Presented by the website

Derby Home Page         Kedleston Walk





Only three miles from Derby city centre, Kedleston Hall, a magnificent Neo-classical Georgian house, stands in over 800 acres of Italian style classical landscape. The present house was built for Nathaniel Curzon, the 1st Lord of Scarsdale, whose family has lived at Kedleston, since the 12th Century. The house passed into National Trust ownership in 1987, but the Curzon family to this day still occupies a wing.


The ancient church is all that remains of the medieval village of Kedleston, swept away in 1759 when the construction of the present hall began. Little is known of the earlier houses before the end of the 17th century when a medieval hall was replaced by a three storey red brick house, built by Smith of Warwick. But it was not long before this house was demolished and replaced by something much grander.



When Sir Nathaniel Curzon - the Scarsdale barony was not conferred for a further three years - inherited Kedleston in 1758, the public road passed within about 160 yards of the house. Several cottages and an inn stood nearby and the house itself seemed rather small to meet his requirements.


Sir Nathaniel was an enthusiastic art collector and in 1759 he decided the house was not big enough to display his paintings and other treasures, so he set about making plans for its replacement. He appointed Matthew Brettingham, an architect from Norwich, who drew up plans for a central block linked by corridors to two separate wings. Brettingham began building the north-east wing as the family home, but was then replaced by James Paine, who had carried out work at Chatsworth. He in turn was succeeded by the much younger Robert Adam.


It was Adam who was the more adventurous with his designs. This is evidenced when comparing the grand, but slightly dull north front designed by Paine with the livelier south front, which his successor based on Constantine’s Arch in Rome. Adam, too, designed much of the interior and was responsible for all the decoration.


While the house was being built, the village was demolished and the public highway moved. The houses to the village were re-built outside the park boundary. Only the church remained. The park itself was extended and landscaped and the turnpike road between Derby and Brassington re-routed.



The gardens were landscaped in the form of a fashionable Pleasure Ground of that period.  A ha-ha, or sunken wall, was built to allow uninterrupted views of the parkland, while at the same time keeping the animals within their grazing area.


Robert Adam designed the attractive three arched bridge over the Cutler Brook, which was widened into a series of lakes and cascades. Adam also designed the boathouse, a fishing house with Venetian windows and North Lodge, with wrought-iron gates by Benjamin Yates, who succeeded Robert Bakewell, England’s most celebrated native-born iron smith, who was born in Uttoxeter. Between the house and the bridge is Bentley’s Well, a spring that apparently took its name from a steward at the hall of that name. 


The parish church of All Saints was built predominantly of Derbyshire sandstone in the late 13th century. The earliest surviving feature is the Norman doorway. As one would expect, the interior is filled with family monuments of the Curzon family.


During the Second World War, Kedleston took on an altogether different appearance. In 1939, Richard Curzon who had always been a military man, offered Kedleston to the War Department. This offer was readily accepted and during the war it was occupied by several different units. Temporary wooden huts were built in the park and rooms in the west wing of the house were used by officers. The stables and the rooms above them were also requisitioned and some of the furniture from the hall was also hired.


Kedleston was used as a mustering point for the British Expeditionary Forces, before it set off for France and Dunkirk. The local Sherwood Foresters regiment mustered at Kedleston, and was joined by forces from many different countries, including India and the Middle East. Some of the survivors from Dunkirk spent a short time on the estate.


There was some bomb damage at Kedleston when the Germans dropped seventeen bombs on the estate which landed on the stables and pleasure grounds. All the tenants on the Kedleston Estate, as well as Lord Scarsdale, had to make a contribution towards the war damage repairs.


In 1947, shortly after the war had ended, a golf course was laid out in the park. It was sited to the north of the middle lake, which necessitated some changes to the layout of the grounds. Great care was taken not to make it intrusive.







        Derby Home Page     Back to the top of the Page is an independent, not for profit website.

No recommendation of any establishment is implied by inclusion on this website.

All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.




Kedleston Hall (Tel. 01332 842191) is one of the best surviving examples anywhere of the work of Robert Adam. It is lavishly decorated and contains fine collections of paintings, furniture and sculptures. The marble hall has been described as ‘one of the most magnificent apartments of the 18th century in England’. Open from March to October, Saturday to Wednesday (Park and garden from 10am and house from mid-day). Shop and Restaurant open at weekends in the winter. The park is open all year. Closed 25/26 December.


Home Farm on the western side of Markeaton Park is a fine example of a traditional small agricultural holding, the buildings dating back to 1755. A wide range of animals are kept on the farm, including some rare breeds. Seasonal attractions include hatching chicks in the incubator and newborn animals. One of the barns has been converted into a Gift Shop and Education Centre. Home Farm Tea Room is normally open daily from 11am during the school holidays and at weekends throughout the year, serving hot and cold food, drinks and snacks.


Markeaton Park is probably the most popular park in the East Midlands with an estimated one million visitors per year, with its numerous attractions and special events. The former Orangery, now a listed building, has been converted into attractive tea rooms, where weather permitting, visitors can sit outside and admire the superb flower beds. A craft village now occupies what were once the hall stables. It consists of a number of individual units selling a wide range of goods, where visitors can watch skilled craftsmen at work. The village is open throughout the year, but the times of opening of individual units vary.   







Pub Food several country pubs are to be found in neighbouring villages and on the outskirts of Derby.


Kedleston Hall Restaurant and Tearooms (Tel. 01332 842191)

full details can be found on the National Trust website.




Provides a wide range of features on towns and villages with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


The site is expanding to include many other features of interest to the local person and visitor alike. Why not bookmark this site for future reference.

1.  To return to the main site click the link below.

Return to the Home Page

2.  To return to the contents page of the main website click the link below.

Return to the Contents Page






This non-commercial website is based on Discover Derbyshire Supplements published by the Derby Evening Telegraph.

The site, my first, commenced  in December 2003, and is expanding quite rapidly. Every month an illustrated Newsletter is published giving details of:

 What's New, What's Coming and What's On.






This three and a half mile walk takes you through open parkland and woodland, along good, easy to follow paths with only gentle gradients. There are excellent views across the park of the southern side of Kedleston Hall.


In wet weather the walk can be quite muddy and slippery in places. It is not suitable for wheelchairs or buggies. Kedleston is located to the north-west of Derby on the Allestree to Hulland Ward road.   



Kedleston Walk





Kedleston Hall


All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.