I travel as much as possible at home and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences
Published October 31st 2012
A visit to Mr Darcy's house
It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned.
This quote refers to the fictional Pemberley, the grand home of Mr. Darcy, in Jane Austen's most famous novel Pride and Prejudice. It is thought that Austen based Pemberley on the real Derbyshire estate of Chatsworth, ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire. Chatsworth doubled for Pemberley in the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, which is not to be confused with the earlier BBC adaptation (1995) set in Lyme Park. Aside from its prestigious literary connections, Chatsworth house and gardens are a magnificent setting for a day trip out of London.
Sheep on the grounds of Chatsworth. Photo by Erin Connelly.
Chatsworth is still home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, who represent 16 generations and five centuries of the Cavendish family. A heritage which is also connected to Queen Elizabeth's good friend Bess of Hardwick, creator of Hardwick Hall.
The house has several dozen rooms open to visitors, which range from period recreations to modern sculpture galleries. Art is, in fact, a major reason to tour the house – Chatsworth is home to one of Europe's most diverse collections and it is continually evolving and growing. There are frequent art and sculpture exhibitions at Chatsworth involving everything from Edwardian cross-stitch to the mighty masters to the most cutting-edge contemporary art.
The house is set in a 1000 acre park of which 105 acres are devoted to manicured gardens, a maze, a coal tunnel, ponds, fountains, and rare and exotic plants.
Towers in the woods around Chatsworth. Photo by Erin Connelly.
In keeping with the artistic theme, there is also a permanent exhibition of sculptures throughout the gardens. The most prominent water feature at Chatsworth is the 300 year old cascading fountain, which flows like a waterfall from the top of the hillside next to the house to a pool at the bottom.
Visitors are very welcome to explore the gardens and park at their leisure. Chatsworth is a lively place with ever-changing exhibitions and seasonal events. Visit the website frequently for new information or just stop by for a tour of the stunning grounds and scenic home.
Where:Chatsworth is 8 miles north of Matlock off the B6012. It is 16 miles from the M1 Junction 29, signposted via Chesterfield (follow brown signs), 42 miles from the M6 Junction 19 and 30 minutes from Chesterfield rail station.
Cost:Variable, see http://www.chatsworth.org/visiting/admission-prices
This was quite nostalgic for me. I lived in Derbyshire from the age of 5 to 13 and our village was on the edge of the grounds of Chatsworth, so you could walk to the house from our house. Thank you for a lovely memory trip! Sally