Just to be clear, Calke Abbey is not an Abbey, it's a large English Country House.
The House was donated to the National Trust in 1980, having fallen into a state of disrepair due to the mounting debt of the former owners, the Harper Family. The estate is located about 7 miles south of Derby near Staunton Harold Reservoir.
The house contains the natural history collection of the Harpur Crewe family, as well as a magnificent 18th-century state bed and rooms that are essentially unchanged since the 1880s.
Surrounding the house are 600 acres of historical open parkland that has been designated as a National Nature Reserve. The whole of Calke Park is open to the public with many footpaths and picnic areas.
Set on hill overlooking the house are the excellent walled gardens. There's a colourful flower garden with palm trees and a more practical kitchen garden with fruits and vegetables. Throughout the gardens are many original buildings - the Potting Shed, Orangery, Vinery, and backsheds.
(For the less abled, Calke Abbey provides a 'large golf buggy' from the car park to the House and on up the hill to the garden level.)
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Hardwick Hall and Gardens
National Trust Calke Abbey
Hardwick Hall Elizabethan mansion, Derbyshire, England