little 'wild' in terms of allowing the wild flowers to flourish, this is providing a essential food source for our native wildlife and I saw a huge amount of butterflies and bees.
The photo above shows how stunning wild flowers can be even in a more formal setting, this was a large strip of wild flowers right next to a manicured lawn and it looked great!
This must be the most photographed view of Chatsworth House, you can see the incredible Emperor Fountain. This fountain is powered entirely by natural water pressure and gravity, the water drops 122 metres through at 40cm pipe from a man made lake and can reach up to 90 metres in height!
You have to watch which way the wind is blowing though as you can get soaked if your not careful from the spray alone, although yesterday a bit of cooling water was rather welcome!
This is the garden in front of The Maze, its under redevelopment at the moment but still has some lovely plants. The Maze isn't too difficult and is great fun for the kids, although I enjoyed a meander through it too!
The Maze from a higher viewpoint.
Chatsworth has quite a number of Water Gardens, the formal ones are lovely but I really like the more naturally set ones like below.
You may just be able to pick out this Hare sculpture at the end of the pond above, it is by sculpter Barry Flanagan. Personally I found it quite unnerving for some reason and certainly wouldn't like to come across it late at night!
'Revelation' is another must see gravity fed animated water sculpture.
The stainless steel 'pomegranate' shaped petals open up to reveal the golden orb within once the weight of the water is sufficient. They then close again with a rather loud 'bang' which can be heard quite some distance away, as the water is released again, and so it continues throughout the day!
Taking a welcome rest in this cool building, I look like I'm waiting for a bus !
My favourite part of Chatsworth Gardens has to be the terraced Ornamental Kitchen Garden, it's smaller and more intimate in its setting but still has the stunning Peak District countryside as it's backdrop.
It is more of a country cottage style garden, lots of flowers and vegetables which is my style of gardening! I felt totally at home here and could happily have stayed here all day!
I have never seen such an abundance of beautiful Peonies, they really make an impact grown like this.
The bees were also enjoying the Peonies, I was surrounded by the buzzing of lots of happy bees here, perfect!
Even the archways are put to good use in the kitchen garden, eating apples are easily trained over the frames, no space is wasted!
Plenty of cut flowers being grown - no doubt for the 'House' floral arrangements.
The Diamond - a slowly spinning sculpture that reflects the kitchen garden in it's many facets !
One final Barry Flanagan Hare sculpture nearer the house, this one was not so scary though!
I had a fabulous time walking around these gardens on what must have surely been the hottest day of the year so far!
Chatsworth is a awsome day out if you are visiting the Peak District. There is so much more to see than what I have shown you here, there are literally miles of paths to wander around, my photos only just scratch the surface!
Chatsworth also allows you to bring a picnic with you and settle down in the gardens to enjoy it, I think this is really lovely especially if you have a family to feed as it can get quite expensive to eat out, although there are ample places to shop and eat within The Stables courtyard.
Visit Chatsworth House web page for more information here