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I have been obsessed with Pride and Prejudice ever since I first watched the 2005 adaptation on a school trip when I was 14. Those scenes where Lizzie visits Pemberley for the first time and develops feelings for Mr Darcy (probably partially due to his beautiful home) made me want to visit Chatsworth. However, the impressive country house is not only the set to the modern adaptation of the Austen classic but also the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and the home to the Cavendish family since 1549. One of its most famous residents included the Duchess of Devonshire Georgiana, a fashion and political icon of the eighteenth century. Her life inspired another beautiful film, The Duchess, which was also partially filmed at Chatsworth.
So, in the last week of my time in Lancaster, my friend and I decided to fulfil our Austen- and history-nerd-dreams. We drove down to Chatsworth, which is situated in Derbyshire and is about a two hours car ride from Lancaster. The car ride alone was worth the journey as we got to drive through the Derbyshire Dales and parts of the Peak District.
Unfortunately, because of Corona, only the gardens were open for visitors, but we spent around 4 hours exploring and walking around. The drive up to the majestic country house leads you over a cute little bridge and is framed by hills, forests and fields full of sheep. Once you enter the gardens the paths are lined with statues, and there are multiple water features, one of them greater than the others. Moreover, the gardens have multiple parts to them, with vibrant flowers, little waterfalls, multiple ponds and even a maze.
After a long day that we spent walking around and eating ice cream, we also visited the little shop attached to the building. The Orangery shop sells all sorts of Pride and Prejudice merch and even has a Darcy statue *sigh*.
Even if you are no Jane Austen or history enthusiast, the house, the sheep and the beautiful flowers and trees in the gardens are very much worth a visit if you are looking for a socially-distant adventure.
Images courtesy of Lilli Reuss