A Guide to Pemberley – Pemberley’s Great Expectations

The rush of opening my emails at work and finding Mr Darcy’s invitation to his Pemberley event, nearly causes a riot when my friend glances over my shoulder and forces me to explain why “Mr Darcy” (who sounds like someone from the Regency Era) is inviting me to an exclusive event at a place called Pemberley. Where is her invite??

“Dearest Friend,
Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy would like to cordially invite you to his most wonderful annual event: A Picnic at Pemberley, held on Saturday September the 10th.”

It’s like my Regency Christmas dreams have all been filled at once. My mind is off and racing with visions of delicate Regency inspired dresses, ornate tea cups, dancing, games, and of course my future husband – Mr Darcy himself!

I think I have some explaining to do..

What is A Picnic at Pemberley?

Mr Darcy’s Picnic at Pemberley is a much loved annual event of the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology and the neighbouring Abbey Church. The gardens surrounding the Abbey Museum are transformed into the picturesque Regency paradise known as the Pemberley Gardens. Mr Darcy (with the help of his event team), is working to raise funds for the Art Gallery Building Fund to house the collection of exquisite art which is currently not displayed at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology. Guests to the Picnic at Pemberley event are invited to:

“Dress in your Regency best and enjoy an afternoon of well-mannered frivolity! Sip tea from the finest china, indulge in a wide selection of homemade Regency treats (with a large variety of Gluten Free treats available). Participate in a variety of diverting activities including croquet, badminton, dancing and maypole dancing!”

The Picnic at Pemberley event costs $33 for an adult and $18.50 for a child, with festivities commencing at 10.00 am. A Regency Dance Workshop is available before the gates to the Picnic at Pemberley event open to the public at 11.30 am and costs a mere $9.90. The Dance Workshop is fun, exciting and literally puts you a step ahead of everyone else when it comes to Regency dances.

dancing pemberley

What can you do at A Picnic at Pemberley?

Before the Nobel Militia conclude and close Pemberley with a gun display at 4.00 pm, there are many delightful Regency pastimes available. Regency games (croquet, battledore, pall mall and the game of graces), lots of dancing (if you’re lucky, with Mr Darcy) and even maypole dancing! Archery is available from 1.00 pm to 4.00 and The Jane Austin Society of Australia is holding a special presentation which gives you an insight into the author and times in which she lived.

Afternoon tea is served at 2.15 pm with wonderfully laid out tables and chairs that are shaded from the sun by beautiful trees. Guests are welcome to bring their own picnic goodies or pick up pre-purchased hampers ($25! what a bargain). The pre-packed and purchased hampers take all the hassle out of preparing food and carrying it around all day (also you get delicious treats). The hampers can be collected from 11.30 am when the event gates open. 

Guests are invited to visit the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology in between the Regency Dance Workshop ending and the hampers/afternoon tea being served. Guests can tour the priceless collection of artifacts on display inside the Museum and view the magnificent Winchester Cathedral Stained Glass which is located in the Abbey Church.

            Maypole12   Food4

All the reviews boast of the Picnic at Pemberley:

“Afternoon tea is divine, with an endless array of gorgeous tea cakes and delicacies on offer, and the museum and historical tour is an extremely pleasant surprise to all who visit the museum.”

“Considering the enormous task of taking dozens of people back in time the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology do just that extremely successfully.”

Getting Ready for Pemberley

Dreaming of the wonderful day ahead at the Picnic at Pemberley, thoughts inevitably fall to the dreaded pre-event question: “But what am I going to wear??”

The Regency Bonnet Making workshop, held on the 27th of August solves this problem easily. The Bonnet Making Workshop features 4 options for bonnets which are made with materials that guests will need to provide (guests are told what they need for each design). The cost of the workshop is $9.90 and runs from 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm. The hardest choice will be “which bonnet should I choose?” And “what colours will match my dress?”

Bonnet Options

So there you have it! A little bit of information on what to expect at the Picnic at Pemberley event at the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology!