Jane Austen was sticking to what she knew well. So she rarely released her heroes outside the Southwest of England. The furthest north they came to Derbyshire. But looking for book mansions on the map – Mansfield Park, Pemberly, or Northanger Abbey is pointless. The writer invented most of the places, thus giving the field for researchers and filmmakers to show off.
Which of the English palaces is the prototype of Pemberly – the spectacular mansion of Mr. Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice”? There is no certainty. It is known which residences inspired the filmmakers. The most important thing is that you can visit them again, because they opened to visitors after the pandemic restrictions.
Chatsworth House with a bust of MacFadyen
The most popular theory is that the writer was inspired by the palace at Chatsworth. Like Pemberley, it’s in Derbyshire, and Austen traveled around in 1811. In nearby Bakewell, she pampered the “Pride and Prejudice” written several years earlier. Researchers of her work have also found other clues: the book sister of Mr. Darcy Georgian was to be named after the Duchess of Devonshire, who lived in Chatsworth in 1806.
Chatsworth House. Photo Wikipedia Commons
The 16th-century mansion, owned by the Dukes of Devonshire, surely inspired the creators of the 2005 film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice”. I must admit that the sun-drenched palace, which is driven by the film Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley), quite accurately reflects the novel’s description.
“It was a beautiful stone building lying on a hillside, sheltered at the rear by wooded hills. In the valley, in front of the manor house, there was a stream flowing from some source and gradually turning into a wider stream, which had a natural impression, because its banks were neither over-regulated nor artificially embellished ”.
Crazy gardens with streams
In Chatsworth you can visit more than 30 rooms, incl. living rooms, bedrooms and dining room. The building is surrounded by absolutely stunning gardens with streams planted with wildflowers, hedged labyrinths, and fragrant shrubs. But filmmakers may feel a bit of a letdown. On the big screen, he only played the sizable hall and sculpture gallery, where Elizabeth stopped in front of a bust of Mr. Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen). For consolation, you can buy one in the souvenir shop. The interiors were filmed in Wilton House.
Chatsworth House. Photo Max Pixel
A trip to Chatsworth House must be planned in advance, tickets – for pandemic reasons – must be booked on side of the property. They cannot be bought on the spot yet.
Lyme Park with the famous pond
Fans of the 1995 miniseries “Pride and Prejudice” starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy will find their Pemberly in Cheshire in the west of England. BBC producers chose the spectacular Lyme Park surrounded by moors.
Built in the 14th century, the house was owned by the Leghs family for five hundred years. It was extended and rebuilt many times, mainly in the Italian style.
Lyme Park. Photo ag
With Mr. Darcy on the lawn
You can feel the atmosphere of Jane Austen’s novel at every step. Especially when, while walking in the Edwardian Rose Garden, you pass by groups dressed in period costumes. Numerous Elizabeth and gentlemen Darcy stroll the lush green lawn by the lake near the house.
A trained eye of a fan will quickly catch another place known from the small screen: the stairs, which he ran down in a hurry, adjusting the frock coat Mr. Darcy or the alley, on which a moment later he was walking with Elizabeth. To get to the famous pond where Colin Firth dived, which has become a sex symbol for years, you need to use the map prepared by Lyme Park. The entire property covers over 526 hectares.
Pond in Lyme Park. Photo ag
It is also worth going inside Lyme Park (although in the miniseries the interiors were filmed at Sudbury Hall). Now they are open to visitors again, though – as we read on side of the object – not all rooms. It’s worth booking tickets in advance.