Lyme Hall was originally a remote hunting lodge. In Tudor times a house was built there and this was turned into an Italianate palace by the Venetian architect Leoni in the early 18th Century. It stands in a fine park with commanding views of the Cheshire Plains amongst ornate gardens. The house was once a home of the Legh family - later Lords Newton - who also had large estates in mid-Lancashire.
The Dutch Garden
The house is finely furnished and particularly notable for its Mortlake tapestries, wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons and a collection of English clocks. It offers a memorable glimpse of a genteel and extravagant age and has now become even better known since its use as 'Pemberley' in the BBC production of the Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice. More recently it was used as the big house in the BBC series 'The Village'. It is managed by the National Trust with support from Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council.
Lyme Hall is set in impressive gardens and there is a guide leaflet available to help you make the most of this part of the visit. The Dutch Garden as you see it now was laid out in 1860 as an Italian garden with a variety of schemes using summer bedding plants. Four statues represent the elements of Earth, Fire, Air and Water in the form of cherubs. It is probably called the Dutch Garden after its earlier form when it had a cascade modeled upon that at Chatsworth and a canal pond with fountain.
The Orangery contains some of the plants from the time of the first Lord Newton and his intitials can be seen on the floor. The fountain and much of the planting is modern but a 90 year old fig grows on the back wall and another wall has two Camellias which are thought to be about 175 years old and which are both of rare and so far unidentified species.
A walk to the far side of the South Lake reveals a memorable view of the hall itself reflected in the waters. The view was made famous by the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice in 1995. The lake originally provided the source for the cascade which existed from 1703 to about 1818. At a later stage the lake had a more mundane purpose when the pumphouse was built in 1902 to pump water from the lake to the house in the event of fire.
The Cage - Lyme Park
Lyme Hall is set in a large park famous for its herds of red and fallow deer with miles of walks across moorland and through woodlands. A Historic Buildings Trail guides you around the park buildings and The Cage and Paddock Cottage have special opening times. Lyme Cage was built as a hunting lodge and later used as a lockup for poachers. After years of disuse has been recently restored.
The park contains a childrens' play area and a mountain bike area.