Guided tours at Calke Abbey
With a calendar of guided tours inside and out, there are lots of ways you can explore more of Calke Abbey. We're currently running park guided walks and garden tours, with more tours to follow in spring. Find out how to book and what to bring here.
Park guided walks
Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 11am and 2pm
If only these trees could talk... Calke’s ancient parkland is steeped in history, from its roots as a religious ground to its status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserve. So what stories does this vast landscape have to tell? Join our knowledgeable park guides to find out – whether you’re new to Calke or a seasoned walker, we guarantee you’ll discover something new on these fascinating rambles.
Where to meet: Tours start outside the Ticket Office – look out for our park guides in red shirts. Walks last around 90 minutes.
Booking: Not needed, although groups are limited to 20 people on a first come, first served basis.
What to bring: We recommend wearing sturdy footwear, such as walking boots or comfortable wellies, and suitable clothing for the weather.
Accessibility: There may be steps, uneven ground and hills, so these walks aren’t suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs – but we can be flexible and tailor walks to suit your ability. Speak to a park guide for more information.
Dogs: Well-behaved dogs are welcome on a lead, except in the Deer Park – ask a park guide if today’s walk is suitable for dogs.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 11.30am and 2pm
Ever wondered what secrets are buried in Calke’s gardens? Join a garden guide to discover the hidden history of the walled gardens, tucked away in the wooded pleasure grounds – from its faded glasshouses and boiler buildings, to the abundance of vibrant flowers and colourful produce overflowing from the beds.
Where to meet: Tours start at the front of the house by the sundial – look out for our garden guides in red shirts. Tours last approximately 45–50 minutes.
Booking: Not needed, although tours are limited to 15 people to ensure you get the most out of your experience. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
What to bring: Please wear suitable clothing for this outdoor tour, and consider bringing a brolly in case of wet weather. We’re not deterred by a bit of rain!
Accessibility: The garden paths are accessible for wheelchairs and mobility scooters, although there are some steps into the glasshouses. A tramper is available to book during your visit.
Dogs: Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome to join a garden tour.
Stoke holes tunnel tours (from 15 April)
Every Friday at 15–20-minute intervals between 12–3pm
Are you curious to experience what working life was like at Calke for a gardener 200 years ago? Taking you on a secretive journey underneath the back sheds, the stoke holes tunnel tour reveals how the gardeners kept the glasshouses warm enough to grow pineapples and uncovers the advances in heating technology between the 18th to the 20th centuries.
Where to meet: Meet at the entrance to the stoke holes tunnel near the back sheds in the garden (point 9 on the map), 5 minutes before the tour start time. Tours last around 15 minutes.
Booking: Not needed, although tours are limited to 5 people to ensure you get the most out of your experience. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
What to bring: Please wear suitable clothing as the tunnel is underground and can be chilly.
Accessibility: Due to the confined space in the tunnel, this tour isn’t suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs, and may not be suitable for anyone who doesn’t like confined spaces.
Dogs: Unfortunately, this tour isn’t suitable for dogs due to the confined space in the tunnel.