Following in Jane Austen’s Footsteps: The Dining Room & Butler’s Pantry at Goodnestone Park

Welcome to the 565th Tablescape Thursday!

It’s almost 1 AM as I write this. We returned much later than planned from our dinner at Stanford’s Cottage in Worthing, the cottage where Jane Austen’s family stayed during their vacations on the Sussex coast.

In the two days we’ve been touring, there haven’t been any blog-worthy table settings, well, at least not any in places where I was allowed to take photos, but we did see a wonderful dining room today when we visited beautiful Goodnestone Park.

Goodnestone Park House, Kent

Photo from Goodnestone Park Website

You may remember this trip/tour to England is a “literary” tour following in the footsteps of Jane Austen with other interesting literary-themed stops along the way. The reason we visited Goodnestone today is because Jane was often a guest at Goodnestone Park after her brother married into the family in 1791.

Jane Austen

His wedding was part of a double wedding in the home that day. The wedding, the home, it’s beautiful gardens and the festive parties that took place there, all provided tremendous inspiration for Jane in the writing of her much-loved novel, Pride and Prejudice. It was truly exciting to stand in rooms where we knew Jane had once stood, to visit gardens and overlook beautiful vistas Jane, herself, once admired.

A little bit of history about Goodnestone from the Goodnestone Park website:

Goodnestone Park was built by the Bridges family in 1704. Its early history was populated by multiple Sir Brook Bridges, one of whom married an ancestor of the current Lord FitzWalter in 1756. Dating back to the Norman Conquest, the venerable FitzWalter barony is the third oldest surviving title in the English peerage.

The House itself has undergone remarkable change since it was first built in the early 1700s; initially a brick double-pile house, with two storeys above a basement, Sir Brook Bridges 3rd Baronet remodeled the house, adding a third storey. During the Victorian era, the 5th baronet made the back of the house the front, adding a neo-classical Doric portico on the west façade.

Even though I don’t have a table setting to share this week, I thought I’d share the next best thing, the beautiful dining room and Butler’s Pantry at Goodnestone. I hope to share additional photos of this beautiful home later.

When you step into the dining room, the first thing that catches your eye is the beautiful wallpaper. It’s ornate but in a soft, understated way since it’s hand-painted in soft colors of green, white, black and other neutral colors.

Goodnestone Park House Dining Room


This isn’t your average, ordinary wallpaper with a typical repeating pattern. The wallpaper is handpainted, bespoke de Gournay, and features beautiful scenes reminiscent of the gardens surrounding the home.

Dining Room at Goodnestone Park House


As you walk around the room, the scene is always changing, giving you the feeling you’re taking a lovely stroll through the gardens. I found it completely enchanting!

Hand-Painted Wallpaper, Goodnestone Park House


Since the pattern in the wallpaper doesn’t repeat, it makes the room feel even larger than it already is. I took a few photos of some of my favorite scenes.

Hand Painted Wallpaper, Goodnestone Park House


After seeing this style wallpaper in person, it would be hard to go back to regular wallpaper with a constant, repeating pattern. This is just sooo much better!

Goodnestone Park House Dining Room, Hand-painted Wallpaper


There were several features in the room that are original to the home including the oak flooring, an original pair of sycamore and sabicu wood commodes and a mahogany sideboard that belonged to the ancestors of the current Lord FitzWalter.

The banquet-size table seats 24 and was made by a British furniture designer and manufacturer Alastair Murray.

Goodnestone Park House Dining Room


The fireplace is an intricately carved, rococo marble fireplace and the dining table was originally commissioned by the current Lord FitzWalter, Julian Plumptre and his wife, Sally who were intimately involved in the renovation of the house.

They felt it was important that the house retained its historical character and as many original artifacts as possible while being “furnished to the highest standard to provide an extravagant countryside retreat for guests,” per the Goodnestone Park website.

Dining Room at Goodnestone Park House


Just off the dining room was a large Butler’s Pantry. I only snapped one photo since our group was moving on for the rest of the tour, but the room is much larger than this one photo shows. This was the prettiest side to me, I loved all the built-in cabinetry and dish storage.

Butler's Pantry, Goodnestone Park Home in Kent


There’s so much I want to share but it’s 1:38 AM and I have to be dressed, packed and down to breakfast by 7:45 AM so I’ll make myself stop here.

Goodnestone Home, Goodnestone Park


I took this photo of the home as we were walking toward it. It’s actually the back of the home. The entry vestibule and the porch with columns was added at a later date completely changing the look of the back of the home.

I can’t wait to share some of the lovely cottages and gardens we’re seeing. I’ll share as many as I can (wifi allowing) on Instagram, so be sure to visit Between Naps On The Porch there each day for new postings.  Follow Between Naps on the Porch on Instagram here: Between Naps On The Porch on Instagram .

Looking forward to the beautiful tables shared for this week’s Tablescape Thursday!

Tablescape Thursday

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  1. Susan, the DR wallpaper is beautiful! My parents had a wallpaper “mural” on the largest wall in their LR, about 8 panels, showing a European coastline with villas up the mountainside. Done in a sort of line drawing style, off-white background with just shades of green, tomato red, and light blue. Very popular in 60’s ranches. I loved it growing up. And this armchair traveller loves your trips!

  2. So lovely! How I wish I had a dining table and room to accomodate seating even 12! I, too, love that wallpaper. I can’t wait to see your blog posts and instagram posts!

  3. My goodness, food would get could waiting for everyone to be served here. Never mind—pass the potatoes, lol. Gorgeous table and lovely wallpaper–amazing that it is so well preserved.

  4. Michele M. says

    Oh WOW!!!! That is so amazing! Thanks for sharing and taking us on the journey with you, Susan. I would so love to do a tour such as that.

    Anticipating more – thank you!

  5. That wall paper is beautiful. I would love to have that pantry. We seat 12 and I don’t feel so bad that all our chairs are not the same style.

  6. This is quite a coincidence. I rented a flat in Worthing and will be there August 20-27 visiting an old boss of mine who retired there from Derby. Then on to London.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a butler’s pantry like that? Does anyone ever have enough storage? Loved the wallpaper and that dining table!

  7. Nuala Raftery says

    My godson had his wedding in Goodnestone House three years ago and we stayed in the house for three days. Not only have I seen a table setting in the dining room, I’ve eaten at that table! It was a wonderful experience to sit in the drawing room in the evenings and realise that Jane Austen had sat by that fire and spent her evenings there with her family.

  8. Goodnestone looks like a dolls house. 🙂 Really like the Butler’s pantry.

  9. Thanks so much for hosting the party while on vacation and several time zones away! I love it when the houses/castles I visit have set their tables. Great inspiration!

  10. Jean-Marie says

    I, too, grew up in a house with a mural wallpaper. My parents had 6 kids in 9 years so didn’t have the money to remove it so they left it. The room seemed huge to me. I was in grade school for the 5 years we were in that house. The baby grand (that they bought used) wouldn’t fit in the living room so it went into the dining room which made it seem very grand. Years later my sister & I knocked on the door and got a tour. The wallpaper mural was still there as the new owner consulted a designer and was told NOT to remove it as it was worth tens of thousands. It was so cool to see it again! BTW, the claw foot tub we soaked in was still in the 3rd floor bathroom!

  11. Great vacation Susan ! Love the kitchen and the set table. Enjoy it to its fullest.
    Thank you for hosting for us even from afar.
    Have fun !

  12. Chip Herin says

    From Oakwood, Ohio, we hope you are having a blast on your trip. The Herin Family wishes you godspeed and safe travels!


    Nancy, Chip, Court, and Charlie

  13. This sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks for taking us along with you. Great info about the plane seats. Looking forward to hearing more about it. Hope you slept well.

  14. Ttek on!! franki

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