Wow. England is truly beautiful. And the Peaks District is a sight to behold. We left London after a glorious three days of city living and drove 3 hours north to the Peaks, all hills with fields of green boarded by stone walls as far as the eye can see. The green is vibrant, the roads are extremely narrow and the life is quaint and picturesque.
House numbers aren't really a thing here, it's more of a 'go up the hill, turn at the tree and you won't miss it' style of locating things, so after some back and forth and the spotting of a fallen sign we located our accommodation at Cressbrook Hall, nestled among the most beautiful rolling hills dotted with sheep. We stayed in a lovely cottage on the property and spent that first afternoon exploring the grounds before heading out for a true English Pub meal. The White Lion in Buxton was all we had hoped for, with a roast and Yorkshire Puddings we couldn't be happier.
The next day we decided to venture out early on a walk to the local mill. About a quarter in we literally became bogged, the ground was so wet and muddy that is was impassable for our little tribe so we turned back, found another path, decided to follow it and see where we ended up. It turned out that this path led us to the hills across from our accommodation which unbeknownst to us had old train tunnels travelling through them. With no trains passing these days they have been converted into a bike path and made for a wonderful great walk. We sort of just keep going and going, the hills, the colours, the fresh air, the sheep, the tunnels were all mesmerizing really and by the time we made it home we really had had quite the adventure. After some lunch and a rest we drove over to nearby Chatsworth House which it has been said was Jane Austen's inspiration for the Pemberly of Pride and Prejudice. It is a grand old house. We walked the gardens first, they have a really fun rock garden which Finley and I enjoyed hiding him and a less fun Maze they we are pretty confident just didn't have a solution. The pool and fountain were in credible and all work through a pressure system which was installed 100 years ago. The property has a magic hobby farm and playground for kids and Levi and I tagged teamed seeing inside the house while the kids got the explore the farm. I really loved the farm. Finley was besotted by his guinea pig Tinkerbell which he kindly protected from his little sister and Prim loved the chickens which were the spottest I have ever seen. The playground was great, set in amougst the woodlands with a stream trickling through. We didn't have alot of time each to see inside the house so I walked swiftly through and was left with the impression that I was grateful not to live there! The house was so lavish, not a cm goes unadorned and nothing really says home, but rather museum. It certainly gives you am understanding of how the upper class lived and the sheer amount of work that went into maintaining that lifestyle.
The next day we set off in search of THE Peaks and to recreate my very own Elizabeth Bennett moment. We found them without too much difficultly and made the little climb to the top where the view is absolutely breathtaking. It's a wild kind of place, a wonder really, so high and with rocks shaped so uniquely. It's a little errie being there, the wind picks right up and you really do need to watch your footing! Levi was a wonderful photographer and committed to getting the Elizabeth shot for me. It was so funny trying to determine exactly where she stood in the film and the angle of the shot, but he did it. And it really is more beautiful and perfect than I could have imagined.
After some pie and cake it was time to head to the Pemberly of my Pride and Prejudice, Lyme Park. Now unlike Chatsworth, I actually think I could feel quite at home in Lyme Park! No one actually lives in this house, nor is it likely that there ever will. It's now owned by the National Trust and because of that everyone gets to experience a little of it's splendor. It is incredibly beautiful in every way. We took our time through the grounds and the rose garden and just soaked in the beautiful outlook of the magnificent house as we made our way around. We played croquet on the lawn which the kids loved and just soaked in the magic of 17th Century England.
Our time in the Peaks was a dream come true for me. It was incredible to see for myself what authors I love have seen and really experience, like 'feel it in your bones' experience, a place I have read so much about. My imagination had not done it justice but now it is imprinted on my mind forever.
We were concerned for the safety of those sheep precariously perched on that hill...
Chatsworth House - Inspiration for Jane Austen's Pemberly
Lyme Park - The Pemberly of the BBC Pride and Prejudice
My very own Mr Darcy.