It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a young woman in possession of every Jane Austen novel, will fan-girl at the idea of visiting Pemberley.
When I was last in England, my aunt, knowing me well, suggested that we take a family trip to Chatsworth House – a.k.a. the Pemberley of Kiera Knightley Pride and Prejudice fame.
Yes, the glorious, the grand, the incredibly English, house of dreamy Darcy: Pemberley.
I have been a Jane Austen fan since this same aunt suggested that I read Pride and Prejudice when I was sixteen. I was converted, and my immediate answer to the proposed trip to Pemberley was a resounding ‘yes’.
As we drove through the lush English countryside and caught the first glimpses of the Chatsworth estate, my breath caught in my throat. Not only is the place absolutely huge, but the surrounding countryside is absolutely beautiful.
It was a cold day, consistently on the verge of rain, but that didn’t take away from the fact that I WAS AT PEMBERLEY. We parked the car, my aunt gave me her bright yellow jacket to wear to ward off the cold and we jumped on a buggy for a guided tour of the grounds.
We passed the beautiful house and trundled (slowly) into the gardens beyond. The grounds of Chatsworth House are stunning. From the massive fountain which bursts from the pond, to the art installations in the garden, to the fact that the whole place is owned by an actual Duke and Duchess, everything about Chatsworth oozes class and sophistication.
As we ambled through the grounds, I concentrated on listening to our guide while also casting my eye about in case a stray Fitzwilliam Darcy were to emerge from the foliage.
My aunt and I then went for a wander around the house. The interior was gooooorgeous. There were so may sculptures and paintings and tapestries! Each room was filled with so much colour, and many of the rooms also held exhibits of fashion or artefacts. The whole experience was overwhelming – there was so much to look at!
When it was time for lunch, we picnicked in the grounds and my little cousins made full use of the on-site farmyard and maze. Although we wandered the grounds on foot, the area was so vast that we weren’t able to cover every inch, despite spending most of the day there.
Chatsworth is certainly impressive, and it is easy to see why it was used as a set for both Pride and Prejudice and The Duchess (both starring Keira Knightley, coincidentally). Although I didn’t meet my very own Mr Darcy, I did fall in love with the beautiful estate! It is definitely worth a visit for Pride and Prejudice fans and regular folk alike.
Address: Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP, England