Explore the house that time forgot and it's hauntingly beautiful gardens
There's something compelling about the faded grandeur of Calke Abbey in Ticknall, Derbyshire, its neglected paintwork and overgrown courtyard telling the tale of an eccentric family. The first telephone only rang in this house in 1928 and electricity didn't arrive until 1962, thanks to the ardent desire of it residents to shy away from the modern world. The gardens echo this, an ancient and fragile habitat for wildlife that seems untouched by the last two centuries. Acres and acres of grassland set the tone, dotted with ancient oaks. A whopping third of this park is actually a National Nature Reserve thanks to the quality of its wood pasture and a good few of the trees here are amongst the oldest in Europe. Don't forget to explore the walled garden, the orangery and the kitchen gardens of this beguiling National Trust spot.