By Deborah Simionato – Guest Blogger & Janeite Extraordinaire
I am delighted to welcome Deborah to ATJA as our first guest blogger and thank her for taking the time to write this post for us. You can usually find her at Heathrow Aiport in London – leaving to or arriving from Brazil. Yes, she divides her time between these two countries while working on her PhD, dating her prospect Mr. Darcy and recording book reviews on YouTube.
Over to you, Deborah!
England boasts of many beautiful places, both natural and (wo)man-made. If you are a Jane Austen enthusiast (and let’s face it, you probably are, as you’re reading this on a website called “All Things Jane Austen”), you might have heard of the imposing Chatsworth House, in the Peak District, said to have served as inspiration for Austen to create Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley. Not only that, the house featured as Pemberley in the 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Regardless of your thoughts on that particular adaptation and your belief of whether or not it was the inspiration to Mr. Darcy’s humble abode, Chatsworth is well worth the visit.
Constructions started in 1687, and since then, the house has been handed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family from one male heir to the next (hello, patriarchy!), being now the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (“and of this place I might have been mistress!”). The outside is stunning, the inside is a delight and the park is more than even Elizabeth Bennet could dream of. Oh, and there’s even a lake! We all know how important and – dare I say it – necessary a lake is in a property such as this. I strongly recommend visiting this enchanting corner of England in the Autumn (or Fall, for the American readers), as the colors of the surrounding countryside are jaw-dropping. To be fair, however, I’m pretty confident the place is beautiful all year-round.
How does one get there? Well, it is not the easiest place to get to if you don’t have a car or know someone who is willing to drive you, but there are many other ways to see Matthew Macfadyen’s bust in person. If you’re in London, you can take a train straight to Chesterfield from either St Pancras International or King’s Cross Station (mind where you’re going, as you might end up in Hogwarts from there). The journey is around 2 and a half hours (plenty of time to start rereading one of Austen’s novels and get in the mood). Arriving in Chesterfield, you have a few options, of which I have tried two, in different visits: you could take the bus from the stop just off the Chesterfield train station all the way up to Baslow, and walk the rest of the way – about 2 km (or 3 miles) according to the Chatsworth website. The walk is lovely and if it is a nice day, I do recommend you try that and get your petticoats six inches deep in mud – Lizzy would be proud and your fine eyes would be brightened by the exercise. Walking is great, but those familiar with the temperamental English weather will know that walking might not always be the best idea. Another possibility, therefore, is to take a taxi from the Chesterfield station to Chatsworth – that way, in no longer than 30 minutes you will arrive at Pemberley, so you can start your hunt for Mr. Darcy.
Here are a couple of links that might be useful if you’re planning a visit to Pemberley, I mean, to Chatsworth.
Chatsworth House Official Website: http://www.chatsworth.org/
National Rail Enquiries: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ (this will help you with any trip you might be planning to do in the UK).
East Midlands Trains – 011 44 370 333 4875
Love from a Janeite with academic pretensions,
More from Debora Simionato on YouTube (link below) & Twitter @debsbed