If you’ve ever wanted to dive into the same pool as Mr Darcy in the 1995 movie-adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, now’s your chance. Chatsworth, which doubled as the fictional Pemberley in the film, is as stunning IRL as it is on the screen. Art buffs will be dying to explore inside the house and garden, which are festooned with artwork and antiques; the current residents, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, are avid collectors of contemporary art.
Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, United Kingdom, +44 (0)1246 565 300
If you’re after spectacular interiors … and the gateway to Hell in the mouth of the cat … step right into Burghley House. Stately homes don’t get more lavish than this—there are more than 35 rooms in the main area, which are decorated with opulent furniture and thick, lavish textiles. Burghley House, however, is most famous for the hell staircase. The ceiling was painter Antonio Verrio’s as last commission of many at the estate, and it depicts the mouth of Hell as the huge gaping mouth of a cat, with tormented souls tumbling out and suffering within.
Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom, +44 (01) 7807 52451
This one’s for the ghost hunters and historians, though not for those who scare easily. It is said that Anne Boleyn’s headless ghost arrives at Blickling on the anniversary of her death every year in a carriage driven by a headless coachman. It is possible that Boleyn was born at Blickling, which now houses a statue and many portraits of the former queen. There’s plenty here for literary enthusiasts, too, with one of the country’s most valuable collection of books and manuscripts. There are also cycling and walking paths that amble through the 500-acre wood and parkland. After all that history and exercise, treat yourself to a pint in the house’s very own pub.
Blickling Estate, Blickling, Norwich, United Kingdom, +44 0344 800 1895