Join us on a new tour inside Kedleston Hall, following in the footsteps of the first and most famous housekeeper, Mrs Garnett.
In 2019 we celebrate Kedleston’s cherished housekeeper, Mrs Garnett, who worked for the Curzon family at Kedleston Hall from 1766 until her death in 1809.
As well as her usual housekeeping duties, Mrs Garnett gave tours of the state floor of the hall to selected visitors, which showed off the fine art collection, striking Robert Adam architecture and lavish furnishings.
In 1769 the first guidebook was published with an initial 200 copies printed. It was updated and reprinted several times before 1790. We are lucky enough to have the copy used by Mrs Garnett which contains her handwritten notes. She noted details about the art and the scenes depicted, which she would have shared with the visitors on her tour.
Mrs Garnett was clearly a highly regarded member of staff at Kedleston because a portrait of her hangs inside the hall, where she is seen standing in the marble hall holding a copy of the guidebook. The portrait was painted by Thomas Barber the Elder, when Mrs Garnett was 76 years old. Her grave can be seen today beside Kedleston’s church entrance, where inside the Curzon family are laid to rest. This is rather unusual for a servant but shows how much she was respected at Kedleston.
It was not just the family who appreciated her excellent service in the hall, there are historical references to Mrs Garnett by those who visited and were taken by her warmth and good service.
Step inside Kedleston Hall to discover the interior of an 18th century Robert Adam designed show palace.
Completed under the watchful eye of famous architect Robert Adam, Kedleston Hall was built for Sir Nathaniel Curzon in 1765 as a house to rival Chatsworth. Intended as ‘a temple of the arts’ and as the location for grand entertainments, the main house was never meant to be a family home, but a show palace in which to showcase the finest paintings, sculpture and furniture.
Kedleston Hall isn’t just a prime example of 18th century Palladian and Neoclassical inspired architecture, it is also the ancestral residence of the Curzon family. The Curzons came to Britain from Normandy at the time of William the Conqueror and we estimate that they have been at Kedleston since the 1150s.
The property boasts a number of portraits and pedigrees detailing the succession of such a long standing family. The Hall we see today replaced an earlier medieval house and village of slightly more modest proportions; however the current Kedleston still houses some furniture which we believe came from the previous building.
A building of enduring architectural beauty
Kedleston Hall was always intended as a showpiece rather than a comfortable family home; in fact the family has lived in the private family wing and still do to this day. The large central block was a largely uninhabited entertaining space with the servants’ quarters and service areas housed in the West Wing. What is now our restaurant was once the Great Kitchen, catering for the Curzon families’ great banquets and dinner parties.
The State Floor
The State Floor reflects the austere grandeur of a show palace and that’s how it was always intended. Purposely designed to showcase the families wealth and power, as a ‘temple to the arts’ to showcase their collection of art and fine furniture. From the moment you ascend the Great Staircase to the State Floor you are transported back to 18th century opulence. Painstakingly restored over the last 30 years, it reflects Robert Adam’s original vision of luxury.
The ground floor is a stark contrast to the 18th century glamour above, decorated to reflect the Edwardian period it was a more functional space and everyday entrance. It still serves this purpose today as this is where you’ll start your journey as you explore the hall.
The museum on the ground floor of the Hall is home to Lord Curzon’s ‘Eastern Collection’, an eclectic mix of treasures he amassed whilst Viceroy of India. From intricate ivory carvings to samurai swords there are hundreds of artifacts collected on his travels to India, Tibet, China and Nepal.
Mary Curzon’s Peacock dress
Not to be missed is Mary Curzon’s Peacock dress which now takes pride of place in its own room. You can now admire it’s delicate metal embroidery and beetle shell embellishments from every angle as you walk around it. The dress is over one hundred years old but it still able to captivate the room, much as it did when Lady Curzon wore it to the Delhi Durbar ball in 1903. Designed not only as as a beautiful fashion item but also as a deliberate political statement.
The north side of the lake, known as the wilderness, is the most natural part of the parkland. With a mixture of woods and pasture, it is home to some of the oldest veteran trees in Derbyshire.
It’s the perfect place to spot birds, with owls, buzzards and woodpeckers often spotted, as well as beautiful hares. It’s also where our Dexter cows spend much of the year, they keep themselves to themselves but please leave them be. We know how cute they are but cows (especially those with calves) can be easily upset by people getting too close, loud noises and dogs. We politely ask that people admire them from a distance so they are not disturbed.
Long and short walks
The long and short walks form part of Robert Adam’s pleasure ground and were designed for the entertainment of ladies, with a winding path dotted with temples and follies. This year we’re putting the finishing touches to the landscaping around the Hermitage which was restored last year.
Head into the woods to find our natural play area, our outdoor team have created a place for children’s imaginations to run wild made completely out of sticks and wood from the surrounding woodland. See if you can make a giant nest or make a den out of the sticks you find.
In spring, the walks boast a magnificent carpet of bluebells and white wood anemone, as well as views to the back of the house and across the parkland.
Walk along the edge of the lake and see a whole host of waterfowl including geese, swans, oyster catchers, herons and coots.
Derby is the UK’s most central city, a great place for a cultural break and a great base to explore nearby Peak District delights. A really friendly place, great value for money and very easy to get around, you’ll feel welcome right from the start, so visit soon and discover Derby for yourself!
The majority of trips return from destination between 16:30 and 17:30. The driver will inform you of the exact time on the day, dependant on outward travel times. Whilst we do not guarantee a W/C on board most of our excursion fleet do have toilet facilities. For your comfort we allocate seating at time of boking, however reserve the right to alter or amend your seat allocation for utilisation purposes; If you have a seating preference please make a note in the booking section when placing your order and we will try to accommodate. Once you have booked with us you will be emailed with a travel ticket containing seat numbers, this will be sent within 24 hours of placing the booking, if after this time you have not received your travel ticket please email firstname.lastname@example.org for confirmation.
Our Pick-ups are as follows:
We reserve the right to alter, amend or add in additional pick up points within reason.
|Harrogate- 08:00 +£0.00*|
|Kings Road- 08:05 +£0.00*|
|Knaresborough Road- 08:10 +£0.00*|
|Starbeck- 08:15 +£0.00*|
|Knaresborough- 08:20 +£0.00*|
|Wetherby- 08:40 +£0.00*|