This is the first in a series of posts, in which we're going to be looking in greater detail at all of our specific and varied tour options. Where better to start than with with one of our most popular tours? Grab your bonnet or your top hat - we're heading to Pemberley...
First, a word of warning. During the eight years that we have run our various Pride and Prejudice experiences, we quickly learnt that P&P devotees fall into two distinct camps; those that prefer the 2005 movie ("The Keira Version") and those that only recognise the 1995 mini-series ("The Colin Firth Version"). Two distinct groups of Pride and Prejudice devotees divided by a common interest.
For professional reasons, we have no opinion on which is better. Just like a granny being asked to choose which of her two grandchildren has painted the best picture of her. "Well, I think they're both very nice..." is the only response. But we have tours that cater for both sides of the divide, or a combination of both. We've expanded to cover locations nationwide in addition to the Peak District and all of our tours have one thing in common - they are tailor-made, flexible, door to door experiences.
Today, we're looking at the Pride and Prejudice 1995 Peak District Tour: Pemberley, Lambton and the Peak District.
"Pride and Prejudice" captivated audiences in 1995 with its timeless adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel. This British television miniseries, produced by Sue Birtwistle and directed by Simon Langton, stands as a hallmark of period drama excellence, leaving an indelible mark on both literary enthusiasts and television history.
Starring Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, the miniseries skillfully brings Austen's characters to life against the backdrop of early 19th-century England. The chemistry between Ehle and Firth is palpable, contributing to the enduring popularity of the adaptation.
The production team paid meticulous attention to historical accuracy, recreating the Regency era with exquisite costumes, grand estates, and refined manners. The detailed settings, from the bustling Bennet household to the stately Pemberley, immerse viewers in the social intricacies of the time.
One of the series' standout features is its faithful adherence to Austen's witty and satirical dialogue. The screenplay, written by Andrew Davies, adeptly captures the novel's humor and social commentary. The sharp banter between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, as well as the myriad characters populating the story, adds layers of depth to the narrative.
Colin Firth's portrayal of Mr. Darcy became iconic, earning him widespread acclaim. His brooding demeanor and subtle expressions conveyed the internal struggles of the character, making him a memorable and complex romantic hero. Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth, on the other hand, portrayed intelligence, wit, and resilience, elevating her character beyond the typical romantic heroine.
The series also boasts a stellar supporting cast, including Alison Steadman as the boisterous Mrs. Bennet and Benjamin Whitrow as the mild-mannered Mr. Bennet. The ensemble cast successfully brings to life the eccentricities and charms of Austen's characters.
The musical score, composed by Carl Davis, complements the story's emotional nuances, enhancing the viewing experience. The opening theme, in particular, has become synonymous with the romance and elegance of the era.
"Pride and Prejudice" (1995) not only revitalized interest in Austen's work but also set a benchmark for period drama adaptations. Its enduring popularity is evident in the numerous re-releases, anniversary celebrations, and the continuous admiration it receives from both devoted Jane Austen fans and newcomers alike. The series remains a testament to the timeless appeal of Austen's exploration of love, class, and societal expectations.
A number of locations in and around the Peak District were used for filming the 1995 version. Of these, the most central to the production is Lyme, which featured as the exterior of Pemberley.
Lyme Hall, located in Disley, Cheshire, has a rich history dating back to the 14th century. Originally a medieval hunting lodge, it evolved over the centuries into an impressive country house. In the 16th century, the estate came into the possession of the Legh family, who played a prominent role in its development.
During the Elizabethan era, Sir Piers Legh transformed the lodge into a grand mansion. The architectural style evolved over time, incorporating Renaissance and Gothic elements. The estate's extensive parkland was designed by the renowned landscape architect Capability Brown in the 18th century.
Lyme Hall gained significance during the English Civil War when it served as a stronghold for the Royalists. The Legh family's loyalty to the Crown led to the house being besieged and damaged. However, the family later restored and expanded the property.
The 19th century saw further enhancements to Lyme Hall, with extensive renovations and additions. The estate remained in the Legh family for generations, with notable members contributing to its cultural and historical legacy.
In the 20th century, Lyme Hall faced challenges, including financial difficulties and the impact of World War II. In 1946, the National Trust acquired the estate, ensuring its preservation for future generations. Visitors today can explore the magnificent house, its gardens, and the picturesque surrounding parkland, gaining insights into centuries of history and architectural evolution.
During the tour, our guests can explore all around the central courtyard and beautiful landscaped gardens where they will be able to recognise the paths where Lizzie and Darcy strolled. There is also the iconic view across the lake, where the house reflects serenely.
But this isn't the lake where Mr Darcy took his famous swim. That is a few minutes walk across the magnificent Lyme Park estate to a very modest and unassuming pond, which is the one actually used for the swim scene.
After leaving Pemberley and the still-dripping Darcy behind, the tour takes us across a scenic drive through some of the Peak District's highest and most stunning landscapes, to an area known as Ramshaw Rocks.
The perfect Lizzie photo opportunity. Just be careful you don't slip...
From here, the tour heads to an historic village in the White Peak, called Longnor. The cobbled streets were chosen to be used as Lambton in the 1995 production and our guests can wander down the cobbles past the Old Bull Inn.
If Longnor was the BBC's inspiration for Lambton, what about the town that inspired Jane Austen? Well, that means a trip to the Peak District's main market town and pudding centre, Bakewell. There we can find the hotel where Jane Austen stayed when she was writing P&P and, of course, no visit to Bakewell would be complete without a wander around the charming town centre and Ye Olde Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.
So that's how things take shape on the tour. Not necessarily in that order, as we work out routes based on pick up and drop off points, as well as lunch preferences etc. And none of our itineraries have to be set in stone. That's the beauty of a private tour. If you want to change your day around, go for it!
Oh and we usually manage to stop and see places like these along the way...
So hopefully that has explained the private aspect and the bespoke aspect. We haven't mentioned the zero emissions! Our tours for up to 4 passengers all include being driven in a fully electric Tesla, so you can enjoy the scenery in silence and comfort.
We can also cater for larger groups and we offer nationwide transfers. So if you wanted to meet us in London, Edinburgh, or anywhere else, please get in touch.
You can book any of our tours on our bookings page.