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Calke Abbey Hot

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Postcode
DE73 7LE
Address 1
Ticknall

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Calke Abbey is a country house set in its own country park, and is close to Derby and Ashby De La Zouch. It is perhaps unique in that it is a country house that has been allowed to become somewhat dilapidated - the rooms do not tie in to a single period, but have been organised to represent different periods of the house's use, from the original family's use to a soldier's billet during the war. It also has an extensive collection of stuffed animals. Lovely. Of course, if you are in a wheelchair I'm afraid you're going to have to use your imagination for all of this. As a wheelchair user you can marvel at the three (yes - three! Including the entrace hall) rooms that are accessible. One is an old study, which is roped off but if no one else is about you can probably get your chair just inside, and the other room is full of stuffed animals. There is a token computer in the corner of the entrance hall (positioned by the front door - just for those drafty autumn days), which shows a virtual tour of the house. This is the same tour which is available on the web site, so I'd recommend you save your £10 entrance fee. Unfortunately we couldn't use this virtual tour on the day we went as someone else had just moved in front of it, and we didn't want to wait for the 30 mintues plus while she used it. From the entrance hall the signs direct you up a large wooden staircase - we were cheerfully informed that if my mother could walk up the stairs there was a wheelchair on the first floor she could use. Of course, if she could walk up two flights of stairs she probably wouldn't need the wheelchair anyway, though this point was lost on the staff. Some staff were helpful and apologetic about the whole access situation, but one or two others were clearly not interested in helping us at all. I found the accessibility here typical of the National Trust - very little attempt has been made to make the property or grounds accessible, and the attitude appears to be that disabled visitors do not matter. It was a very frustrating experience, and our visited lasted perhaps half an hour before we moved on to somewhere which was accessible. As for the grounds there is a church (not open) and ice house (I'm afraid I didn't check accessibility on this occasion). At the back of the house there are some empty tunnels, perhaps accessible in a tilt-able manual chair, but there is a set of steps at the end so you would hvave to turn around and go out the way you came in. There is also a deer park but this is down a winding and uneven path, and certainly not suitable for wheelchairs. The toilets, shop, ticket office and cafe are located in the stable yard - the shop is accessible, and there is an accessible toilet. There is also a couple of rooms with carriages and stables in, which are accessible, though you may need someone to give your wheelchair a shove to get it out of the carriage room. All in all, if you have a particular desire to stand outside the Abbey looking at the facade, then by all means go ahead and visit. Otherwise, I really wouldn't waste your money or time.

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Average user rating from: 1 user(s)

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Overall rating 
 
2.0
Accessibility 
 
1.0  (1)
Value for Money 
 
2.0  (1)
Helpfulness of Staff 
 
3.0  (1)
Quality 
 
2.0  (1)
 
Calke Abbey 2012-10-19 20:25:51 R Cumberbatch
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Accessibility 
 
1.0
Value for Money 
 
2.0
Helpfulness of Staff 
 
3.0
Quality 
 
2.0
Reviewed by bexie_doodle    October 19, 2012
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews

Calke Abbey, South Derbyshire

Gets a two star for quality based on able-bodied experience only. Value for Money rating is based on the fact that companions to disabled visitors get in free, plus the National Trust occasionally do free weekends and newspaper offers. How you will enjoy listening to them tell you about all the things you couldn't see for yourself (!)

All in all, if you have a particular desire to stand outside the Abbey looking at the facade, then by all means go ahead and visit. Otherwise, I really wouldn't waste your money or time.

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