What makes Calke a bit different from most other NT properties is that its name doesn’t reflect the building itself! As any local will tell you – there’s no Abbey!
The site was an Augustinian priory from the 12th century until its dissolution by Henry VIII. The present building, named Calke Abbey is a Baroque mansion built between 1701 and 1704. Another feature which becomes immediately obvious once inside (if we were allowed, which we weren’t today of course, because of ‘lockdown’) was that you don’t see all the rooms at their best. Instead, it boasts peeling wallpaper and faded paintwork – left as (pretty much) found! It’s a novel take on presenting the past, that, based on previous visits, leaves a lasting impression.
More information on the official NT’s website HERE and Wikipedia HERE
"A novel take on presenting the past..."
It only took us just over an hour to get there and we were soon parked and ‘picnic-ready’ 😊.
But of course, under the ‘new normal’, we didn’t have complete freedom to roam, as the NT is operating a ‘timed entry’ system into the site. We were limited to Calke Park and the Gardens only. The café was open but we didn’t fancy that as we had already packed enough food for the whole of Derbyshire! 👍 😁
We began with a walk around the immediate area. Some of it was closed off so that limited our wanderings – but it was still very enjoyable, and we covered 2¾ miles…
…taking in some great views, including a very well maintained kitchen garden too!
We sat down to our picnic around 1pm – and in spite of the forecast, the rain came (but not until our last mouthful!) 😋
Still, it was a great day out – even if was a bit damp, and we didn’t get to see inside the House this time.