Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pride and Prejudice Themed Day Trip!

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

I'm a huge Jane Austen fan. I have been since I first discovered the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice" and saw Colin Firth portray Mr. Darcy. From there on out, I started reading  devouring her six novels. "Pride and Prejudice" has remained my favorite since the first time I watched the BBC version. Reading the novel confirmed that, and if I need more confirmation, both the version before the BBC one as well as the 2005 film solidified the idea.  I can quote lines from the book as well as two of the versions of the movie. My Pinterest boards are sometimes cluttered with lines from Mr. Darcy as well as images. Hopeless Romantic here..

Thus, it comes to no surprise that this time around living in England, I wanted to check out inspirations for the film locations as well as actual inspirations for Jane Austen. The trip to Bath is scheduled for next term to see her actual home and do the tour. Nevertheless, as I sat down to plan these said journeys, I found one location that fulfilled both the film location and an actual inspiration. Chatsworth House in the Peak District served as the actual inspiration for Pemberly when Jane Austen wrote "Pride and Prejudice," and the 2005 movie shot there. 

So, yesterday, Zaina, Emma, and I were determined to reach Chatsworth House.  We decided to rent a car rather than rely on a train and a bus schedule that was last updated in 2003. Leaving Heathrow, it took us about three hours to get there including stops and getting lost for awhile. We rented the car at Heathrow, so that Zaina could avoid London city traffic. It was the same price including the additional fares on the tube out to zone six. 

Let me just say, the Peak District is gorgeous. I've never really ventured into the Midlands/Peak District before, and it rivals the views of cliffs and coastlines. We didn't have time to hike to Stanage Edge- where they shot Elizabeth Bennet (Kiera Knightly) overlooking the countryside in the 2005 movie. Yet, the Peak District is also close to Sherwood Forest, so we know we will back again.

Chatsworth House is huge. The current Duke and Duchess of Devonshire still live there, but it is open for tours. While they had decorated for Christmas and some of the rooms were shut down for renovations, we still go the full experience. 

Chatsworth House

Famous Balcony from the 2005 film
I kept quoting lines as we would walk through the house. The grounds outside were still well landscaped for the fall season with the views in the distance spectacular.   Oh, and if you were wondering where Mr. Darcy was...I found him. The house still has the 2005 statue as seen in the gallery when Elizabeth Bennet tours Pemberly with her aunt and uncle. It's located in the gift shop, somewhat up on a shelf. I actually had to ask as I did not see it right away. I may have been the only one in the shop taking a photo of it, but a fan has to do what a fan has to do. 

Chatsworth House also plays host to a Christmas Market which we enjoyed before we ventured into the local town of Bakewell for dinner and to test out the famous Bakewell puddings. For those who do not know, Bakewell is famous for their Bakewell puddings. I'm not sure of the exact ingredients in the pie as one of them are secret, but it is worth it. Guilt food at its' finest! 

We headed back to London shortly after dinner as we had to get the rental car back to Heathrow. It was well worth the journey up and down. I would recommend it to all Jane Austen fans as well as those who appreciate history (including some JFK trivia), small towns, and the countryside. 

Zaina and I

Emma and I

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