Live like a Duchess on the Chatsworth Estate
Chatsworth House is one of the largest and grandest country piles in Britain. It's also the former home of Debo Mitford, now Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. And while you'll need a personal invite from the current Duke (her son) to stay at the house, I discovered that you can hire one of the 19th century cottages on their estate for quite a reasonable price, if you fill it with your friends. My old college mates got together and rented the Swiss Cottage (sleeps 6), an amazing, secluded lodge on its own private lake. Yes, you read that right: private lake, with little rowing boat so you can play a Jane Austen scene whenever you want. The cottage is self-catering, although we also managed to persuade (for a fee) one of the estate chefs to come and cook us up a three-course meal one evening. We dressed for dinner, naturally. The picture above is of the Hunting Tower, another one of Chatsworth's unique holiday-stay opportunities; at both you're a short drive from the main house, so as well as plenty of walking among the acres and acres of grounds, you can tour the house, the farm, and other attractions.