Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey
4.5
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Poised between gentle neglect and downright dereliction, Calke Abbey, the un-stately home, is unlike other great country estates. Entering along the Lime Tree Avenue offers views of the historic parkland, home to ancient oaks, secluded ponds and areas of National Nature Reserve. Nestled among peaceful woodland, Calke Explore provides the perfect base to reconnect with nature and explore the wider estate, including once-industrial Limeyards. Peeling paintwork and abandoned rooms tell the story of a country house in decline, while a vast collection reveals the varied interests of a caring family who never threw anything away. The walled garden bursts with seasonal colour and produce, while a domed orangery, faded glasshouses and gardener’s bothy echo the history of Calke’s working garden. Please note that opening times may vary and the house is closed over winter. Visit the Calke Abbey website for full opening details.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • Pamgraham1
    229 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth seeing
    Hadn't visited here for many years. Not the easiest place to get to without your own transport. Enjoyed seeing the changes that have been made over the years. Glad they have kept some of the rooms in the state they were found, it helps to see the renovation/preservation that has taken place. Staff very helpful and friendly, always on hand to offer information and tell you about the rooms and house in general. Gardens and grounds well maintained.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 8 July 2023
  • Catherine W
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing, helpful staff
    We bought 3 classes of children on a school trip on the 11th July 2023. The morning was great as we explored the imagination garden - the children loved it! As we started our picnic, the rain started to pour and there was no shelter for one of the classes. A really kind lady who worked in the café (Mel) invited a class to go and sit in the café and eat their packed lunch so we could shelter from the rain. We made sure the children were respectful to the other visitors and we really appreciated being in the dry. Thank you so much - all the staff were really helpful and friendly.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 11 July 2023
  • Liz E
    1 contribution
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good but signage needs improvement
    Just back from Calke. The house was interesting and the room guides very knowledgeable answering many questions. Unlike other NT properties only 1 place to rest within the house if like me you have mobility issues that became a problem as it was right at the top of 3 flights of stairs. Signage for blue badge parking totally inadequate as it's at the far end of the car park and no signs till you are on it so overshot in a queue. Also signage for disabled loos not clear as the one by the restaurant is hidden behind a wall totally separate from the other loos! This does not help when you are queuing to use them!!!! And it's not there. A simple sign on the wall Infront of the door would be most useful. But these issues aside we enjoyed the visit to the house and looking at the collections especially the embroidered bed.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 August 2023
  • SB01
    Sonning Common, United Kingdom869 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting House with Extensive Gardens
    As many have said, this is an unusual Trust property, as it is largely retained in the state of disrepair in which the NT received it. There are some rooms that have been furnished and partially restored, but most are dilapidated, creating a slightly ghostly experience. Especially haunting are the children’s rooms full of ancient toys and the original kitchens. Ornithologists May or may not be impressed/interested by the many cases of stuffed birds. Vegetarians might want to look away from all of the animal heads. The large grounds offer plenty of walking options. The formal and kitchen gardens were in full bloom when we visited and a sea of colour, in great contrast to the house. Massive credit to the Trust for their efforts to engage with children this Summer. We visited Hardwick Hall and Brimham Rocks as well as Calke in the last few days and all were awash with families enjoying the various activities laid on. It’s an improvement on the usual fusty places and atmosphere. The is loads of parking, two cafes and several ice cream places.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 August 2023
  • adyval
    Long Eaton, United Kingdom946 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    worth a visit
    Visited bank holiday Monday 28th Aug 2023. been before but never queued before and the queue got worse nearer lunch. Parked Ok. Into cafe for a much needed cuppa and scone. Into bookshop and shop and did buy an item. Around the stable yards. Down the slope and was going to the church and gardens but my legs playing up so back to the car and home. There was a stall doing hotdogs etc and was doing rather well. will return soon when quieter.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 29 August 2023
  • happydays055
    58 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous NT property and Estate. Avoid cafe at all costs!!!
    We had a fabulous day with perfect weather. The grounds and views are spectacular. We loved walking here. Knew the house was maintained as it was found and all the outbuildings equally interesting with old garden machinery and more. We would definitely recommend anybody to visit, but as many people have already said - avoid the cafe/restaurant - it’s dire! Many complaints ahead of mine for the vile overcooked pasty. Take your own food 100% You have been warned !!
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 7 September 2023
  • Croft1000
    Naples, New York55 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely morning
    Had a lovely morning visit. Lots to see and very helpful staff, happy to chat about the building history. Fascinating to see the decline in the property, and a bit sad. Lovely gardens. I would like to have seen pictures of the original formal gardens (i.e. maps or plans) as this would have been really interesting. Highly recommend a visit.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 October 2023
  • Daniel H
    Derbyshire, United Kingdom71 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely walks and beautiful grounds
    We visited with our children and also came as part of the National Trust membership so we did not pay anything (including to enter the house). The day we went it was drizzly and very busy. Despite this, we didn't have any trouble parking and we didn't find it overly congested (although we didn't visit the cafe). The grounds are very extensive, with various walks available catering to all tastes. On this particular day we did the pink walk before going to the house. It is what you'd expect from a NT site. There is a board in the car park with a map of the walks and estimated completion times. Entry to the house was controlled to prevent overcrowding which was appreciated. There is also a one way system, and while not everything inside is accessible, the majority of it is. Some of it is in a poor state of repair but it seems by design in order to keep the character of the property. At the time we visited, they were updating one of the bedrooms. You really get a feel for the characters who used to own it. One thing I will mention is that the house is not really wheelchair/pushchair friendly, due to the amount of stairs. I want to also mention our tour guide Tony, who was delightful and very knowledgeable of the history of Calke Abbey itself and also the local flora and fauna. He was also engaging with the children and dropping all sorts of interesting facts which they loved. It made the day very pleasant for all. He also took us into parts of the grounds that are inaccessible without a tour guide. So my recommendation would be to go on one of these walks with the guide if possible - it will add another dimension to your trip. Overall, a very good day. We spent most of the day here, but you could also visit for a couple of hours for a walk.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 28 October 2023
  • TheLeopard79
    Birmingham, United Kingdom1,316 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Charming Derbyshire!
    I was so surprised by this delightful (un) stately home under the National Trust, run by wonderful and dedicated volunteers. I've never heard of it before. It acts as a time capsule with most parts preserved rather than modernized. You can see the huge stables and gardens, the sweeping views of lawns where sheep peacefully graze. The house itself is huge damp and musty in most places but that adds to its character. So much to see inside, room after room of history and heritage. A good shop and restaurant and ample roaming facilities. It was a delightful experience!
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 28 October 2023
  • Hugemack75
    Oxford, United Kingdom209 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely time!!
    Calke Abbey is a wonderful place. The staff were so anxious to help my elderly mother on a walker. They were so kind, and the food in the restaurant was good. I loved the second hand bookshop and gave them a donation of several books from my bedroom. The house itself can be a trifle upsetting. I raced through the saloon, because I did not want to see bird's eggs, and the real reason for going into the house was the magnificent State Bed. That makes the house in my view. Well done and lots of love to you all xxxx
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 25 November 2023
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PaulB92
Matlock, UK77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
The house is very interesting with lots of taxidermy and is very dated and this house is more conserved rather than restored unlike other national trust properties, the staff are all informative and helpful
Written 16 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DJDavey
Leicestershire, UK9 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
Excellent place, loads of space, lots to do, even with intermittent heavy showers. Visited with my 3 year old grandson who also enjoyed it, particularly the tunnel and all the stuffed animals.
Only thing I would advise is that it might be an idea to tell the volunteers in the house to back off a bit. Slightly too officious and invasive. Let visitors do what they want. They will use you if they want to.
Written 11 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dean H
2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Family
Beautiful setting, beautiful gardens and outdoor areas. Overall a very nice place. The mannor house was the main area issues were encountered. It is not for young children.

Upon arrival we were asked to put the rucksack in stores which is ok when you don't have small children who may need a change, medical items or even a drink. When we entered they allowed us to keep the bag but had to hold it at waist height in front of us which we did.

My daughter asked for a sip of her drink and was told this was not allowed even from a non spill sip cup. As its a victorian house and could damage the building if there was a spill. So we obliged the request. My 18 month old son touched the rope which stops you entering restricted areas and was told not to do that.

We entered the next room where it was full of glass and stuffed animals my son was being held by the hand and reached out and touched the glass. We were told rather rudely don't let him touch that as its victorian. At this point we ended up holding him throughout the entire rest of the house. Which isn't a short tour and decided it was not worth the agro with small children. There were two staff who were volunteering who were really nice and took time to talk about the house. These were welcomed interactions and very informative. The majority of staff were quite rude in their approach/ attitude.

Would recommend with older children, not really suitable with young kids who want to experience things in a more hands on way. Would suggest sudbury for younger children.

The staffs approach did not really make you feel welcome more under pressure to not go near anything at all which is unrealistic for small children/toddlers. No way to take pushchairs around so just avoid with small children.
Written 9 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rachel W
Darley Dale, UK32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Wow so much to see! This is an amazing place. The house is full of stuff and left as it was decor wise. I'm not into looking around buildings but thai was really interesting and could absorb you for hours. The grounds were lovely too with walks all around and a kitchen garden.
Written 5 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ruby
12 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
The grounds are very pretty, however the house itself didn't have very much information about it (like plaques) and about the people that lived in the house. Instead there where volunteers telling you about it which I personally don't prefere. There are not many interactive parts accept from a craft area which isn't very good for older children. There are many walks which are very nice and all different lengths, we did the blue walk which was about 1 and a half miles and was one of the smaller walks. The walk was around a woodland area which was more entertaining for children all ages and there were also some perfect places for photos. The grounds has quite a few picnic benches if you have brought your own lunch, however there are more benches if you order from the cafe which we didn't. Also for the experience we had it was definitely not worth the money which all my family members agree with because it was very expensive and not very entertaining!
Written 31 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NCS
Derbyshire, UK29 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
Visited the gardens especially to see the Vegetable Gardens. We have been in the past & always used to enjoy the immaculate weed free veg & fruit plots.
Sadly, not sure if it is down to lack of staff or simply the annoying trend of letting everything ‘go wild’, but where there were plants (lots of bare patches) the poor young veg plants were struggling amongst masses of weeds. It looked a neglected mess & a waste of time & effort.
If the weeds are not addressed urgently there won’t be any crops!
So, this year, it was a waste of the £15 entry fee.
Written 27 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lillydv
Coventry, UK26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Beautiful
Had a really lovely day today at calke such an interesting place . Stunning grounds but by far the most beautiful bed bedecked in Chinese silk I have ever seen . Lovely church and grounds all in all a really lovely day out
Written 6 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ashleigh1182016
Burton upon Trent, UK2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Hi, just wanted to say a huge thank you for greeting dog owners and our 4 legged balls of floof. Sadly some folk are anti dog, thankfully not too many.
Big shout out to all the welcoming staff who make the trip to the big park aka Calke Abbey a treat, there are so many places for kids and no dogs allowed, Calke is a welcome change. This is one place I have never had my dogs attacked by another dog, keep up the great work.
Written 3 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris C
Coventry, UK2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
What a fascinating place. Definite five stars, despite one exception which I will get to.
The entrance to the abbey is via an avenue of limes, planted in 1846. If you can visit in early May, they are at their best.
Entering the abbey, which is barely an abbey as it was disbanded by Henry VIII and subsequently rebuilt, you come upon the most unusual collection of mounted plaques of beasts that you have ever seen. They are not the usual Elephants and Tigers, but mounted horned cattle and sheep, that were once treated as family pets. The many many other rooms, are filled with furniture, china, household paraphernalia, cabinets of shells and fossils, thousands of stuffed birds and animals. There are rooms that have been restored to their former opulence, but others have been deliberately made safe then distressed to display the decay caused in the 20th Century by eccentricity, heedless spending on fanatical interests, and the depredation of inheritance tax.
The minor downside. The restaurant. Low grade food at rip off prices. Bring your
own picnic instead.
Going back to good points. Dog friendly.
Kind and attentive volunteers everywhere.
I could go on. There’s a lot I haven’t seen.
The gardens, and the kitchens are worthy of a review on their own.
Written 3 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hugemack75
Oxford, UK209 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
Calke Abbey is a wonderful place. The staff were so anxious to help my elderly mother on a walker. They were so kind, and the food in the restaurant was good. I loved the second hand bookshop and gave them a donation of several books from my bedroom. The house itself can be a trifle upsetting. I raced through the saloon, because I did not want to see bird's eggs, and the real reason for going into the house was the magnificent State Bed. That makes the house in my view. Well done and lots of love to you all xxxx
Written 24 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CALKE ABBEY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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