It is a truth universally acknowledged that a 4+ hour round-trip journey to see a major Jane Austen landmark in one day is totally reasonable.
One Saturday I took a train (plus a bus & 30-minute walk through a breathtaking field/park) to go see Chatsworth House. By itself – and by that, I mean without the literary history – Chatsworth is a gorgeous house with plenty to admire and learn about. Structures on the grounds date back to the 16th century, the architecture and interior decoration are amazing, and there are countless pieces of near-priceless artwork throughout the house.
I also may or may not have worried about getting lost in the property’s
small forest gardens.
If you make it out to Chatsworth, do yourself a favor and set aside an hour or two just to wander the paths around the grounds. They are breathtaking – figuratively and literally, if you decide to traverse all 5 miles of possible walking paths! It takes 20 gardeners and many volunteers to maintain – and their efforts are well worth it.
Of course, thanks to Jane Austen, there is a Pride & Prejudice section in all of the gift
shops. (As well as the Darcy bust used in the 2005 P&P movie.) The house and grounds were used in the 2005 movie, plus the BBC miniseries adaptation of “Murder Comes to Pemberley.” I immediately recognized the gorgeous grand entryway and staircase from the miniseries. And who could forget the magnificent fountain to the side of the house?
Inside the sprawling
house mansion, the story of the property itself was told. The Cavendish family has called Chatsworth home since 1549. That’s sixteen generations! From the lives of the servants to the military service of the owners in The Great War and World War II, each room displayed clothing, items, and plaques that took you back in time. Of course, in the modern day, financial management of the estate is difficult without charging an entry fee and turning it into a tourist attraction.
The entire day was a perfect solo exploration, full of history, architecture, and the English outdoors. The pictures really do the day more justice than I could describe.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. ” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Page 1