Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Secrets of Hampton Court, Althorp and Chatsworth on PBS

Secrets of Henry VIII's Palace, (specifically Hampton Court Palace) begins the "Secrets Of" series this Sunday June 30th at 8pm on PBS. You will be well entertained by the fascinating stories of this amazing structure whether you have never heard of it before, or you have been lucky enough to see it in person.

In Tudor times, Hampton Court used to be in the country, and although it doesn't come across in the show, the front Tudor/Henry VIII part of the palace faces a busy London road while the back William & Mary/Dutch style later part of the palace backs out onto a gorgeous countryside, with nary a building in sight.

It is almost as if you have stepped through a portal in a time travel film and been transported to another era. The fact that it is only a 35 minute train ride from Waterloo station in central London makes it even more amazing. If you ever get to London, you'll want to fit this in. But in the meantime, spend an hour with PBS. They did a great job of bringing the history to life!

And remember:

Divorced, beheaded and died
Divorced, beheaded, survived
I'm Henry the Eighth, I had six sorry wives
Some might say I ruined their lives.


Now I have to be honest, I have never been a fan of Princess Diana's brother Charles, now the 9th Earl Spencer. He does, however, own a truly awesome house, Althorp.

I have never been to Althorp, possibly because the whole burying Diana on the island thing rather turned me off. But I am curious enough about the estate and it's history to watch Secrets of Althorp on Sunday July 7. I haven't had a chance to preview this episode, but if it is as good as the first one, it will be well worth watching.


Now if you get me talking about Chatsworth, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, this will be a very long post. Suffice it to say that this was included in my Pride and Prejudice tour of the North of England on which I dragged The Squire (my long suffering hubby).

Does this photo evoke Pride and Prejudice 2005 for you? It sure does for me. And they kept the Darcy sculpture, although they put it in a different part of the house!

If you saw the film The Duchess you will have already seen much of Chatsworth and part of it's rich history will be known to you. But as fascinating as Georgiana's story was (and by the way, she was a Spencer and started her life at Althorp), that is only a small part of the saga of Chatsworth.

So you'll have to watch the final episode, Secrets of Chatsworth on Sunday July 14th to find out the rest of the story. I'll be glued to the tube that night too. I love Chatsworth. I mean, just look at that view of Derbyshire!!!


Update: Check local listings as apparently PBS is not showing it on all of it's affiliate stations. I hate it when they do that, but the Hampton Court episode is available online and the others will be available after the air date for US viewers:

I have been able to watch all of them now. If you are a Diana fan you will like the Althorp episode, but her brother really does creep me out. (And he thought the show was all about him, not the house!) However, the Chatsworth one was wonderful and I learned a few things I didn't know which made me want to go back to Chatsworth again. Derbyshire really is a wonderful county, if you know what I mean! ;)


  1. I am ridiculously excited about watching this.

    Also, THANK YOU. I've never liked Charles either but it felt wrong to admit that. He gives me major creep vibe!!! He is like a pale Norman Bates!!!

    1. NOT ON!!! Repeat of Hammerstein. Very disappointed.

    2. Reply to Anonymous (not sure if it was Bridget who posted this one). So sorry that your PBS station was bone headed enough not to air this one. I usually remember to add "check local listings" but because my Buffalo station had it, and it is usually one that doesn't, it slipped my mind. If you are lucky enough to be in the US, it is on the PBS website here:

      Sorry I didn't get back to you right away. I was away from all computers celebrating Canada Day weekend. I hope this helps!

  2. Thanks Jenny. A very timely post for me. My family and I are going on our first trip to London and then Paris. I only have 2 1/2 days in each city before heading to Portugal to visit my family, and the first stop on my list is Hampton court!

    Any other must see places? The Jane Austen tour must wait for a different trip...sigh...

    1. Hi Olga! Ooooh, you will love Hampton Court. What ages are the family you are going with? I loved the British Museum and it's free! Apparently there is some cool stuff going on at Buckingham Palace. I have never been inside it, but that would be amazing. If you are pressed for time, some of the organized tours are great and will let you skip line-ups for the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey etc. I also love the National Gallery for some amazing paintings (also free, air conditioned and has a great cafe for a quick bite).
      I hope you are there when Will and Kate have their baby. That would be soooo cool!
      Oh, I also thought the Millenium Wheel was worth the money, but I would do that towards the end so you can spot all the places you have been.
      Cheers and have a great trip!

  3. Dear Jenny, I am delighted to see these photos on Chatsworth!
    It is there that we are going to go in 2014 to celebrate our 30 years of marriage. I look forward to...
    thank you for this...

    1. Hello Muriel. How wonderful you are going to celebrate your anniversary to Chatsworth. Are you seeing other things in England also?

      I really love the view from the top of the cascade at Chatsworth (the last photo). It is so gorgeous. Sigh!

  4. Saw this few weeks ago. Just loved that Mr Spencer was so in love with his heritage and home. He would be on one of my lists of people I want to talk to. The history he knows would be fascinating. Thank you for opening your home and property. Very admirable.




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