December 07, 2014

Chatsworth, the Peak District and a special stay in the Hunting Tower

It’s no secret that I love the UK.  But as with most places in the world, there are some parts that you love a bit more than others and I fear my heart is completely lost to Chatsworth and the Peaks.  We first came here in June 2012.  It was a perfect Summer’s day and I still remember exactly how I felt  as we drove over the rise and spotted Chatsworth for the first time.  I thought, ‘this is what heaven must look like’ – and I haven’t changed my mind at all upon our return.  This time though, it’s a little bit different as we’re staying on the estate in the Hunting Tower, which is one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever seen.  The views are breathtaking – endless acres of velvet green fields dotted with stands of oaks and ash, the river Derwent wending its way through the middle of the estate and down below us, Chatsworth – a stately home unparalleled in its beauty.


The Tower, dating from 1582 has walls that are literally three feet deep.  Set over four floors plus the roof which you can walk onto, there is a bedroom and shower room in the basement, a kitchen/diner on the ground floor, a gorgeous sitting room on the next level and a beautiful bedroom, complete with ensuite  on the top.  The spiral staircase occupies the turret on the front left hand side of the building.  It’s seriously steep and some of the treads are well worn – the balustrade is made from rope and there is another central rope hanging down, which I quickly discovered was the best thing to hold onto on the way down.  Almost like sliding down a fireman’s pole – except that if you go too fast you’re in danger of rope burns!  Using the balustrade is best on the way up.  The spiral continues to the roof where the views over the estate are incredible.


I wondered if I’d find the place spooky at all, but it’s got a lovely atmosphere to it (although as I’m typing this I have just heard a few strange noises!  Probably Ian downstairs making toast).

Across on a distant hill sits the village of Edensor (pronounced Enser).  It is your quintessentially perfect English village – gorgeous stone houses and in the centre the church, St Peter’s and its extensive graveyard, resting place of the Dukes and Duchesses of Devonshire and their families.  It’s also the location of the grave of Kathleen Kennedy (affectionately known as Kick), sister of John F.  She was married to the 10th Duke’s eldest son who tragically died 4 months after their wedding in the war.  She too died in horrific circumstances, in a plane crash – one of many Kennedy’s to do so.  We walked to Edensor  a few days ago and found a group of men installing the headstone for the Dowager Duchess, Deborah Cavendish nee Mitford, who passed away at the end of September.  She has been laid to rest with her husband, the former Duke and had lived for quite some years in the Old Rectory in Edensor after he passed away and her son, the current Duke and his wife took up residence in the house.  By all accounts Deborah or Debo as she was known was much loved, with a sharp wit and a great love of chickens.  Her wicker coffin was decorated with eggs and her funeral was attended by over 600 palace staff and many more friends and dignitaries including Prince Charles and Camilla.


The house, stables and gardens on the estate are magnificent but the surrounding countryside is just as lovely.  We’ve walked and explored and marvelled at the views.  I’ve also been working – doing the final read through of Alice-Miranda at the Palace and working on Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic, which I’ve really gotten my teeth into the past few days.

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I love waking up in the morning and going downstairs to watch the squirrels playing on the lawn behind the tower.  The birds are beautiful too with Robins and Blue jays and so many others I can’t name.  Yesterday morning I spotted two gorgeous pheasants wandering around by the cannons out the front.  The tower attracts many walkers to Stand Wood and often the front lawn is packed with hikers taking a break.  I’ve chatted to a few people now.  I had the pleasure of meeting two lovely young women who work on the estate,  Charlotte who manages the vast number of properties and I’m afraid I can’t remember the other lady’s name but she had just taken up the position of Head Housekeeper for the Duke and Duchess and was having a tour of the estate.

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I asked them if I should happen upon the Duke and Duchess, what should I call them?  I suspected it might be Your Grace which according to protocol it is, but they both told me Duke and Duchess are perfect and that neither stand too much on ceremony.  I haven’t encountered them yet but at least I’m now well informed if I do!

Yesterday we met two more of the staff who came to assist us when some lights went out.  Lisa, who is the Chief Buyer for the shops on the estate and I’m afraid I can’t remember the other gentleman’s name (although I have a vague recollection that I might have seen him on the television series about Chatwsworth).  They were both so warm and accommodating – people don’t just work here – they live here and love what they do.

Last night we explored the inside of the house which has the most extraordinary Alice in Wonderland Christmas display with enormous Christmas trees and miles of twinkling lights.  It’s our final full day here – the wind is howling outside and we’re very cosy, tucked up in our tower, watching the clouds racing across the sky.  There are patches of blue and intermittent sunshine and it really is the most glorious place.  Although the estate hosts crowds of people each day, this is no theme park.  The Duke and Duchess have opened their beautiful home so that it will be safe for generations to come – and rather than mouldering away as so many of these estates do, Chatsworth is a vibrant community – the people who work here are passionate about what they do and it makes the experience as a visitor even more wonderful than I had hoped.  Thank you to my clever husband for organising our surprise stay in the Hunting Tower (I think we’d both like to come back again next time we’re in England).  If you’re after a unique experience you certainly can’t go past this one.









That looks amazing.
Wish i could go there
P.S Biggest fan

December 8, 2014 at 11:38 am

Ella O'sullivan


I am very jealous am so exited for the new book

December 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Ella,

    It was a gorgeous place to stay! I felt a bit like Rapunzel in the tower (only with shorter hair!). Hope you are well and have had a good year at school. We’re planning some huge launch parties for the new book when I get home to Australia so stay tuned.

    Best wishes,
    Jacqueline x

    December 9, 2014 at 3:32 am



Dear Ms Harvey
You are so lucky,have a nice time! I’m sure the knew book will be absolutely lovely !

Lots of love Isabelxxx
P.S I can’t wait till it comes out!

December 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm



You are a fabulous writer!

December 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm



You are a fabulous writer!

December 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Mary Mayfield


We were at Chatsworth yesterday and saw the lights on in the Hunting Tower. I’d love to stay there but as we only live 40 minutes away, it seems a bit extravagant!

December 10, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Mary, I know what you mean but truly as a once off experience, we were intrigued to see the number of local people who have stayed there just for a weekend or a special occasion. It is the most magical place and we were so lucky to have had the week there. We’re now staying at a place called Rushton Hall in the East Midlands and it’s older than the Hunting Tower and really special too. I don’t know that anything will come close to the Hunting Tower though in terms of a unique experience. Hope you do get to stay there one day 🙂 And how wonderful to live so close to Chatsworth.
    Best wishes,

    December 10, 2014 at 4:05 am



OMG the 9th Clemmie book already !!!!!!!!!! So excited enjoy your trip.

December 11, 2014 at 8:47 am



dear miss harvey,
amazing!outstanding! you went there! what was alice mirandas reply on my message? tell me please! how amazing being around the world. cant wait to hear all about the parties in good old australia!
cant stop loving and admiring you,

December 11, 2014 at 6:17 pm



i can’t wait for your new book

p.s i love your books.

December 14, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Olivia,

    Thank you! I’m glad that you’re excited about the new book. I had a lot of fun writing it and even stayed in a tower just like in the story. Have a great Christmas and a wonderful holiday.

    Best wishes,

    December 18, 2014 at 2:57 am

subhanu harini


You are the fabulous writer in the whole world. I hope you enjoyed the garogeos trip there. I cannot wait for the next book.

December 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Thanks for your very kind words Subhanu. We are having a great trip and the new book is not far away now 🙂 Happy New Year (almost!)

    Best wishes,

    December 31, 2014 at 5:23 am

Jen Pfeiffer


My 7 year old daughter received a box set of the first 4 Clementine Rose books for Christmas from her grandma. She has finished them already and we have visited the library to find more! I am on my 3rd book and really enjoying them. I like to read her books so I know what she is talking about and these have been a delight!

January 6, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Jacqueline Harvey


    Hi Jen,

    Thanks for your lovely feedback. I’m always so thrilled when the parents are enjoying the books as much as the children. There are now 8 books available in the series with at least another 5 to come as I’ve signed up to 13. I’m actually in the editing stages of Clementine Rose and the Movie Magic which will be out in April. Clementine Rose and the Ballet Break In has just been released this month. Please tell your daughter I said hello and I’m very impressed that she’s already read so many books since Christmas.

    Best wishes,

    January 6, 2015 at 6:07 am

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