About Lyme Park
The Lyme Park estate served as the seat of the Legh family for 600 years, and their picturesque and striking family home serves as the focal point of Lyme Park.
Margaret Legh came into possession of the parkland in the 14th century after her father, Sir Thomas Danyers, was rewarded for his exploits during the Battle of Crecy. Sir Thomas served alongside the Black Prince, and gained recognition for rescuing the Black Prince’s standard and taking the Chamberlain of the French king prisoner. However, though a previous house stood on the site, it was not until the 16th century that significant development of the house we see today began to take place and the original seat of the Legh family would have initially been a rather more modest affair.
Sir Piers Legh began the development of Lyme Hall but it was the early 18th century work of the famed Venetian architect, Giacomo Leoni, who transformed the mansion into something akin to what we see it today. Leoni transformed the mansion into a design inspired by a Palladian palace.
Perhaps the most notable aspects of Leoni’s work are the Ionic portico, which is considered the finest example of Palladian architecture still surviving in England today, and the magnificent Italian courtyard. Leoni also added the towers to the ‘curious building’ which formerly served as a viewing area when a hunt was taking place.
Today, Lyme Hall showcases the varied and often notable lives of the Legh family through the 600 years in which they occupied Lyme Park. Sir Peter Legh, for example, served at Agincourt, while his son, also Sir Peter, fought on the Yorkist side during the War of the Roses. Sir Thomas Legh was a notable explorer and Egyptologist in the 19th Century, and the family also included numerous politicians.
Visitors can explore a mansion that has been lavishly decorated, which contains among other things Mortlake tapestries, woodcarvings and an exhibit examining English clocks. There is a beautiful Dutch garden and ‘reflection’ lake, and visitors can walk through vast moorland, which hosts a deer park, and also the ‘curious building on the hill’ which has featured in the BBC film, The Awakening.
Fans of the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice will recognise Lyme Park as the location of Mr Darcy’s Pemberley estate, and the lake as the setting for his famous dip.
There is a playscape which will keep children entertained, as well as a programme of summer events for children.
Contributed by Chris Reid