Explore Calke Abbey, the un-stately home

Sir Vauncey's bedroom at Calke Abbey, Midlands

From Mon 17 May, the 'un-stately home' is opening its doors to visitors every day from 11am. Find out what to expect from your house visit here, and discover why Calke Abbey is affectionately known as the 'un-stately' home. Don't forget to book your visit in advance.

Welcome back inside the house 

In line with government guidance, the house will be open from Mon 17 May, 11am–4.30pm (last entry 4pm). Entry to the house is included in your booking.

We'll be operating a queue system outside the house to limit numbers indoors – please remember to bring a face mask, and we kindly ask you to leave big bags at home (or wear them on your front) to protect the collections inside. When you enter the house, please watch the introductory video to help keep everyone safe indoors during your visit. 

There are chairs to sit on inside should you need them, and a virtual tour is available on the ground floor. Please note there are no toilets at the house. 

We recommend booking your visit to Calke Abbey in advance, especially at weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. You can find booking information via the link at the bottom of this page.

What is the 'un-stately' home? 

Calke Abbey is the house where time stood still, vividly portraying a period in the twentieth century when many country houses did not survive to tell their story.

When the house was handed to the National Trust in 1985, many of its rooms had been adandoned for decades and were in a state of rapid decline. We've decided not to restore these rooms, but rather preserve them as they were found. 

As you wander through the mansion, you'll discover abandoned rooms, peeling wallpaper and a vast collection of strange and unique objects – presented and preserved exactly as we found them. 

Discover a sense of abandonment in the Servant's Hall
The Servant's Hall at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
Discover a sense of abandonment in the Servant's Hall

A house of hidden stories

Discover deep and complex stories of a family who amassed a huge collection of hidden treasures. Learn the history of these fascinating and often strange possessions, which includes stuffed animals, family portraits and the stunning state bed.

Begin your journey in the entrance hall and explore the well-kept rooms at the front of the house, including the grand dining room, the library and the saloon, where you'll find an assortment of fascinating objects.

As you make your way towards the servants' quarters, experience the sense of abandonment in the school room and Sir Vauncey's childhood bedroom. Discover hidden stories and forgotten spaces in this unique house. 

Please note that some rooms of the house may not be open while we operate a reduced visitor route due to Covid restrictions. 

Broken chairs are still upturned in the kitchen at Calke Abbey
Areas of the dilapidated kitchen at National Trust Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Broken chairs are still upturned in the kitchen at Calke Abbey

Stories of kindness and compassion

For more than thirty years, the story of Calke Abbey has revolved around ideas of an isolated and solitary family – but new research undertaken in 2019 has revealed a different side to Calke’s story.

This year, we’ll be sharing new stories of kindness and compassion, past and present, building on the legacy of HumanKind: an ongoing project that delves deeper into Calke’s history of isolation, and seeks to challenge the stigma around loneliness.

Throughout the house, you’ll discover moments in the live of four characters from Calke’s household – from the famously ‘isolated’ baronet himself, to the last member of the Harpur-Crewe family who suffered a life-changing injury. You can read more about HumanKind below.

HumanKind at National Trust Calke Abbey in Derbyshire

HumanKind at Calke Abbey

To mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Henry Harpur, 'The Isolated Baronet', Calke Abbey explores stories of loneliness and isolation, kindness and compassion, past and present.