Explore Calke Abbey, the un-stately home

Sir Vauncey's bedroom at Calke Abbey, Midlands

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.

A time capsule

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.

Rather than restoring Calke to its former glory, we've undertaken necessary repairs to halt the decay of the house and its collections. As you wander through the mansion, you'll discover abandoned rooms, peeling wallpaper and a vast collection of strange and unique objects – presented exactly as we found them.

An old storm lamp in the Smithy at Calke Abbey
An old storm lamp in the Smithy at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire
An old storm lamp in the Smithy at Calke Abbey

A house of hidden stories

Discover the tales of an eccentric and reclusive 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.

Visitors in the library at Calke Abbey
Visitors in the library at Calke Abbey, Midlands
Visitors in the library at Calke Abbey

A tale of two women from Calke

This year, we're exploring the lives and histories of two women of Calke; Hilda Harpur Crewe, the first woman to own the estate, and Ruth Musson, the under parlour maid.

Follow their journeys around the house and discover what life was like upstairs, and downstairs, at Calke Abbey.

Come on in...

The house opens its doors on Sat 3 March for you to explore. In the mornings (11am – 12.30pm) you can wander around the ground-floor rooms of the house, including the recently opened family apartments.

The main house opens at 12.30pm (not including the family apartments) and closes at 5pm. Admission is by timed ticket, so pop into the Ticket Office when you arrive to avoid long waiting times on busy days. Members will also need a timed ticket.