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. Find out what to expect from your house visit 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

When is the house open?

The house is open every day from Tuesday 1 March 2022, with doors opening at 11am. If you are a non-member, you will need to purchase an additional ticket to visit the house, available from the Ticket Office. Please be aware that there may be queues to enter the house on busy days as we no longer issue timed tickets for the house. 

 

A few house rules...

In order to help preserve the Calke as it is, we have a few important requests when visiting the house:

  • Please leave large bags in your car, otherwise please be ready to leave it with a member of the team while you explore. 

  • Pushchairs and buggies are not suitable for entry into the house, please use small baby carriers or hip-seats instead.

  • Let us know if you're wearing heels smaller than a postage stamp, as these could damage the historic floors.

  • Grab a snack before you enter - food and drink cannot be taken around the house.

  • Please make sure that you turn the flash off before taking any photographs during your visit.

If you have any questions regarding the above points, please do ask a member of our friendly team on the day of your visit and they will be able to assist you.