Wentworth Woodhouse, the spectacular country house that may have inspired the fictional Darcy estate in Jane Austen’s masterpiece.
Set in 85 acres of land in the West Riding of Yorkshire, northern England, Wentworth Woodhouse is one of the finest examples of 18th-century British architecture—and one of the biggest. At 124,600 square feet, the house made it into the 1966 Guinness World Record as the largest private home in Britain.
Its 606-foot façade is nearly twice as long as Buckingham Palace’s, and the interiors are a magnificent maze spanning several wings, more than 300 rooms and about five miles of corridors. The massive Palladian wing, in particular, has a sequence of State Rooms that wouldn’t look out of place in a Royal palace, from the sculpture-studded Pillared Hall to the heavily gilded Whistlejacket Room and the sumptuous Marble Saloon.
The estate was originally owned by the Wentworth family, who rose to particular importance in the 17th century. The estate still remained at the heart of English political intrigue, having by then passed into the hands of the Watson-Wentworth family, who were influential members of the Whigs party.
It was only the energy and willpower of a London architect, the late Clifford Newbold, who saved Wentworth Woodhouse from complete disrepair. Having bought the property in 1999, he worked tirelessly to restore its interiors, replant the parkland and preserve the estate for the future.