Friday, 6 April 2012

Chatsworth House Easter eggstravaganza! A review

If you are thinking of heading out for the day this weekend you wouldn't do much better than a day out at Chatsworth House.  The home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, this beautiful house is set in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire.  From the house, to the extensive gardens and grounds, to the farmyard and adventure playground, the farm shop and animal handling; there is something for everyone here.

And of course it's EASTER!  So this week, until the 15th April, Chatsworth plays host to the Easter Bunny (and cheeky he is too).  There are Easter Egg hunts throughout the day and with 2,500 mini eggs strewn all over a field (per hunt) it's a child's paradise!  There are Easter crafts in the Oak Barn, so that you can keep out of the rain (if it threatens) and make those all important bunny ears for yourself, or an Easter card for Nana.

The Easter Eggspress is trundling around the grounds at regular intervals throughout the day and it's from this brilliant tractor ride that you may spy the Easter Bunny himself.  Do you think he'll come over and say hello?  Of course he will.

If you manage to fit in an Easter Egg Hunt, Eggspress ride and craft session, you still need to leave time to enjoy the refurbished woodland adventure playground with new Rope Challenge finished only last week.

Tip 1:  But remember; take everyone's bucket and spade, wellington boots and spare clothes.  That sand gets everywhere and for some reason the children love the water!

For us, these activities filled the day; but you've still got the animal handling, milking demonstrations, farmyard daily talks, tours of the house, formal garden tours and a separate, more subdued, egg hunt in the gardens; where the eggs are less edible!

If you take a picnic, then a day out for 2 adults and 2 children (3yrs to 16 yrs) would set you back £17.10 for a family ticket entry to the farmyard and adventure playground*, £3 for car parking, £10 for four seats on the Eggspress and free entry into the Easter Egg Hunt (though you must remember to ask for your Egg Hunt tickets when you pay.  Easter crafting is free.  That's a total of £30.10 for a family of 4.  You'll also come home with children wearing bunny ears they've made themselves and with pockets full of mini Easter eggs from the hunt, as well as small bag of mini eggs from the Easter bunny!

On the basis of the smiles that were glued to our two girls' faces all day today; that's £30 well spent.

Tip 2:  HOWEVER, it's a very good idea to either arrive early (the farmyard opens at 10.30am, so be parked by 10am at the latest and queueing at the farmyard gate); OR, even better, book online and print your tickets before you arrive.

If you don't pre-book and arrive at around 11am, you'll be queueing for up to an hour.
If you do pre-book, there's a separate queue for that and you'll waltz right in.  (Chatsworth House members also get to use the fast queue!)

For details of the Easter activities and to book your tickets; click here

If you are travelling from further afield you can stay in Chatsworth's historic holiday cottages to give you more time to take in the beautiful surrounding countryside.  You'll find fine food and a bed and breakfast at the Devonshire Arms in Beeley; or indeed at the Devonshire Arms in Pilsley on the Chatsworth Estate.
And a final tip:  Take extra coats, jumpers, hats, scarfs and definitely gloves this weekend.  The temperature had dropped suddenly today and out there, in the Peaks, you notice it.  Go prepared.  The car park is so close, it doesn't matter if you end up popping them back in the car, just remember to get your hand stamped when leaving the farmyard, so you can get back in again!

For other ideas for crafts and baking activities to keep the children entertained this Easter please click here.


*£19.80 with gift aid resulting in a £2.70 voucher back to spend in the shop or restaurants.  If voucher is used, net cost is £17.10.  £18.00 without gift aid.

Please note:  this is an independent review based on our family's experience of Chatsworth House on Friday 6th April 2012.  No payment, gift or encouragement of any kind has been received by this author.  This blog prides itself on unbiased honest opinions of products and services.

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