Chatsworth House English Garden

Chatsworth House English Garden
Chatsworth House English Garden

Chatsworth House is a must-see for any garden lover.

With over 100,000 plants and flowers on display, the English Garden at Chatsworth House is truly spectacular. The garden’s design was inspired by the 18th-century landscape architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown who created an idyllic setting with rolling hills and lakes that are perfect for picnics or just relaxing in the sun. If you love to get lost in nature then this is definitely a place you need to visit.

There are many different parts to explore including an Italian Garden, a walled kitchen garden, an English Rose Garden, and more! We know that there will be something here for everyone to enjoy; whether you love history or modern art we guarantee that your visit will be unforgettable. And don’t forget about our café too – they serve delicious cakes as well as hot meals every day of the week so make sure you stop by before leaving!

What is Chatsworth House Garden

Chatsworth House Garden is a large estate in the Derbyshire countryside in England which is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The garden covers areas such as the river garden, the cascade garden, the walled garden, and the laburnum arch.

The History of Chatsworth House Garden

The house and garden were first constructed by Sir William Cavendish and Bess of Hardwick in 1555. The Elizabethan garden was much smaller than the garden today. There were terraces to the east of the house where the main lawn is now, ponds and fountains to the south, and fishponds to the west by the river. The garden was redesigned in 1649 by Lady Margaret Cavendish, wife of the 2nd Duke of Newcastle. A new east terrace was added, with a parterre and balustrade. The fashionable ‘wilderness’ style of landscape gardening was introduced, with winding paths, grottoes, and statuary.

In 1748, John Loveday designed a new garden in the naturalistic landscape style. The former east terrace was removed and a canal was created, which became known as the Broad Walk.

In 1761, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown designed the grounds to be more picturesque in appearance with three artificial lakes to emphasize the beauty of Chatsworth House.

The 6th Duke of Devonshire, employed William Kent to turn the garden into a more naturalistic landscape. The lower lake was formed by damming the river and diverting it around an area where formal features had previously been placed.

The ‘Wilderness’ was abandoned in favor of more traditional flower beds, which were located along pathways on three sides of the lawn. The Duke’s Walk was built, a footpath through woodland which connected the house to the ‘Great Stables’ and other outbuildings.

In 1820, Joseph Paxton joined the garden staff at Chatsworth as a Head Gardener. He first laid out an extensive kitchen garden southeast of the house.

In 1824, he transformed the existing canal into a serpentine lake. Nearby, an arched bridge designed by Benjamin Gummow was built to create a picturesque view of the lake with distant hills beyond. The Duchess planted many hundreds of thousands of trees and shrubs including 250,000 roses in front of the new east front.

In 1846, a Swiss bridge was built. The bridge was the idea of Prince Albert and it replaced a wooden bridge that had been constructed in 1850. In 1863, Paxton’s landscape gardener James Harrison created the rock garden below the west terrace of the house from huge amounts of the spoil taken from excavating the lower lake.

In 1870, the large pond to the south of the White Bridge was formed by enlarging an existing pool and linking it through a narrow channel with Walnut Island. A new cascade was added at this time made out of millstones from Derby. It features three keyhole-shaped pools each very deep in order that its water flows over the top. The cascade has been vandalized on more than one occasion by people who have thrown slates from the roof of the house down into the ponds below.

In 1875, a large fountain was added below the south terrace. A new wall, balustrade, and steps were built along that terrace giving it the formal effect that it has today.

In the 1880s, the canal was extended to its present length of over a mile long by creating new lakes at each end. This extension had two purposes: for irrigation and as a reservoir in times of drought. The western part of the canal is now known as Lower Canal Pond, but originally it was the reservoir. The old wooden bridge was replaced with an iron one at this time.

The whole of the garden layout that you see today was the work of William Barron, Head Gardener from 1892 to 1924. He designed avenues and planted many thousands of trees on the estate. His masterpiece is considered to be the White Bridge which he designed in the 1890s. It features three arches with an unusual hump at one end which gives it a unique appearance. The structure was constructed by Messrs Gilkes of Lincoln, transported in pieces, and put in position on-site during April 1895.

In 1924, Mr. John Alexander took over as Head Gardener followed by Leonard Dacre who was a head gardener from 1940 to 1966.

In the 1960s, a rock garden was built on Walnut Island using stones taken from gravel pits in Derbyshire and Yorkshire. The island became ornamental and is covered with numerous varieties of miniature trees and shrubs. During this period, many rare specimens were planted in the gardens, such as the “Chamaerops humilis” in 1975.

In 1966, John Dean became the Head Gardener followed by Michael Balston in 1971. Under their stewardship, much planting took place including a formal rose garden in 1984 near the White Bridge. The walled garden was restored and modernized between 1978-1984.

In 1990, the present Head Gardener Jayne Ashworth and her predecessor Annabelle Von de Heyde (1989-1990) continued to modernize Chatsworth’s landscape. In 1993, a new river was created from some existing lakes to provide a more complex series of ponds. The water is fed by ditches which drain surplus water from the old river that ran around the south side of the walled garden.

In 1994, a new rock garden was formed from a bulldozed area at the north end of Walnut Island using materials from local quarries. In 1998, an American-style woodland garden was created in memory of Sir Harold Hillier CBE with his son, Christopher Hillier.

The rest of the garden is now filled with English plants and trees which are arranged according to their flowering times. These include tulips, magnolias, daffodils, and rhododendrons. The herbaceous borders were planted between 1899-1932 by L Dacre Head Gardener.

These borders are separated by narrow paths and hedges. The edges of the paths were planted with seasonal flowers in the Victorian style and most plants that would appear in a cottage garden or kitchen garden can be found here.

The most recent conservation work carried out at Chatsworth House has included repairs to the White Bridge. All loose stone was replaced on the bridge and on the island. The main change was the replacement of some stone which had come from a quarry near Buxton in Derbyshire with stones taken from Derbyshire quarries, including Ashford Black Marble. source

The Grounds at Chatsworth House Garden

The Grounds at Chatsworth House Garden are managed by the Chatsworth Settlement. The garden is divided into five main areas; White, Green, Water, Rock, and Wilderness. There are also fixed features such as walls, fences, and sculptures that may be included in other areas if they suit their surroundings. The first area you come to upon entering the Gardens is White. This area gets its name because of the white-painted garden ornaments that are on display here. 

The second area, Green, is named for its dark green borders which feature many species of herbaceous plants. The third area, Water, has pools and basins which form important focal points in their respective areas. In this area, you will also find a ‘secret’ garden that is only open during the summer season. The fourth area, Rock, has a large rockery with dwarf conifers and alpine plants. It also features a traditional walled kitchen garden that grows fruit and vegetables for Chatsworth House itself. Wilderness takes up nearly one-third of the garden and it has a slightly more natural look. In this area, you will find a woodland walk that contains rare trees from various regions in the world. You can also see an American swamp where visitors are advised to avoid stepping in the mud to prevent damage to oak tree roots that have been installed in this area.

How to get to Chatsworth House Garden

A number of local bus routes stop at the home on their way to Chatsworth. The home, garden, and farmyard entrances are all within walking distance of the bus stop.

By Bus

Buses from Bakewell

TM Travel’s 218 route travels between Sheffield and Bakewell, stopping in Chatsworth every day.

Buses from Buxton

On Sundays and Bank Holidays, High Peak’s 58 service operates between Buxton and Macclesfield, stopping at Chatsworth.

Buses from Chesterfield

Hulleys’ 170 and x70 services travel between Chesterfield and Bakewell, stopping at Baslow every day.

Passengers arriving by bus in Baslow village can use a public walkway to get to the park. Walk across the single-track bridge from the bus stop at Nether End, Baslow, and take the route on the right. The residence and sights are then a delightful 2km stroll away.

Buses from Manchester

Bakewell is served by the National Express service. 

Between Manchester Airport and Buxton, the High Peak Skyline 199 service operates; services from Buxton to Chatsworth are mentioned above.

Buses from Matlock

Stagecoach’s 217 service runs Monday through Friday, except holidays, between Matlock and Chatsworth.

Buses from Sheffield

TM Travel’s 218 route travels between Sheffield and Bakewell, stopping in Chatsworth every day. Until further notice, the 218 services is operating on an emergency schedule.

By Train

Chesterfield station

Chesterfield is the nearest major train station to Chatsworth. Buses do not run all the way to Chatsworth from Chesterfield. Nether End, Baslow, is the closest bus stop, located 2 kilometers (approximately 25 minutes walk) from Chatsworth.

Matlock station

Matlock is the closest station to Chatsworth, and buses travel straight to Chatsworth from Matlock.

Sheffield station

Take the train to Sheffield and then a bus directly to Chatsworth from the Sheffield Interchange (across the road from the railway station).

By bicycle

Visitors arriving by bicycle will be able to store their bicycles in our facilities. These are positioned near the left baggage room at the entrance of the home. source

Opening times at Chatsworth House Garden

During Weekdays

  • House is 10:00 am–5.30 pm
  • Garden is 10:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Farmyard & playground is 10:00 am–5.00 pm
  • Car park is 9:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Cavendish restaurant is 11:00 am–4.30 pm
  • Carriage House Café is 10:00 am–5.00 pm
  • Estate farm shop café is 9:00 am–5:00 pm
  • Farmyard café is 10.30 am–4.30 pm
  • Flora’s Temple tea shop in the garden is 10:00 am–5.30 pm
  • Flying Childers restaurant 11.30 am–4.30 pm
  • Park shop near the house entrance is 9.30 am–5:00 pm
  • Estate farm shop is 9:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Farmyard shop is 10.30 am–5.30 pm
  • Stables shop is 10:00 am–5.30 pm
  • Orangery shop in the garden is 10.30 am–6:00 pm

During Weekends

  • House is 10:00 am–5.30 pm
  • Garden is 10:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Farmyard & playground is 10:00 am–5.00 pm
  • Car park is 9:00 am–6:00 pm
  • Cavendish restaurant is 11:00 am–4.30 pm
  • Carriage House Café is 10:00 am–5.00 pm
  • Estate farm shop café is 9:00 am–5:00 pm
  • Farmyard café is 10.30 am–4.30 pm
  • Flora’s Temple tea shop in the garden is 10:00 am–5.30 pm
  • Flying Childers restaurant 11.30 am–4.30 pm
  • Park shop near the house entrance is 9.30 am–5:00 pm
  • Estate farm shop is 9:00 am–6:00 pm Saturdays & 11:00 am–5:00 pm
  • Stables shop is 10:00 am–5.30 pm
  • Orangery shop in the garden is 10.30 am–6:00 pm

Entry Prices for Chatsworth House Garden

  • adult is £19.80,
  • child is £9.90,
  • family is £49.50, and
  • family one adult is £29.70.
  • On the other hand, the standard for adult is £18.00,
  • child is £9.00, family is £45.00, and family one adult is £27.00.

What to See and Do at Chatsworth House Garden

There are many wonderful things to see and do at Chatsworth House Garden. Some of the highlights include:

1. Christmas Day out- Celebrate Christmas at Chatsworth House Garden from November 6th to January 9th. There’s plenty of festive fun to be had, including a Santa’s Grotto, Christmas Market, and live music performances.

2. Fun in the great outdoors- Explore the 105-acre garden and enjoy plenty of fun outdoor activities. The garden is home to a children’s play area, maze, mini-golf course, and more.

3. Classic day out Admire the beautiful Chatsworth House and peruse highlights from the Devonshire Collections before exploring the garden. source

How to Get the Most Out of Your Visit to Chatsworth House Garden

1. Arrive early – This will give you plenty of time to explore the gardens without having to rush.

2. Plan your route – Make sure to take a look at the map before you start exploring, so you can make the most of your time.

3. Visit the highlights first – Make sure to visit the highlights areas first, so you can see everything that Chatsworth House Garden has to offer.

4. Take your time – Don’t rush through the gardens; take your time to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the surroundings.

5. Visit the café – Make a pit stop at the café, which has a range of delicious treats and refreshments available.

6. Freshen up – Freshen up after you’ve been walking around all day with a stop off at the Visitor Centre to use their facilities.

7. Head down to the woods – Wander through the woods on a peaceful walk.

8. Shop until you drop – Make sure to visit the gift shop and pick up a souvenir or two of your trip.

Other Places Nearby

If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting than exploring the garden of Chatsworth House, then why not try out some adventure activities that are located near to the area? There are many different companies that offer these kinds of things and if this sounds like fun to you, then check out some of the places and attractions near Chatsworth House Garden listed below:

  1. Rapid Horizons Ltd. – Offering a range of activities such as indoor climbing, outdoor climbing, abseiling and zip-lining this company is great for those who want to get active and try something new. You can find out more information here:
  2. Dolomite Training – For those who are interested in learning how to climb, then why not try out some training sessions? This company offers many different courses and you can find out more information here:
  3. Blackwell Caving – An activity called potholing can be found at Blackwell Caving. You can find out more information about this here:
  4. St Peter’s Church – For those who are interested in history and architecture, then a visit to the church located near to Chatsworth House Garden can be very interesting. Find out more here:
  5. Chatsworth House Garden – Located near to the estate is an actual garden that has been restored and transformed into beautiful gardens that are perfect for those who love the great outdoors! You can find out more information about this place here:


Visiting Chatsworth House is an experience that you won’t soon forget. The history of the property, combined with all the beautiful gardens and greenery will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed. It only takes a short visit to feel like this majestic estate has such a calming effect on your soul. If you have any questions about visiting or want help planning your trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Our team at Visit Britain are happy to walk through everything from what time of year might be best for touring garden properties in England to answering specific queries about travel logistics including transportation options available near Chatsworth House Garden. We can even provide suggestions for other nearby attractions if it’s not feasible for visitors traveling by car or plane to take a full day to tour the house. As soon as you arrive at Chatsworth House, you’ll be swept away by its timeless beauty and everything it has to offer.

Learn more about Chatsworth House Garden

Chatsworth House Garden Tour

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