I can remember being a 17 year old school girl sitting in my English class, devouring Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It was a world so completely different to my own, yet the story still resonated with me and it remains a favourite book. When we’d finished reading the novel our teacher played the cult 1995 BBC mini-series of the same name, starring Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth and *that* white, wet shirt scene. Oh how my teenage heart fluttered, not only for Darcy but for the beautiful scenery and those amazing houses. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve re-watched that series. I know the story, but never tire of it.
Last week’s visit to the Peak District allowed me to fulfil a cheesy Pride and Prejudice fangirl moment. Adam and I headed off to the National Trust’s Lyme Park – the property used as Pemberley (exterior only) in the BBC production.
We arrived at Lyme at lunch time. It was a cold, but bright day, so we decided to eat a picnic lunch besides one of the property’s lakes. Sufficiently chilled after our sandwiches, Adam and I opted to take a look around the inside of the house first.
It was lavishly decorated with artworks, books, furniture and soft furnishings- much grander than other National Trust properties we’ve visited like Croome or Tredegar House. Each room had a volunteer on hand to answer any questions and there were information sheets readily available with facts about previous owners and the furnishings on show.
The National Trust completely caters for the P&P fan and offers themed walks around the estate and later this year there’s a whole week devoted to Jane Austen! There is even a costume room within the main house where you can change into Regency era dress, so you can channel your inner Darcy or Elizabeth Bennett during your visit! Adam and I opted to sit that one out, preferring the warmth of our beanies and down jackets :p.
As you walk around the house you get the most incredible views of the beautifully manicured gardens around the property. The day had warmed up significantly by the time we finished looking around the house and we couldn’t wait to get back outdoors to explore.
I particularly loved Lyme’s Orangery. It was warm, humid and full of plants from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. It felt like this tropical oasis, neatly contained within a beautiful greenhouse, right in the middle of England.
Adam and I walked for miles around Lyme’s grounds. We saw the ‘Cage’ – which was used as a hunting lodge, groundskeeper’s house and prison!
Paddock Cottage sits on a hill grazed by Highland cattle. It’s isolated and I can imagine it being a cold and slightly lonely place during the winter.
We were thoroughly knackered by the late afternoon, but really enjoyed our visit. The house was fascinating and we only skimmed the surface of exploring Lyme’s grounds. If you’re a P&P fan, you won’t be disappointed and even if you’re not the entire estate is really quite breathtaking.
Have you ever been to a place featured in a book or film?! What was it like?