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Lyme Park, House and Gardens in Cheshire

Posted by Luci Ackers on 6 October 2016
Related property: Blore Hall
Lyme Park, House and Gardens in Cheshire

Lyme Park is a stunning National Trust property nestled on the edge of the Peak District.

Dating from the late 16th century, the large manor house has seen a number of owners and witnessed architectural alterations spanning a range of time periods. A lot of the lavish interiors evoke the Edwardian age, while the exterior east front of the building is more Elizabethan in style. Perhaps the most iconic aspect of this striking manor, however, is the south front...

This glorious view has become well known amongst Jane Austen fans. You may recognise this famous aspect from the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice when Lyme Park featured as Mr. Darcy's dramatic home Pemberley in Derbyshire. (That famous scene when Colin Firth goes swimming in the lake? That was here.)

A little bit of history

The estate was home to the Legh family from 1388, when it came to Piers Legh via marriage, right through to 1946 when it was passed into the care of the National Trust. When the Leghs of Lyme first came to the the estate it looked very different and the house that stood there was demolished during the lifetime of Piers Legh VII in the middle of the 16th century. Remnants of what was to become the new building are still in place today. Alterations and expansion was inevitable and the esteemed Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni remodelled a number of areas including the Entrance Hall in the early 1700s. That stunning south front is also his work and displays qualities of both the Palladian and Baroque styles with its clean symmetry, 15 bay windows and portico.

What to see

Off the Entrance Hall you'll find the earlier Elizabethan Drawing Room which escaped Leoni's remodelling and the furniture throughout the house is predominately dated from the second half of the 18th century when Piers Legh XIII purchased it. Another round of remodelling took place in the early 19th century by Thomas Legh, so as you wander this incredible place you'll see how the entire building has been coloured by a range of time periods, and just how beautiful and unique it is because of that.

You can visit the house for £8 (with gift aid) if you are not a member of the National Trust and explore the different areas for yourself.

Help youngsters understand the history of the building by taking them to the wardrobe department. They'll love dressing up as lords and ladies as you step back in time to the Edwardian era when Lyme was in its heyday. If you fancy yourself a musician why not try out the piano while you're here? Admire the lovely collection of English clocks, or visit the extensive book collection in the library. Some of them are from the 16th century!

The gardens

You can combine a ticket and go to visit the gardens too. Or if you prefer to be outside, why not get a gardens only ticket? They are £7 (with gift aid) if you are not a member of the National Trust.

The formal gardens are very stunning. At 17 acres, they span out from the house, where they have been chiseled over time from the surrounding trees and moorland. They blend seamlessly from sculptured formal gardens, to the 1,400-acre deer park to the outlying countryside. This gives visitors a range of different areas to discover, and a little something for everyone to enjoy.

Of the formal gardens there is an exquisite rose garden that was originally created in the early 1900s by the 2nd Lord and Lady Newton, and still stays true to its Edwardian design. The couple made a lot of changes that are still evident today. This rose garden is beautiful and fragrant in the summer, peaceful and still in the winter; a lovely place to sit and enjoy the views year round.

Don't forget to wander down to the famous reflection lake or you could venture further afield if you want a bit of a longer walk. The estate is a huge 1,400 acres and the deer park is home to a medieval herd of red deer as well as a lovely selection of walks. Take a look at suggested routes here.

If it's holiday or weekend fun you're after, children can let off steam in the Crow Wood Playscape. There is a giant slide, badger den, rope walks, high-level walkway and a treehouse! They'll have lots of fun!

If you are suitably exhausted after that, you can make a day of it by visiting one of the many estate eateries. The Timber Yard Cafe was once the joiners workshop, back in the Edwardian days and sells hot drinks and snacks. There is also an Edwardian Ale Cellar-turned-restaurant in a very unique position, and an ice cream parlour that was previously living quarters for the RAF. So even as you're enjoying lunch you can experience Lyme's history.

Remember to check opening times before you set off as they do change, and there are different things to see throughout the year.

Have a look at the website here.


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Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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