With schools out for summer, an action-packed programme of entertainment launches at Chatsworth with trails, virtual reality tours and hands-on activities for families to explore the stories behind the £32m 10-year restoration.
‘Chatsworth Renewed’ is the biggest restoration and conservation of the house since the 1820s. With family-inspired activities spread throughout the house, garden, farmyard and adventure playground, there’s something for visitors of all ages to enjoy throughout the school summer holidays (21 July to 30 August 2018).
Alongside the popular animal handling and heritage craft activities in the farmyard and outdoor games and live band performances in the 105-acre garden, visitors are invited to explore the ‘Chatsworth Renewed’ exhibition dedicated to the restoration project, with hands-on activities to engage children and young people.
Lamb trail in the house
Families can explore ‘Chatsworth Renewed’, solve puzzles and uncover fascinating facts about the people involved in building, conserving and looking after Chatsworth. Get hands on in the Inner Court to create their own monumental urn and explore old drawings and artefacts tucked away in sets of drawers around the grand rooms of the house. Baalington Lamb is also hidden throughout the house and will offer a task or fun fact every time he is spotted.
Giant Jenga in the garden
In the garden, the famous head gardener Sir Joseph Paxton from the 1800s who introduced many of the famous landmarks still visible today, such as the Emperor Fountain and Rockery, will be wandering around with his wife Sarah, talking about the historic landscape at Chatsworth and the Cavendish banana, along with plant hunter extraordinaire John Gibson who brought back orchids from India. These costumed character actors will be in the garden every day.
Through the use of virtual reality, there’s even the chance to explore Paxton’s Great Conservatory which took four years to build and was a precursor to Crystal Palace, but had to be demolished in the 1920s due to the huge running costs. VR tours will be available from the Maze.
The nostalgic sound of Patrick Cook’s barrel organ, traditional games such as croquet, giant Jenga and skittles, and free face painting will also be available for visitors near the Maze.
Baby donkeys in the farmyard
The hugely popular animal handling activities take place in the farmyard this summer, with families invited to pet rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals in the animal handling barn. With two newborn donkey foals arriving in the farmyard in the last few weeks, the first named Summer and the newest arrival named Bramble after a vote by Chatsworth House Facebook followers, there will be even more for children to enjoy. Daily milking demonstrations will also be available to discover how cows and goats are milked. On selected dates, there will be a focus on river creatures that can be found in the river Derwent; making willow creatures using willow weaving and discovering how to turn fleece to wool. A trailer discovery tour to the Golden Gates to see the Chatsworth Estate will run every day from the top yard (small charge applies).
A family house, garden, farmyard and adventure playground ticket is available and offers a half price return visit. For more information on activities, times and prices, see chatsworth.org/events/summer.