But these days staff at the magnificent stately home are tweeting away on Twitter and social networking on Facebook to tell the world what’s on offer.
And the technology bug has even spread to the Duke of Devonshire himself who has launched a smartphone app to give visitors a new way to access the wealth of information and history surrounding the estate.
The Duke, Peregrine Cavendish, said: “There is so much to see, to do and to find out about at Chatsworth that it’s a real challenge to get all that information into a format that’s engaging and accessible for young and old alike but I think our team have been very successful.”
The app has a huge number of features, such as interviews with the Duke and Duchess and guides to rooms including the painted hall, the state dining room, the library and chapel.
It takes visitors on an audio-visual tour of the house and also includes an overview of Chatsworth’s development and history, with maps of the house, the Cavendish family tree and an introduction to the estate’s art and sculpture collections.
Sally Hogg, head of marketing at Chatsworth, said: “We started using both Facebook and Twitter last year and quite quickly got a really good following.
“Although it tends to be the younger visitors who use the app we get a lot of Chatsworth fans from overseas using it as well.”
The app can be used both inside Chatsworth on ipod Touch or from smartphones or computers anywhere in the world. Ten new iTouch devices - similar to iPhones but without the capacity to make calls – are now on offer at Chatsworth so visitors can be led around the house using the app.
Sally said: “We started on the first day with 10 iTouch units and within the first 45 minutes, they had gone out.”