A full month after my last post (OOPS), and now officially exactly 1 year later, I am finally telling you about my most wonderful time running around pretending to be Lizzy Bennet. Yes- Derbyshire is where Darcy was from, and thus both the BBC and Joe Wright went here for their films' Pemberly (Darcy's estate where Lizzy starts to actually realize she loves him... in case you haven't read Pride & Prejudice!). This was another location that I was flying blind for, since Rick Steeves doesn't include it in his guide book. For any Austen-lover, it is a MUST DO area, but also- as Lizzy's aunt expressed - it is one of the country's loveliest counties.
SO- after my castles I hit the great north road (hilariously, signs all just said NORTH), avoided Birmingham, and entered the absolutely gorgeous Peaks District. I arrived to my little guest house just as the sun was going down, which was slightly awkwardly located just outside the adorable town of Buxton, and even more slightly awkward, I was to be their only guest for the next two nights. After some wonderful advice from the very kind owner, I went into said town and realized it was actually a very nice place, a bit like a mini-Bath, and I really should've researched harder to find a B&B actually in town. Sigh - guide books really can be useful!
In any case, after a surprisingly good meal from an authentic French cafe in the wilds of northern England, I got ready for Day 1: the modern P&P day. Bright & early I headed out to the grand house of Chatsworth, which served as that movie's Pemberly (even though Jane Austen actually mentions Chatsworth in the book). If you happened to catch the docu-series on BBC/PBS, you'll know already that Chatsworth is really an immense estate, and the current Duke & Duchess (of Devonshire) have done a lot to keep it functioning and restored immaculately. It is, needless to say, AMAZING, but also a bit expensive (about 20 pounds or so to visit!). The rooms are just gorgeous, and you can actually take photos, but nearly every single one I took is vertically oriented, which this site doesn't display properly - so instead, go check out their website. Also- if you saw the movie (or read the book) "The Duchess", it was not filmed here, but the events of the movie actually TOOK PLACE here - so there's all kinds of very cool family history, as you would expect. Portraits through the centuries, hand-painted wallpaper galore, amazing old furniture, and oh yes- the sculpture room. This is the part in the movie when Lizzy is wandering aimlessly through amazing life-size sculptures & such - YOU CAN DO THAT TOO! It's really like a museum. OH- but funny story, the veiled lady she's so enthralled with in that scene has been moved b/c the current Duke restored the room back to what it was like originally. However, he had to move her back out of storage because guests were freaking out about "where was the veiled lady sculpture!", so she now resides in her own nook between the library & dining room (both of which are, surprise, spectacular). Oh, what the heck- here are some interior shots - sorry for the weird framing:
So then I went out to the gardens, which are so large that they have little golf carts that you can ride around in to see everything. The sun was trying to peek out, so I just wandered around and found some really lovely vistas. I couldn't stop taking photos. Sadly- the scene on the patio where Darcy & Elizabeth chat is off-limits to guests as it's actually part of the private living quarters, but it's there, on the far left of the house facing the amazing water spout.
After I was finished, I wandered into the nearby cozy little town of Bakewell to search up some lunch. It was apparently market day, so a bit crowded and I was all stressed about my parking spot, so I spotted a pizza joint & ran in for a slice. I am SO GLAD I did, because I met the absolute nicest couple who ended up being a really great help to me in finding my next location. SO- one of my favorite shots from the new P&P movie is the iconic one of LIzzy standing on a cliff with her coat billowing out beautifully behind her. Thanks to the trusty IMDB, I had learned that was filmed at some place called Stanage Edge. Since the weather was clearing up, and already noticing just how pretty the landscape is, I mentioned to Les, the kindly man who was making my pizza, that I wanted to head there. WELL - it turns out that he & his wife are great walkers, and had actually be up to Stanage Edge recently. So he not only pulled up his blog on his phone to show me pictures, but he also figured out the gps coordinates of it so that I would be able to find the right spot. Seriously, really nice people! So- armed with a barely usable phone (service there was, shall we say, spotty?) and some general directions, I headed out to find this Edge (even though, according to my now-favorite local, there are tons of different Edges that may even be more spectacular w/better hikes to them). I creeped along teeny roads through a few villages, and finally started heading uphill & then, low & behold, I found a cliff-edge! I had a bit of a false start finding a good setting-off point for my little tromp through some moor-like terrain to actually get over to the rocky part, but once I got there- MAN. You can really tell why they chose to film there - just gorgeous. I went all along trying to find the exact spot of the shot, endlessly taking photos, but all too soon I felt some drizzle beginning, so eventually I clambered back down to my car. Here are some of the better pictures (starting of course with a shot of the cute little pizza joint in Bakewell):
Once I got in the car & headed back down & towards Buxton, I stopped to take a shot looking back up at the Edge, then went about 1 minute further and saw a whole other side to the cliff which was MUCH higher & imposing-looking. There were even people doing a bit of rock-climbing up on it! I would've walked up to take a closer look, but as I said- the rain was starting, and I needed to get on back to town to warm up & get dinner (it was really quite cold & windy that day). On my route home, I went by what is apparently Peveril Castle, which I didn't stop at, unfortunately, and then my trusty little road looked as if it dead-ended directly into some very steep, green hills. In fact, it just went down to one lane and cut it's way through some VERY scary pass that I was terrified/amazed by. I had pulled over to make sure the road didn't end, and managed to get one shot before I entered the insanity. Then the view was so nice on the way out of the pass that I tried to get another shot, but as I was driving I couldn't actually see what I took. Imagine my glee when I got home to discover I had actually taken a lovely shot of a break in the clouds, proving that even on bitterly cold & rainy days, the sun does come out in England sometimes!
On that note, I'll pause because the next day I went somewhere EVEN MORE AMAZING and I won't be able to keep that brief - so it'll get it's own post.
PS- I'm pretty sure that was the night I went to a cute little out of the way country pub and almost ordered the blood sausage, but chickened out at the last minute. All hail beef stew, my savior.