|BBC's Pemberley, home of Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy and our first of two Pemberley visits|
Although that great line was delivered by Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, it could easily be applied to how I feel about the real "Pemberley's". I love and admire the two we visited in May: Lyme Park and Chatsworth, both stand-ins for the fictional dwellings of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice in BBC's 1995 mini-series and the 2005 film version starring Kiera Knightly, respectively.
|Fresh air and strong tea were on order after our harrowing trip to Lyme Park for afternoon tea|
If a tour of the 600-hundred year old estate, featuring the famous pond that Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy dipped into just before unexpectedly (but oh so delightfully!) running into Elizabeth Bennet, is not enough to admire, throw in afternoon tea and the opportunity to don Regency apparel and one must declare, there is so much to love at Lyme Park in Cheshire, England.
|The impressive façade of Lyme Park will be familiar to BBC's P & P aficionados, but interior shots were filmed elsewhere|
Although the outside of Lyme Park is very familiar to BBC Pride and Prejudice aficionados, we learned the interior scenes of Pemberley were filmed at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, the town that became "Meryton" in the same series.
|In the 1880's, Thomas Legh made Lyme Park the grand estate we see today.|
The actual inhabitants of Lyme Park were the Legh family, dating back to the 1400's.
Thomas Legh inherited the estate in 1798 when he was just five years old. During his occupancy, he expanded Lyme to what it looks like today. Descendant Richard Legh, the Third Baron Newton, donated the home to the National Trust in 1948.
|Imagine Mr. Darcy requesting Elizabeth Bennet to play the piano-forte|
We began our particular journey to Lyme Park from our hotel in Windemere in the scenic Lake District of northern England. We learned, to our great dismay, the British GPS works a little differently than in the U.S.
Perhaps with not enough attention to detail, we typed in
As we got nearer to our final destination, while navigating over a dozen roundabouts on a traffic-heavy bank holiday, we realized the terrain was getting flatter and the surroundings a bit more suburban. We were totally confused when we were routed to a townhouse complex where motorcycles lined driveways. This didn't look like the country estate of Mr. Darcy. Just where were we?
|The intersection just off the "other" Lyme Park in Yorkshire|
I wasn't sure if I was going to LOL or OMG when our GPS declared we had arrived at our destination. I looked up in horror to see the street sign before us - "Lyme Park" (!) was clearly written in black and white. We had been directed two and half hours out of our way to a subdivision in North Yorkshire!
I quickly called the "original" Lyme Park to see if I could reschedule our afternoon tea reservation to later in the day. The hostess was so accommodating, she said we'll have it ready whenever you get here.
|Afternoon tea at Lyme Park can be enjoyed in the garden or in the cozy cottage tea room that once was used for salt storage|
Sadly, our GPS misstep caused us so much precious time, that we didn't arrive until almost 3:00, just when they shut down the Regency closet. This is the magical place where you can dress in period clothes and then walk the grounds.
However, that was the only disappointment of the visit. The afternoon tea was delicious. You can choose to dine inside, (a space that once served as the salt storage room but is now a pretty, cottage-style tea room) or outside in the garden. Since it was such a beautiful day, we chose the latter. And, after that harrowing road trip, fresh air and strong tea were in order.
|Afternoon tea fare at Lyme Park|
Thankfully, we still had plenty of time to tour the estate and its interior was beautiful and impressive. It's filled with antiques and decorated in much the fashion you would expect the aristocratic Darcy clan to reside in.
|Beautiful dining room inside Lyme Park|
Finally, no trip to Lyme Park is complete without a stop at the pond where Mr. Darcy took his alluring swim. Like any Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy devotee, I took a stroll about the pond on the chance he may return and emerge again.
|Still waiting for Colin Firth/Mr. Darcy to emerge from the pond.|
Oh, yes, I do declare, there is ever so much to admire and love about Lyme Park!
Stay tuned for more Pemberley love in our next blog and our visit to Chatsworth.