Written in September 2022
Jane Austen is one of the best-known English writers whose books are still loved by many fans, 200 years later. Although their novels are basically love stories, they are timeless as they describe with utmost accuracy the society of her time (which is not that different from today’s society, with the necessary adaptations). Born in 1775, she lived all her life in Hampshire, South England, except for eight excruciating years when she was forced to live in Bath. Her stories revolve around land owners, some wealthier than others, their relationships, and the expectations society had on them.
Jane Austen’s characters travel in carriages and horseback. Nowadays that is extremely difficult. So, the best way to travel in this case is by car or by train. If you choose to rent a car, remember that in England they drive on the left, so everything is in reverse. The train network was built to reach all places in a practical way – you can check itinaries and timetables at the National Rails Enquires .
South EnglandIf you are a fan of Jane Austen, the first place to go is the house where Jane Austen lived during her last eight years and wrote most of her work, which is now a Museum, located in Chawton, Hampshire, 85 km southwest of London. Check here all information about it and how to get there .
From there, you can travel through the countryside to visit stately homes, houses that belong or used to belong to aristocratic families, and villages with their cottages and churches. There is plenty to choose from. Here is a possible route:
- The Grange at Northington
- Hinton Ampner House
- Broadlands Park
- Stansted Park
- Arundel Castle
- Royal Pavilion
- Knepp Castle
- Uppark House
- Gilbert White’s House
- The Vyne
- Stratfield Saye House
Bath and the Somerset region
Like mentioned above, Jane Austen spent eight years in Bath, Somerset, and a lot happens there to her characters. Fans can visit the Jane Austen Centre that has much information about the writer and the Regency era.Since Roman times, the thermal waters (hence the name) are famous for therapeutically reasons. The Roman Baths are very well-preserved and it is possible to visit them and imagine how life was like back then.
Many years later, during the 18th century, Bath was greatly developed according to a specific plan that aimed to turn this Hot Springs city into a place of social gatherings, where balls and other entertainments were abundant, competing at some level with the London season. Indeed, land owners and their families could spent the “season” (meaning winter time) in Bath or/and in London to have fun.Royal Crescent is a massive and beautiful example of the luxurious apartments that could be enjoyed when living there for a short period. No. 1 is open for visiting and it is furnished and ready to be inhabited. When doing a guide tour, you get to know details about how life would be like for people who would live there at that time. After that, you can have a wonderful afternoon tea in the Pump Room and imagine you are one of those 18th century dwellers. Also, be sure to eat one of the famous and delicious buns in Sally Lunn , an eating house that is open since 1622.
There are plenty of other interesting sites to visit, in and outside the city. Due to its historical importance, Bath became a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2021.
Somerset is a beautiful region and also a place of some of Jane Austen’s novels. To complete a visit to Bath and to the Hampshire, here is a possible itinerary:
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