Austen Film Locations: Pemberley – Pride and Prejudice 1995

The 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries of Pride and Prejudice staring Colin Firth and Jenniffer Ehle as Jane Austen’s most famous couple Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet is renowned for its period accuracy, sumptuous costuming and stunning locations. Please welcome guest blogger Helen Wilkinson today as she takes us on a tour of the two locations, Lyme Park and Sudbury Hall, used to stand in for Mr. Darcy’s palatial estate Pemberley in the 1995 production.

“Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” The Narrator, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 43

When location researchers were scouting the British countryside for the perfect house to use as Pemberley in the 1995 Pride & Prejudice film production, they knew this was the house they had to get right.

Houses on the scale of Pemberley are few and far between. It is supposed to be in Derbyshire which would give it a distinctive northern look, and it has to be very big and set in stunning scenery. Some people think Jane Austen was thinking of Chatsworth as Pemberley, but in fact Chatsworth was referred to in its own right in the novel.” Sam Breckman, P&P 1995 Location Manager

Once the BBC had settled on Lyme Park near Manchester everything looked set to fall into place. But a change of management at Lyme meant that shortly before filming began, the interior was no longer available. So a last minute search began for an interior which would match Lyme – it had to be a house of the same look, age and feel which wouldn’t jar with viewers.  The interior they settled on was miles away at Sudbury Hall, a house which looks very different to Lyme Park from the outside, but had just the elegant interior that Sam Breckman and the production team were looking for. The flow of rooms at Sudbury, and the exquisite long gallery provided the marvellous scenes where the house-keeper leads Lizzy and the Gardiners through Mr Darcy’s home. As the camera follows Lizzy through one elegant room to the next, her heart is melting towards its owner.

“I still haven’t been inside Lyme Park – it would spoil the illusion in my head. Whenever we take people to Lyme I like to believe that the interior is the same as the screen version. In our minds we think we have seen Jennifer Ehle looking out of the windows and seeing the lake – but in fact it’s all down to skilful editing.” Maddy Hall, Production expert & tour guide

For many people, the moment when Lizzy sees Pemberley and its lake, is a highlight of the entire series. She is only half joking when she tells Jane that she fell in love with Darcy when she first saw ‘his beautiful grounds at Pemberley’.

Helen Wilkinson, P and P Tours

P&P Tours visit both locations for Pemberley as part of their tours. Visit their P and P Tours website for further information and bookings details.

8 thoughts on “Austen Film Locations: Pemberley – Pride and Prejudice 1995

  1. The gardens and woods at Lyme Park are simply not to be missed. I could well imagine encountering Lizzy around a bend in the path as she rambled through the woods.

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  2. Lizzy: “And of this place,” thought she, “I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own…”

    Jane: “My dearest sister, now be serious… Let me know everything… without delay. Will you tell me how long you have loved him?”

    Lizzy:”It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.”

    A home fit for our wonderful Elizabeth Bennet!

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  3. Lyme Park is absolutely beautiful–both in and out. Maybe not exactly the same inside as what Sudbury Hall looks like, but I felt D&E spirits there when I was there in college. There is a long hall/gallery there, too and it seemed to work in my imagination even though I knew it wasn’ t the same. :) Didn’t make it to Sudbury (guess that’s another trip), but the grounds of Lyme Park lived up to all of my expectations and more. I also have a great B&B recommendation in Disley if anyone ever needs it. :) Within walking distance to the grounds of Pemberley, er, I mean, Lyme park.

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  4. I love both Lyme Park and Sudbury Hall. Very lucky that both are in close proximity! Was last enjoying the surroundings at Lyme a few weeks ago (and laughing very hard at the Mr Darcy mugs for sale in the gift shop!)

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  5. Pretty disgusting if you ask me. Jane Austen is supposed to be a romantic writer but all you interpretters are making Austen’s E.Bennet to be a gold-digger, lol. She was ‘stunned’, not struck, by the house. Her affections were not reversed by the house, they were only awakened to reconsider. Sure, I’ll give you that it certainly was a condition of hers, being of the Bennet family, not exactly a poverty stricken family, that a potential courter should be a man of means. But still, this was not the hinge on which her entire affection was conditioned. In short, I think the house just opened her eyes to reconsider, but not make her fall in love. :D

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    • Roman Tick: Disgusting? Did you even read the entire post?

      “She is only half joking when she tells Jane that she fell in love with Darcy when she first saw ‘his beautiful grounds at Pemberley’.”

      Honestly, I do not know any Jane Austen interpreters that are making Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet into a gold-digger. The line from Pride and Prejudice was intended as jest. No one takes it seriously, not even scholars.

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