Tuesday, January 19, 2016

...To be Mistress of Pemberley Might be Something

While planning, my absolute English countryside must-have was a trip to Pemberley. Of Mr. Darcy fame, yes.


Chatsworth, as it's actually known, is on the edge of the Peak District. It's still a privately owned estate, and the family lives there most of the time—they make a buck or two charging admission and then renting out the place for weddings and movie/TV shoots. It’s stood in as Pemberley for a Pride and Prejudice movie (the Kiera Knightley one, not the real one) and Death Comes to Pemberley, which I highly enjoyed. It was also the actual home of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, also known as The Duchess.

My evil plan was to leave Shaftesbury after a lovely Full English breakfast at the B&B—another food theme for this part of the trip. Sidebar: Whoever invented the full English was a fucking genius, by the way. You might wake up tired and nervous about the drizzle outside, but one full English later you’re completely warm and satiated until it’s time for tea (and scones, derr). 

So! Off we trotted, car-wise. I ended up driving for the rest of the trip, because I got into the zone and just went for it while Mom navigated. Roundabout, roundabout, roundabout, etc.

Here we are driving from D (Shaftesbury) to E (Chatsworth). It's funny how 4ish hours travel in the US might get you to another state, whereas in England you go from cider and Hagrid to coal mining country and uh, the cast of Wuthering Heights? That's my best Yorkshire reference, sorry.

After those aforementioned hours, we started seeing little white fuzzy dots across the horizon. Sheep! They were sheep! Oh God, the adorable sheep.


I had booked us a room in the Chatsworth Arms, an inn actually owned by the Duke and Duchess of the estate. It was on the property and mentioned in the Michelin guide for its dinner. After checking into our room (free upgrade, noice), we went straight to Chatsworth for lunch at the Carriage House, and then in to see the House.


And what a House it is. Mom and I cheerfully paid out the nose for tickets and fancy guidebooks because we were SO jazzed about the whole thing. 

Everything is incredibly well preserved and you get to see a fair amount of the property. What’s cool is that, since the family lives upstairs, the house feels ALIVE. It’s buzzing with people taking down tents, moving artwork, hanging out in the gardens. I could not keep myself from daydreaming about Elizabeth Bennet being mistress there.

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It was stunning. I absolutely INSIST you visit, if you have the chance.

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After a wander through the impressive gardens, we headed to the little Farm Shop for our tea. It’s a grocery store filled with local goodies, many of which are raised/made on the actual estate. Sheep hung out mere feet away from us as I successfully consumed another gluten-y scone with clotted cream. Those are low-fat, right?


Back at the inn, I took the fancy bathtub for a spin and we realized that the Duchess had chosen bed hangings that resembled a room we’d seen at the estate (scroll up).


For the rest of the night we relaxed, ate a wonderful dinner and then watched the new season of Downton Abbey on my computer. Capital.

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