princesses and palaces

A weekend away with my sister Jen was spent getting deliriously excited (and can I admit teary eyed?!) over the royal wedding, joining in a local street party, and then heading for the Peak District for three days to indulge all our best Jane Austen fantasies by going to not one, not two, but three old stately homes! Ah, it was bliss 🙂

Look at all those union jacks 🙂 We’re all so patriotic…

Still a little excited and overwhelmed from watching five hours of wedding build up and footage!

On the way to the first stately home. Is it…?

Yes! It’s Chatsworth, possibly the most famous palace in England after Buckingham palace. And the setting for Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy, in the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice 🙂

Recognise this statue from the film? 

In the afternoon we escaped the crowds of Chatsworth for the peace and quiet of Haddon Hall, the family home of the Manners, two centuries older than Chatsworth and looking beautifully ancient and romantic. Which I guess made it the appropriate setting for filming Jane Eyre here… twice 🙂

Finally we went to Lyme Park, possible the most excited we had been the whole weekend (bar the royal wedding of course) because it is famously the location of another Jane Austen film that Jen and I both practically know off my heart…

Yes! It’s the location of Permberley in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice! Where a wistful Lizzie wandering in the gardens bumps into a dripping wet Mr Darcy/Colin Firth and promptly decides that maybe he’s worth a second look 😉

Lyme Hall was a great place to visit because they have tried to make some of the rooms more interactive. So in the library you can sit on the sofas and read a book or a magazine, in the nursery there are toys laid out for bored children to play with.

And perhaps most exciting of all, in the grand entrance hall there was a beautiful 180 year old piano. “Do you play?” asked the lady watching over the room, and when Jen answered yes we were allowed to step over the sacred rope barrier into the room, and she played a tune from memory, part of the soundtrack to Love Actually, which sounded so pretty in that room that everyone stopped to listen. I was so proud!!