Nestled in the North West of Nottinghamshire is the beautiful area known as The Dukeries, encompassing some of the county’s finest former Ducal estates and countryside. If rolling green fields, English country gardens and locally produced food sound appealing, you’ve come to the right place!
Within an hour of Nottingham city centre, The Dukeries area provides a peaceful country escape, perfect for a short break or overnight stay.
Clumber House, at Clumber Park
Clumber House has been home to the Dukes of Newcastle for over three centuries. The original mansion was demolished in 1938 but the pleasure grounds and walled kitchen garden give you clues to its grand past. And if all of this splendour isn’t enough, you’ll find an exhibition that gives more on the history of the estate, including its intriguing role during World War II.
The surrounding estate is now owned by the National Trust, and Clumber Park is open to the public. The park is ideal should you wish to take in some fresh air, and is home to the longest avenue of Lime Trees in Europe, a superb 87 acre serpentine lake and an outstanding gothic revival chapel.
Photo credit: Waldren Effingham
Home to the Dukes of Kingston and later the Earls of Manvers, this impressive hall has been rebuilt twice since the original was destroyed by fire in 1745. Presently, the hall is an adults only country house hotel with luxurious surroundings and lush spa treatments at the popular World Spa, owned by the Warner Group.
Thoresby Courtyard is free for the public to access and you can wander through the extensive wood and parkland surrounding the estate via a series of way marked walks. Take time out to enjoy a coffee in the Courtyard which also has working arts studios and hosts cultural activities and events throughout the year.
Worksop Manor is a Grade I listed 18th century country house located in north Nottinghamshire, in Bassetlaw.
During the reign of Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots was kept prisoner here as the devout Roman Catholic had claims to the English throne. George Talbot was the fourth husband to Bess of Hardwick who was also responsible for Derbyshire's Chatsworth and Hardwick Halls. The manor was descended by marriage to the Duke of Norfolk and it remained in the family until 1840 when it was sold to the Duke of Newcastle of nearby Clumber Park.
The new owner pulled down the fire damaged mansion as he was only interested in adding the land to his own estate and all that remains today is the servant’s wing.
During your visit to Worksop, make sure to stop by another of the National Trust’s properties, Mr Straw’s House. The house is a time capsule of a local grocer’s house from the 1920s and offers a glimpse into the past as nothing has been thrown away for more than 60 years!
This huge estate was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, and in the 18th century it passed through an heiress into the Bentinck family and became the main seat of the Earls and Dukes of Portland. The reclusive 5th Duke of Portland undertook substantial building works at the Abbey including a network of tunnels between the house and riding school and, it's claimed, towards Worksop.
The descendents of the Cavendish Bentinck family still live on the estate and until recently, the Abbey was leased to the Ministry of Defence as an army training college.
In recent years, many of the former outhouses and buildings on the Estate have been regenerated, and Welbeck is now home to attractions such as the School of Artisan Food, the Harley Gallery and the Welbeck Farm Shop.