An obscure actor dived into a lake wearing a nightie and emerged an international heartthrob. To dip your toes in the magic waters that transformed Colin Firth’s career in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, head to Lyme Park in Cheshire, forever recognisable as Mr Darcy’s ‘Pemberley’.
You may also recognise the spectacular mansion house and gardens from the second series of hit TV programme, The Village, released in 2014 on BBC 1, or if your dramatic tastes venture a little darker, from the 2011 horror film, The Awakening.
It’s no wonder the National Trust property is such a hit with location scouts. 1300 acres of rolling parkland include roaming herds of medieval fallow and red dear, an Edwardian rose garden, a ravine garden and spectacular 500-year-old trees. For children there’s the Crow Wood Playscape with a giant slide, badger den and rope walks, while the Timber Yard Coffee Shop offers a place to warm up after an autumn walk around the grounds.
The house itself is open to the public throughout the year and features Edwardian-themed exhibitions, although there are also architectural elements dating back to the Elizabethan era. A wardrobe department allows for interactive Edwardian dressing up, there’s a textile store and a new schoolroom exploring education at the turn of the century.
Words by Agnes Davis