Explore Calke Abbey, the un-stately home

Sir Vauncey's bedroom at Calke Abbey, Midlands

Calke Abbey is the house where time stood still, vividly showing a period in the twentieth century when many country houses did not survive. While the house is currently closed for winter conservation work, find out how you can glimpse behind closed doors here, and discover why Calke Abbey is affectionately known as the ‘un-stately’ home.

What is the ‘un-stately’ home?  

Built on the site of a former priory, Calke Abbey was sold to the Harpur family in the early 17th century, who extended and developed the house over several generations. Sir Henry Harpur, 7th Baronet, also expanded the lime works, a decision that brought him great wealth. The house stayed with the Harpur-Crewe's until the National Trust began caring for it in 1985. 

By 1985, many of its rooms had been abandoned for decades and were in a state of decline. We've decided to preserve these rooms 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.  

A house of hidden stories 

Discover deep and complex stories of a family who amassed a huge collection of treasures. Learn the history of these fascinating and often strange possessions, which includes a vast natural history collection – the largest of its kind within the National Trust – 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.  

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

Fancy a peek behind closed doors?  

While the main house is closed for the winter, you can still have a cheeky peek inside with Calke Unlocked – a tour with a twist!  

Calke Unlocked is a fast-paced, interactive, slightly wacky tour – perfect for people who don’t like tours! Our tour guides are experts in the obscure and collectors of hidden stories. Together, you’ll whizz around the house uncovering scandalous secrets, discovering the weirdest collection items, and exploring the forgotten nooks and crannies of Calke Abbey.  

This is not your average tour. Repeat. This is not your average tour. To find out more and book your tour, visit the What's On page through the link below. 

When will the house open again? 

Calke Abbey is closed for vital conservation work over the winter, and will open its doors again in March 2022. Your visits to the ‘un-stately’ home and the surrounding estate mean that we can continue to preserve this piece of history for generations to come. Thank you.