History & Culture

The Derby Collection

For hundreds of years the Derby family have significantly contributed to world history. During your private stay you will have the opportunity to see the extraordinary watercolours of exotic birds and animals that Edward Lear, the famous poet painted in the gardens of the Knowsley Estate whilst he lived and worked on the Estate in the 1830’s. Whilst spending time with the Earls grand children Lear wrote the legendary nonsense poem ‘The Owl & The Pussy Cat’.

Discover the fascinating links between the Earls of Derby and Shakespeare as evidence suggests that Shakespeare visited Knowsley Hall during the 1600’s and performed ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the 6th Earls wedding in front of Queen Elizabeth I.

Knowsley’s historic connection to William Shakespeare, through the support he received from the Earls of Derby, sets the scene for the Shakespeare North Playhouse in nearby Prescot, which opens in Summer 2022. This brings with it the opportunity to combine your stay at Knowsley Hall with performances of Shakespeare’s most famous plays set in a 350 seat theatre modelled on the authentic cockpit-in-court design popular during the Elizabethan era.

This undeniably enchanting connection between the Earls of Derby and Shakespeare provide an appealing historical connection to what will be a truly modern cultural asset for the north of England.

You can read all about our illustrious history here

“English Heritage at its most magical. Sitting in the most gorgeous countryside with sweeping views, Knowsley is an all round luxury experience. From the fascinating Curator’s tour of Knowsley’s extraordinary art collection to the thrill of bicycling around the Safari Park, there is something for everyone. With charming and wonderfully experienced staff, Knowsley is the ultimate staycation destination.”

Kate Rock