An exhibition that uncovers the mysterious world of the 5th Duke of Portland.

The 5th Duke was an unusual figure in Victorian high society, and many myths and legends have grown around his memory.

These include always wearing 3 pairs of socks, only eating roast chicken, and communicating exclusively by letter through his bedroom door.

The actual truth behind the stories is uncertain but it seems that the famously private 5th Duke was not a conventional Victorian aristocrat.  He is best known for his building projects, which include one of the world’s largest riding schools, 2¾ miles of tunnels, a subterranean ballroom and an underground donkey stable.

The 5th Duke was also an art collector, and added numerous works to The Portland Collection – with a particular focus on miniature portraits.

Tunnel Vision

This exhibition gives a rare glimpse into the 5th Duke of Portland’s world.

Exhibits include the architectural models for some of the Duke’s building projects, portraits of his lost love – the opera singer Adelaide Kemble, the Duke’s death mask, and his iconic double-letterbox bedroom door.

Visit the exhibition to explore the 5th Duke of Portland’s hidden world, and gain an insight into the life of this elusive historical figure.


Please note: It is not possible to visit the tunnels and underground rooms at Welbeck.

Tours of the State Rooms at Welbeck Abbey take place throughout the year, read full details here.