That’s how its owners, the National Trust, describe Calke Abbey. Here, they talk of preservation not restoration – to provide a reminder of the state many such houses were in, at the end of their existence, with their last residents living in just a tiny proportion of the house. Preservation of the last lived-in parts of Calke means displaying the amazing collection of stuffed birds and other creatures; the disused parts are shown complete with their stored clutter.
There’s far too much here to take in on a single visit – we were beginning to suffer from overload when we left the walled gardens and headed for home. We’ll have to come again.