Lyme Park is a large estate located south of Disley, in Cheshire. The estate is managed by the National Trust and consists of a mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, in a deer park in the Peak District National Park.
The estate was granted to Sir Thomas Danyers in 1346 and passed to the Leghs of Lyme by marriage in 1388. It remained in the possession of the Legh family until 1946 when they gave it to the National Trust. Entrance to Lyme Park is free if you are a National Trust member. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/join-us
The house is surrounded by formal gardens of 15 acres and a deer park of about 1,359 acres.
The house is a Grade I listed building and the gardens and deer park are listed as Grade II.
The most obvious structure in the park, other than the house, is a tower called the Cage which stands on a hill to the east of the approach road. It was originally used as a hunting lodge and was later used as a park-keeper’s cottage and as a lock-up for prisoners.
Immediately to the northeast of the house is the Orangery which was designed in 1862 by Alfred Darbyshire. The Orangery is joined to the house by a covered passage known as the Dark Passage. There is an extensive deer park, and you can catch a glimpse of the herd most days.
The house, gardens and park have often been used as a filming locations, including the 1995 mini TV series of Pride & Prejudice.
During one of our many visits to ‘Pemberley’ we joined one of the groups walking to the pond where Mr. Darcy, aka Colin Firth, jumped into the water to cool off after a long and apparently hot ride. It was quite a distance over uneven terrain, perhaps 1.5 miles, but as a lover of all things Austen, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Once we arrived, a few of the group threw red roses into the water, or tried to pose on the spot where Colin’s stunt double dived into the water. However, that was not for me. I waited patiently until they had all exhausted themselves and filled their digital camera cards before I took a single picture.
I wanted to capture the mood of how he felt when he was staring at that inviting water, as he slowly removed his outer garments and boots. And maybe a little of me was hoping he would come riding over the hill again and give a repeat performance. (I wish!)
This is the area where Darcy and Elizabeth meet, with him wearing the now famous wet shirt. It is difficult to take an exact shot as the trees and shrubs have grown so much since it was filmed.
The next comparison pictures are of the steps where Elizabeth’s dress becomes transparent as the sunlight streams through the material. Also the scene where Darcy asked her if she would mind meeting his sister, Georgiana. There’s a new addition, a hand rail for use when climbing the steps, in line with health and safety standards.
And here I am standing on the spot where, after spending some time together, Darcy bids farewell to Elizabeth and the Gardiners. It is after this meeting that Elizabeth feels the first stirrings of love for him, evident in her backwards glance as the carriage pulls away. Aw, ain’t love grand 😉
The next comparison pictures are of a still slightly damp Darcy rushing out to intercept Elizabeth before she has time to leave. This area is in a beautiful inner courtyard with a stone Well in the centre. The ground level corridors leading off the courtyard take you to the restaurants, shop, café and church room.
And of course, no post about Lyme Park would be complete without mentioning the giant Mr. Darcy that spent 8 months in the Reflection Lake. He has made his way to Melbourne, Australia to live for now, but, love him or hate him, it certainly was a sight to behold.
Lyme Park is a great place to spend a day or even a weekend. As well as retracing the step of Elizabeth and Darcy, or Colin and Jennifer if you prefer, they have many fun things to do and see. There is a wardrobe of Edwardian clothes that the whole family can dress up in for free! Next door to the shop is a small book room, where you can sit in comfort and quietly read for awhile. They have an amply stocked shop where you can buy mementos of the house, the National Trust and of course Mr Darcy. During their Pemberley Weekends, they screen the full six episodes of Pride & Prejudice on a loop in the book room. The original costumes from the series are sometimes on display during these weekends too. Or perhaps a nice walk to Darcy’s Pond is more to your liking, to work off the delicious lunch you ate in the restaurant? And then, at the end of the day, after you’ve enjoy a nice cream tea, you might be lucky enough to see the Rangers feed the deer herd.
We love visiting Lyme Park and look forward to our next trip.
Here are a few more picture for your enjoyment.
We hope you have enjoyed our comparison pictures of Pemberley 1995 (Lyme Park). http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme
Look out for our next instalment in this Pride & Prejudice revisited series.
Our very best
Lizzie and Darcy x