Visiting Chatsworth (or Pemberley, to some people…)

Visiting Chatsworth (or Pemberley, to some people…)

I like to travel. Wait, scratch that. I LOVE to travel. New places, new voices, new experiences. Everything is foreign and exciting and fresh.

In summer of 2013, I went on a little trip to England, among other places. I spent three glorious days in Derbyshire, at a little inn on the Chatsworth Estate.

Pemberley, AKA Chatsworth. *click for larger image

There was a path from the inn to the house. It wound through fields filled with cows (watch your step), across a sweet little wooden bridge, and on to the sheep-dotted meadows surrounding the house.

It was breathtakingly beautiful. Literally. The kind of beautiful that makes you stop and look around you with wide eyes, all words driven out of your head, mouth hanging open and utter astonishment written all over your face.




It filled my imagination with a million stories but not enough patience to sit down and write them. It made me want to twirl through the fields singing. It made me want to wear full skirts and petticoats – but I didn’t. Well, I didn’t wear petticoats.

I had a perpetual smile on my face and a sweet feeling of contentment the entire time I was there.

The inn itself was rambling and charming, with amazing food and attentive staff. There was a Scottish head waiter or food manager of some sort who was dark and a tiny bit portly; he was that odd mix of a teasing sense of humor and perfect manners, all wrapped up in an impeccable three-piece suit. He was training a young man, Graham, I think, and the poor boy didn’t know how to behave properly, and the Scotsman was very proper with great attention to detail, which of course led to hilarious observations as Graham was instructed on the proper way of carrying a case, addressing guests, and serving drinks. The poor Scotsman could hardly keep from rolling his eyes. I could almost hear him complaining about how young people today don’t know the correct way to do things and how hard it is to find good employees.

Chatsworth1My favorite staff member was a waiter who had sandy hair combed perfectly into place and a swoon-worthy Cambridge accent. He described every dish on the menu perfectly, including the lamb that was “sourced form the estate”, which made me feel quite bad for the adorable sheep I had passed earlier that day who’d made everything look so picturesque.

What I loved most about this tall thin man was that he reminded me of a beloved character (for me anyway): Basil of Baker Street. Now, you may not remember the movie The Great Mouse Detective, but I loved it as a child and if Basil was made human, he would look just like this waiter. It became so funny to me that I almost called him Basil more than once and could hardly keep from laughing when he was around.

It was delightful.

The house itself was, of course, amazing. Below is a gallery of pictures from Chatsworth. All were taken by me as I traipsed across the grounds in my layered sundress and boots to ward off the mud. I highly recommend it.

I often travel to new places and will likely share many of them here. Where was your most memorable trip? Where are you longing to go? Who would you go with and what would you do there? Tell me – I’m always looking for a new destination.

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33 Responses to Visiting Chatsworth (or Pemberley, to some people…)

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Elizabeth. I’ve never been to Chatsworth, even though it’s maybe only a couple of hour’s drive from where we live in North Yorkshire, right on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.

    My most recent memorable trip has to be the visit to Chawton last New Year’s Eve. We were staying with friends in Southampton and it was a kind of spur of the moment thing as we’d intended to go somewhere else that day. It was a very special experience and I have to confess to goosebumps and a shiver down my spine when I saw Jane Austen’s little writing table for the very first time.

    Our most memorable long trip was in 2008 when we spent five weeks visiting family in Australia, capped off with a week in the USA. Australia was amazing and we saw so much in that time; Darwin, the river gorge at Katherine, Alice Springs, Adelaide and quite a lot of South Australia, the Barossa Valley wineries, Sydney, the Blue Mountains.

    The week in the US was….hectic to say the least. We flew from Sydney to San Francisco, then Yellowstone, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and New York. Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon were jaw-droppingly awesome! Would love to go back to both an spend more time there. Debbie is right about the buffalo. We were nearly late for our flight out of West Yellowstone airport when we got stuck behind two buffalo having a leisurely stroll along the road!

    • Haha! I love the buffalo blocking the road! How funny!

      I’ve been to Yorkshire, but only stayed in York itself. It’s such a lovely city. We would love to go to Australia, but the distance and drama involved has put it pretty far down the list. 🙂

  2. Oh how I want to visit England! Chatsworth, of course, but so so many other places as well. I keep chanting “someday” and fear it may not happen. Fortunately I can live in England, and Pemberley, vicariously through my characters.

    These pictures are amazing, Elizabeth. You clearly have an eye for photography.

    While I have never been to England, I have been blessed to travel a great deal in the US. Between conferences in exciting cities (New York, Orlando, Chicago, etc), and the RV we used to travel all across the west with our kids, and now living in Kentucky so closer to the eastern portions of our marvelous country, we have just about hit every State. A honeymoon and couple of cruises to Mexico are as exotic as we have managed, but it’s better than nothing!

    • On this particular trip I hit Glasgow, Scotland, Edinburgh, Derbyshire, Switzerland, and London. 3 countries, 3 weeks. It was glorious!

      So many people are saying they haven’t had the chance to travel. I’m seriously thinking we may need to organize a group trip. I travel all the time and don’t spend gobs of money to do it.

      Road trip, anyone?

  3. Bath is beautiful. My daughter took Mum and I for my 60th birthday and we all loved it especially the fashion museum in the Assembly Rooms and the buns at the famous Sally Luns. The Abbey is awe inspiring.

    • Good! I’m glad I’m not the only one! I met a friend there and while we were waiting in the lobby, Basil came out and we could hardly keep from laughing. She hadn’t believed me when I first told her, but when she saw him, she couldn’t keep a straight face. 🙂

  4. This is on my bucket list! I’m so glad you got to go, and thank you for sharing your lovely experience with us. Sometimes it seems so far out of reach for me, but when evidence is before me that others have done it, well, to quote our favorite hero, “It taught me to hope.” I realize that was grammatically incorrect in this instance, but the sentiment is the same.

    • You can do it, Diana! This trip was actually quite economical. I was in Europe for 3 weeks and went all over. If you pick and choose where to splurge and where to save, it can be done. 🙂 This portion of the trip was my splurge bit, but honestly, the hotel was much more reasonably priced than I thought it would be. It was VERY nice and the same price as a mid-high range American hotel. I know I would have paid significantly more for the same thing State side.

  5. I was lucky enough to visit Chatsworth on my last trip to England almost five years ago. The house and grounds are magnificent. Your photos were wonderful and brought back many memories.

  6. Oh that’s gorgeous!! My very favorite trip was to Cozumel. Yes, very unromantic and un-Regency, however we hired a guide and he took us to all these back areas where there weren’t tourists and we had whole stretches of wide open turquoise sea with black rock and white sand beaches to ourselves and it was just incredible. DH and I are going again in the Fall. Our dream is to go to England (where my ancestors are from) and Scotland (where DH’s ancestors are from). We hope to do that at some point, but right now it’s just a dream. In the meantime, I’ll just drool over your photo journal. =D

  7. Elizabeth, the virtual tour is awesome! I want to go! Well at least I have PBS and wonderful JAFF sisters who post their pictures online. My most memorable trip was to Kyoto in Japan. A dear friend from college paid the way for my son and I to visit her after my first husband died. Les was Japanese and so Dan and I loved seeing the land where his ancestors lived. Kyoto, the old capital was untouched by the WW2 and much of the history remained. We were there in April for the Cherry Blossom festival and loved every minute of it. Thanks for asking and thanks for sharing! ~Jen Red~

    • Thanks, Jen! Thanks to some lovely students, Japan is now on my list! I’d love to see the cherry blossom festival. Sounds stunning! Maybe I can make a big Asian tour. Bangkok and Hanoi are also on my list.

  8. I shall not kid myself that I shall ever see England, but I can console myself by following your footsteps in your memoirs and pictures. I could picture myself walking down the little path and past the animals with you, and then strolling through the house and seeing the exquisite furnishings. I am in awe. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I too LOVE to travel. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures. I am hoping to get to England again one day and travel to the Yorkshire Dales, Bath, and Derbyshire with Chatsworth and the Peak District at the top of my list of what I want to see, I enjoy going to the National Parks in the US with Yellowstone and Death Valley topping my list of my favorite adventures.

    • I’ve been to York proper but didn’t travel the countryside. I can’t decide whether or not I want to see Bath… I have never been to Yellowstone but we are talking about taking the kids this summer. How long should we plan to stay there?

      • The time you spend is dependent upon the interest in nature and geology. We planned 4 days, but ended up extending to a week and cutting out other destinations. It still wasn’t enough time for us. We found the caldera rim and the bowl from the most recent eruption among myriads of other things. Some people made the comment there was nothing to see and didn’t stay even a day. Try to go the last 2 weeks in August….the crowds are gone and so are the traffic jams… out for buffalo jams though.

    • You’re welcome! You should absolutely go – it’s GORGEOUS! It’s not just the look of it, though. Honestly it looks VERY similar to middle Tennessee (so much so that many people mixed them up in my pics) but there is something in the air. A sense of history, a village intimacy, the care the family has for the land. It feels loved. Every last inch of it. I hope you see it soon. 🙂

      • Funny you would mention how green Tennessee is. My wife and I are amazed how green Kentucky is in spring and summer. I loved the pictures and my wife and I hope to get to England soon.

  10. Elizabeth, Thank you. This was lovely. I could imagine myself there. I have spent many delicious weeks and months in the area and never felt so at home anywhere else on earth. If you close your eyes you can step back in time. Thank you for the lovely pictures and the sweet memories.

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