Christmas at Chatsworth

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I set off this morning under the active and efficient supervision of the sat nav to drive down the motorway from Leeds to Chatsworth, the great house and seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Not a particularly complicated journey; a quick glance at the map suggested it was straight down the M1 and turn right at Chesterfield.

And a pleasant drive it initially proved to be, as the Yorkshire scenery became ever more magnificent with snowy-covered undulating hills. But stunning as it was, I felt quite happy observing the snow at a safe distance. Lucky, I thought, that the snow is limited to the uplands, and is not affecting my timing and journey.

Unfortunately, someone had altered the sat nav settings in the car to “shortest” instead of “fastest” and I only realized this after I had automatically followed orders to leave the motorway at Sheffield. As I began to climb up into the heart of the snowy uplands hitherto observed from a safe distance, I suddenly became very nervous indeed of what lay ahead.

Luckily, the roads remained clear, but the surrounding scenery was magnificent and quite made up for the short but lengthier route. I reflected that I don’t use A roads nearly enough.

When I eventually arrived after the scenic detour, Chatsworth proved just as magnificent, with 44 huge decorated trees dotted around a wonderfully festive and atmospheric interior. My sister and I agreed it was amazing value for money. It was just like a Disneyland ride; costumed attendants; perfectly designed and executed decor; and snatches of tuneful Christmas carols accompanying our pilgrimage through the public rooms. I absolutely loved it. I now feel I have had Christmas and can relax for the remainder of the month.

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