Almost everyone in the UK has read a Jane Austen novel (even if it was part of the syllabus) watched a film adaption, or heard of her famous characters. Now it is time to celebrate 200 years since the famed author’s death, with a guide to the best Jane Austen trips. Are you more Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility? Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey? Or perhaps Emma? Make a pilgrimage to the literary icons places of interest with the help of our guide.
The Best Jane Austen Trips in the UK
Jane Austen’s Home in Hampshire
As Jane’s birthplace, final resting place and the county in which she spent her most prolific writing years including the penning of her first novel, Sense and Sensibility; Hampshire is a major focal point for Jane Austen fans.
Visit: Start your trip at Jane Austen’s House Museum (her former home) and Chawton House Library, where special events in the past have included regency-style music, dining, drama, talks, workshops and guided walks and tours as well as Victorian cricket and a Regency Ball where you could find your own Mr Darcy.
Stay: Oakley Hall Hotel is a luxury 50 bedroom hotel (bed and breakfast from £134 per night), which Jane visited frequently in its guise as Oakley Hall. Or enjoy a novel escape at Tylney Hall, which occasionally offers special packages including breakfast, afternoon tea and entry to the Jane Austen House museum.
The South West city of Bath is a historic place to get to know Jane Austen, where she lived between 1801 and 1806, and her novels. The city’s perfectly preserved Georgian architecture remains unchanged from the streets depicted in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
Visit: Step back in time with a free downloadable audio walking tour of the city ‘In the footsteps of Jane Austen’, that includes extracts from her novels and letters, which brilliantly describe Bath as it would have been in its Georgian heyday. Stop by the Jane Austen Centre, located in a Georgian townhouse just a few doors down from where she once lived and home to an exhibition of costumes, manuscripts, and film clips to bring the author’s world to life and explore the city’s influence on her work, as well as the all-important Regency Tea Rooms (£11 per adult and £5.50 per child).
You can even stay at the Jane Austen’s Residence at 4 Sydney Place, the author’s former home which has now been transformed into four luxury apartments, each sleeping 2-4 guests. Each is named after an Austen character (join the queue for Mr Darcy’s second-floor apartment). The entire house can be rented exclusively and sleeps up to 14. Apartments from £179 per night for a midweek stay.
More commonly recognisable now as Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle actually has connections with Jane Austen herself, who visited the Lord Carnarvon-owned grounds and wrote of her time in a letter to Cassandra Austen in 1800. North Wessex Downs AONB, Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RN. For more info and to plan your trip click here.
Austen is known to have visited and loved Lyme Regis from her letters to her sister Cassandra where she described walking on the Cobb. Her last novel Persuasion was set in the Dorset seaside town. Literary Lyme offers a wealth of guided walking tours of Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast to help you follow in the footsteps of the literary icon (90-minute tours cost from £10 per person). Don’t miss Mark Hix’s Hix Oyster & Fish House for some sustenance.
Stourhead for Pride & Prejudice tour
The Keira Knightley film production of Pride and Prejudice features the 18th-century landscaped garden, Stourhead. The Temple of Apollo (above), set above the tranquil lake, was used as the location for Mr Darcy’s first and futile proposal to Lizzie. The classical temples and stunning views are all courtesy of Henry ‘the Magnificent’ – one of a small group of early 18th Century ‘gentleman gardeners’ created the gardens at Stourhead with his architect Henry Flitcroft. Re-enact the scenes, or simply enjoy a lovely walk around the gardens.
Austen said there is ‘no finer county in England than Derbyshire’, so it’s fitting that the region has featured widely in Jane Austen film adaptations. Chatsworth House was used as the location for Pemberley, the residence of Mr Darcy in the filming of Pride and Prejudice in the 2005 Keira Knightley film adaptation of the book and the beloved 1995 television series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. It is believed that Jane Austen based her idea of Pemberley on Chatsworth House, as she wrote her novel while in nearby Bakewell (of cherry and almond tarts fame).
Stay: It’s worth making a trip up to Derbyshire to see the house and their gorgeous gardens, so why not stay at one of our nearby Great British & Irish Hotels?