Great places to visit in Derbyshire, Devon & Surrey

Today I'm sharing another post where I'm looking back at places I've enjoyed visiting.  This has been a really hard one to pull together, as it was so hard to narrow down to three.  But I did it and I hope you agree with my choices.

1. Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire

Absolutely the top of my list. I love this place and wished I lived closer, although that would make getting to work tricky. If you've not been to Chatsworth do go, it's fabulous.  Hope for nice weather too, because in the sun it's even more fabulous.

2. Killerton in Devon

Killerton made the list for its colourful borders and more unusual additions, I mean not every National Trust place has a Bear House...  And our visit got off to a good start when I spotted this bike parked outside.

3. Polesden Lacey in Surrey

This one's much closer to home and after a quick drive around the M25 we were there.  I'd dropped MOH off at Box Hill so he could practice cycling up hills (!) and I decided to do something more interesting instead.  Polesden Lacey is on the list because it's beautiful and some of it totally unexpected, like the saloon which is as gold as gold could be.  I reckon it was quite the party house in its day.  

LOOKING DOWN ON THE ENTRANCE HALL

LOOKING DOWN ON THE ENTRANCE HALL

ADMIRING THE GOLD SALOON

ADMIRING THE GOLD SALOON

BECAUSE A ROOM COVERED IN GOLD NEEDS A CHANDELIER LIKE THIS

BECAUSE A ROOM COVERED IN GOLD NEEDS A CHANDELIER LIKE THIS

Have you visited any of these places? Or do you have plans to?  Leave a comment and let me know.

Photo-journal: A circular walk from Ilam Hall with a visit to Dovedale

I've one final post from our recent trip to Derbyshire - it's is a circular walk starting from (and therefore ending in) Ilam which takes in some of Dovedale on the way. This was our first time at Dovedale as it was closed on our previous visit to Derbyshire, because of the foot and mouth outbreak. It was open this time, and we're glad we went back.

We pulled up to the car park at Dovedale to learn as National Trust members we were in the wrong place for free parking, and we should infact be at Ilam Hall a mile or so down the road. So off we went to park there. We reckoned that if it was just a mile or so, we could walk back. And it turned out we could, and we did. 

[By the way, if you're not an NT member the Dovedale car park is very reasonably priced.]

So we parked at Ilam Hall, which is run as a Youth Hostel by YHA and not open to the public. There's a visitor centre, tea room and a notice board showing walks from Ilam Hall. Having found the path we wanted we headed out of the car park, through the village and towards Bunster Hill and Dovedale. 

And it was uphill, for a change...

And then we reached a new kind of stile, and a couple trying to teach their dog how to manoeuvre itself through it. The dog was refusing and the couple were lifting the dog over; they said it was going to be a long walk, for them!  We walked off smiling to ourselves but I reckon the dog was taking the dog-equivalent of my strategic photo stops...

We walked through more fields with sheep, including these two which now look like they have no faces.

And it wasn't long before we were back at the Dovedale car park and another notice board pointing out the "must sees" along the route to Milldale. 

We reached the famous stepping stones and headed across them to reach the main part of the path. Halfway across MOH called out to me distracting my concentration and breaking my (slow) rhythm and for a moment I thought I was stuck. I managed to get my legs going again and made it to the other side, but for a moment.... 

Phew!

And looking back towards the stepping stones, once I was safely on dry land!

A coin-ridden trunk didn't make for the most comfortablest of seats according to MOH. 

Well after a short break to take in the view, we headed off up here, for more spectacular views!

It was here, near Ilam rock that we stopped for lunch. The couple with the dog (the one being lifted over stiles) wandered past, as did several other couples that we'd seen and nodded to along the way. Looking at the map we spotted that we could take a left uphill towards Stanshope and then with another left along the way head back to Ilam, approaching it from the other side. 

This appealed to us both, as despite it being quite steeply uphill to start with, it was also a little more challenging and interesting from a map-reading perspective, not that we are experts by any means. 

So off we went. 

We walked up many steps, here's one of my strategic photo stops!

And then we felt like we were being watched... And we were!

Having reached the top, it was now the "along" section of our route, so we followed the path...

...until we reached a gate, which we walked around not through!

Yes, it really was just there on its own!

Well we were almost back at Ilam, but not quite. Before our walk was finished we encountered this amazing view:

Before turning the corner and seeing Ilam Cross come back into view. 

As we headed back up the drive towards Ilam Hall it started to rain - we're not normally known for our timing but on this day it was impeccable, and we headed into the tea rooms to celebrate this with tea and cake!

Love this #31: Chatsworth in black and white

I've already posted photos from our visit to Chatsworth earlier in the week, but I couldn't resist posting these too. Here I've included black and white and "tonal" versions of some of the photos from the Chatsworth post.

I'm really pleased with the results and some of these are among my favourite photos I've taken. There's at least one that's going to be printed to go in our study too, as I'm planning a photo collage wall of black and white pictures.

I don't usually post my own things in my "Love this" series, but for these I'm making an exception.  See if you can spot my favourite (in fairness, this is tough as I love them all!) and leave a comment to let me know which you like best.