Calke Abbey

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Normally, when told by the proprietors of some tourist establishment that they "have left the monument in a state of disrepair to show how it was when it was last occupied", I tend to assume they are just being cheapskates.  Indeed, such an accusation is often levelled at Calke Abbey.  However, if you manage to visit this amazing property, you will truly appreciate the intention.  It is so revealing to see the state in which a formerly staggeringly rich family ended up living.  There was no electricity until 1960, the kitchen is filthy and falling apart, the paint is peeling off the walls.  It is quite wonderful to visit...but I would not want to live there!

And then there is the location.  As one American visitor observed, it was ill-conceived to build such a house under the flight path for East Midlands airport!

Apart from the amazing house, there is a church, a wooded park with bluebells to die for, a series of ponds, deer and other exotic farm animals strewn about, a walled vegetable garden and an ice house.

The one real down side is the current obsession of the National Trust, in common with most other institutions, with dumbing down our heritage.  Thus we find cultural events like apple fairs, putting woolly socks on statues, Cadburys sponsored Easter egg trails and other superficial nonsense.

Parkland Outbuildings Calke Abbey Garden

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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2020