Visiting Chatsworth House in Derbyshire with Your Dog
After visiting Chatsworth last week with Monty, I thought I'd write a post on what it is like to visit Chatsworth House in Derbyshire with a dog. Unlike the National Trust, Chatsworth allows visitors to bring dogs into the gardens. (Only guide dogs are allowed in the house. Shocking I know, as if any dog would cock their leg on a priceless piece of Chippendale..). Whilst if you are a National Trust member you will have to pay, as any dog owning member will know there restrictions on dogs can put a bit of a challenge on any visit to a National Trust property. Here dogs are free to roam the gardens on leads and there is also acres of parkland for them to explore.
You can visit both the house and garden by purchasing a combined ticket and can enter either first. You are able to go in and out the garden as you please, so if you wanted to go round the house, you can take it in turns with one stopping in the garden with your dog, as the other person tours the house. Alternatively, garden only tickets are available.
My dog Monty is a funny dog, he is quite happy stopping at home and gets a bit of a grump on when he realises he is going out. However, once he knows he's at Chatsworth he starts his excited squeaky bark! The Duchess of Devonshire is a big dog lover, so I always tell Monty to keep his eye out in case he finds himself an aristocratic doggy girlfriend. With many other dogs visiting, it is a paradise of smells for dogs and any dog will enjoy themselves.
There is extensive parkland for you to explore, as well as the gardens, so more than enough for your dogs to have a good leg stretch. Running alongside the house, through the parkland is the river Derwent, which is great for keen dogs to swim in if they so wish. (and you don't mind taking a wet dog home with you!) The Chatsworth estate is home to an annual gundog working trial, with woodland, moors, lakes and, walls that can all be used in the retrieves. With such a varied landscape, you can be sure there is enough to keep any dog, not just labradors and spaniels, entertained for the day.
In the gardens, dogs must be kept on leads and must be picked up after (obviously!). The gardens are lovely to walk round with wide, open paths, areas of woodland, ornamental planting, water features and lovely views. If you are visiting with a wheelchair user, or have a buggy to push, there are good paths that are suitable that go round the garden. These are shown on a map, which you are given when you enter. I live around 20 minutes from Chatsworth so I am a regular visitor, and I still find areas of the garden that I have not visited before.
The Orangery shop that the tour of the house exits into is not dog friendly, however, dogs are allowed in the Carriage House shop. This is the one at the top of the hill (outside the garden perimeter) so they can go in there to spend their pocket money. They have a range of dog-related items, from shampoo to Barbour dog coats. It also sells Frozzys, the frozen doggy yoghurts that come in a variety of flavours, if you want to treat your dog. I took Monty for a walk across the parkland from Carlton Lees along the river to the Carriage house shop last year, for his second birthday, he got a blueberry Frozzy then!
Dogs are not allowed in the Carriage house restaurant, but there are plenty of tables in the courtyard outside the restaurant. So if you are wanting to stop off for something to eat there is space to eat outside, so your dog can sit by waiting for any tidbits. There are also generally little huts open from which you can purchase drinks and ice creams which don't require going into the restaurant.
There are various water bowls dotted about to give your dog a drink if they will drink from them. Monty prefers muddy puddles, or perhaps if he's feeling posh will have a lap from the cascade, an enormous water feature in the gardens at Chatsworth. It is a series of steps down the hillside, with water flowing down it. Dogs that enjoy paddling will love playing in there. Monty is very much a dog that enjoys keeping his feet on dry ground, but if you have a labrador you might have more luck in getting them in for a splash about.
As a pet portrait artist, I do appreciate a good bit of dog-related art, and there are quite a few bits dotted about the gardens for you to spot.
Heres one of the many dog sculptures admiring the view. I have also written a blog post about "The Dog- A Celebration at Chatsworth" exhibition that was on in 2019, which goes more in depth about some of the dog portraits and artwork that are at Chatsworth, if that is something that interests you.
Above is a picture of Monty trying to find the squirrel he had just tried chasing. The one negative I can think of about the garden at Chatsworth, is there are only really bins for dog waste near the entrance so you might find you have to carry poo bags for a while.
If you have bought combined tickets which also include the farmyard, dogs are not allowed in there. There are a row of posts outside for you to tie your dog to if you wish to leave them outside, although this is not something I would personally do. I think Monty would probably cause a bit of trouble if he was tied up alone!
Once you have enjoyed your visit to Chatsworth, you can stop off at the Farm shop, which has a good range of high end dog treats if you want to spoil your pup. Either that or you can get them a nice fillet of steak!
I am a pastel pencil and coloured pencil pet portrait artist based in Derbyshire. I specialise in creating realistic portraits of your pet from photographs taken either by me or by my clients.
Check out my website if you're thinking of commissioning a pet portrait of your dog.