I am sure you neglect nothing that can add to the beauties of that noble place. Charles, when you build your house, I wish it may be half as delightful as Pemberley. I would really advise you to make your purchase in that neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for kind of model. There is not a finer country in England than Derbyshire’ – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.
After reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and watching the period drama a number of times, I knew I wanted to visit the fictional ‘Pemberley’. My favourite film version is the one with Judi Dench, Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, and it’s the moment when Lizzy walked into Mr Darcy’s house that made me very eager to visit Chatsworth House and see it for myself.
It was a foggy Saturday morning when we left London for a weekend in Derbyshire. A long, nearly 5 hour drive was only building up the excitement. I don’t mind trips as long as this. I really enjoy observing the changing landscape of the country once I get out of the capital city. The flatness is replaced by rolling fields and rich woods as you pass the famous Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. Sheep and cows happily munching away on the lush green peaks as you reach the Peak District. The grass is definitely greener there, the air seems fresher and you can actually see the sky. It would be pretty cool to live in the national park!
Chatsworth House and especially the grounds have exceeded my expectations. It was everything I was looking forward to. We started our tour with a little picnic and enjoyed a piece of quiche, cheese with crackers, grapes and mango chutney with a lovely view of the historic stately home.
You must walk around the Canal pond and see the Emperor fountain in the distance. It’s the most photographed spot at one of the England’s finest houses.
It was still fairly foggy while we walked around the 100 acre park, but the haziness only sought to enhance the already elegant setting.
The Kitchen Garden was a delight; neatly arranged rows of seasonal veg, apple and plum trees clustered with colourful flowers.
Who wouldn’t want a garden with such a view?!
The WWII ‘dig for victory’ inspired garden.
A short trot through the grounds led us towards the Grotto pond and house.
The colours of the approaching autumn could be seen there better than anywhere else in the park.
A walk through the park past Morton’s pond was as peaceful as it can get.
There is something interesting at every step. The Willow tree fountain met us with water spraying from every branch.
The beautiful Serpentine hedge was closed for a stroll, but you could still admire the ‘crinkle-crankle’ wall from the distance.
Don’t miss out the coal hole and tunnel. You can walk through it all and come out near the Maze, which use to be the site of a grand Victorian conservatory housing tropical plants back in the day.
The Maze proved to be one of the trickiest we’ve ever been to so far. To our disappointment, we never found the way to the center of the maze.
Charlie was very disheartened, but I was too busy enjoying the colours around me to be sad about it.
The Cascade was built by a French engineer for the 1st Duke of Devonshire. Each step is different to the one above and below it, to differ the sound of falling water.
We left the house until last. I was very excited to see the interior and especially the white & black chess board style floor that I saw in the movie. Even though the Pemberley is a fictional house, in my imagination, Mr Darcy lived there.
We explored the magnificent Painted Hall, regal State Rooms, newly restored Sketch Galleries.
The Sculpture Gallery was also featured in the 2005 film.
Maybe that’s the same piano that Miss Darcy played in one of the movie scenes?
I could have wandered around the house and the gardens for much longer, but it was time to leave and find our exciting little cottage for the weekend in the middle of nowhere.
Directions to Chatsworth House
Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1PP, UK