There's something convincing about the fading grandeur of Calke Abbey in Ticknall, Derbyshire, its forgotten paintings, and the overgrown courtyard telling the tale of an excentric estate. The first telephone rang only in this house in 1928, and electricity did not arrive until 1962, due to the passionate urge of its inhabitants to shy away from the modern world. The gardens echo this, an ancient and delicate ecosystem for wildlife that seems unchanged for the last two centuries. Acres and acres of grassland set the tone, dotted with antique oaks.
What can guests enjoy at Calke Abbey?
In fact, a very large third of this park is a National Nature Reserve, due to the nature of its woodland pastures, and a good number of the trees here are among the oldest in Europe. Don't forget to explore the walled garden, the orange grove and the kitchen gardens of this beguiling National Trust place.