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“Brilliant house”
Review of Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey
Ranked #1 of 78 things to do in Derby
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Historic great house, which has remained largely unchanged for most of the 20th century, features unique collections, a landscaped park and walled gardens.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
167 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 264 helpful votes
“Brilliant house”
Reviewed December 30, 2012

Excellent National Trust property with enthusiastic staff. The original delapidated condition of the house is maintained so that there is no improvement or worsening. Don't miss the amazing bed! The gardens and orangery are also worth a visit. The extensive grounds of the property make for good walking, especially around the deer park and lakes. Look out for the "Old Man of Calke" oak tree that was alive 200 years before the 1066 Norman invasion!

Visited December 2012
1 Thank Harv12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,702 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Derby UK
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Italian visitor was delighted with English history at Calke”
Reviewed December 27, 2012

We had an Italian friend staying with us and we brought him to Calke to tour the hourse and gardens - he was amazed at the house and loved the asking questions to the room guides - who were all excellent in their knowledge of the place and its history and artifacts. A thoroughly pleasing day out for anyone of any age - all in rolling green countryside too!

Visited August 2012
1 Thank JandSDerbyUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Magical place - especially at Christmas”
Reviewed December 16, 2012

Calke Abbey is a bit different from the standard National Trust propery - it is presented in the same state as it was given to the Trust (with a few changes,such as the display of the royal gift of Chinese silk bed drapes and costimes)) so that the visitor can see the upward struggle that the Trust faces when presented with a disused stately home.

However, whether you visit the house, with its knowledgable and friendly guides or not, the grounds of the house are magnificent and there are plenty of places to explore. In addition, the walking around the grounds and beyond is superb (rolling woods and farmland rather than dramatic mountains, but lovely nonetheless).

At Christmas, the place really does come into its own. While the daytime is lovely (with craft for the kids, carol singers, a smithy, a wishing tree, and an owl display on the day I visited - 15 December) the crowds really start to come in as dusk falls when the path the church from the house, and parts of the grounds are lit up with beautiful Christmas trees, lanterns and lights. It really is magical.

There is also a pretty good shop (as you'd expect from the National Trust) and a cafe which, sadly in common with all NT cafes I visited recently, is a bit disorganised in terms of staffing - food is lovely, but oh, the queues!

A superb day out for kids and adults alike, and a good playground for the little ones as well.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank Liz B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“A lovely old fashioned Christmas Event!”
Reviewed December 15, 2012

Today we attended the Christmas Tree Trail at Calke Abbey, myself my Mum and 2 children aged 6 & 10 and there really was something for all of us!

We are NOT National Trust Members and I still found the day good value for money. Entrance was £5.20 for all of us together (Family Price) and once parked we could have attended the events in the stables including Christmas Carols and dancing and Children's Crafts at no extra cost, the craft events included making Reindeer dust, gift boxes from Christmas Cards, Gift bags and Fuzzy Muzzys, the the kids were enchanted by the story's from the lovely volunteers who really engaged them and had lots of time to show them how to do things.

We then walked along to the play area and trim trail ( again included in the entrance cost) and wandered around the little shopping area and cafe serving a good selection of hot and cold food which was all reasonably priced (catering for Gluten Free diets too!)

The Christmas Tree Trail is at extra cost of £12.00 for a family of 4 and was lovely, there is a trail of lights and lanterns leading to the Church, collect colored ribbons when entering the trail and tie them to the wishing tree and make a wish on your way round, there are lots of little areas on the way to stop for photo opportunities ! The church was very pretty and decorated for Christmas and you can enter the house and see the opulence (as it were) compared to the 'Servants quarters' The main house was really interesting and again decorated for Christmas and importantly held the Children's interest for some time! Again the volunteer guides were very interesting and captivated all with their story's.

Father Christmas was the main event for us at a cost of £4.00 per child (Lovely gift..I won't spoil the surprise which I feel would have cost far more than the entry price) there was a little table and post box to sit and write letters for Christmas wishes and a post box to send them, the downside was we waited over an hour and 20 minutes to see FC and there was not much to occupy kids.....

All in all a fabulous afternoon when we left the cries of Merry Christmas ringing in our ears did fill us with festive spirit! Well worth a visit in our opinion.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank Trollydolly14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Excellent views”
Reviewed December 12, 2012

i love the buildings, and plenty of room for walks, lovely area to sit and eat, all the buildings grab and show the true history of the place

Visited October 2012
Thank bexster28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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