A Jane Austen-inspired trip through the British countryside should be on the bucket list of any literature lover. Below are some of the author’s favourite spots and locations that inspired her famous novels.
The historic city of Bath
Jane Austen lived in the city of Bath for five years from 1801 until 1806 and is considered to be one of the city’s most famous residents. Bath was a desirable and fashionable city in the 1800s and is the setting of two of Austen’s six novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Although the beauty of the city is thought to have inspired many of Austen’s other novels. Bath is a beautiful and elegant city and according to nationalholidays.com, “it is the only city in the UK to be named a World Heritage Site.”
Bath is also home to the Jane Austen Centre which provides walking tours with stops at Jane Austen’s favourite spots in the city. This includes the elegantly decorated Assembly Rooms and the Bath Circus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The centre also offers a beautiful Regency Tea Room that is the perfect place to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea in a picturesque setting. The city’s perfectly preserved Georgian architecture means that many of the streets and landmarks have remained unchanged since Austen’s time there.
Jane Austen’s house
Jane Austen’s house is located in Chawton, a Hampshire village between Winchester and London. She lived in the house for eight years and wrote several of her famous novels while residing there including Emma and Persuasion. It is the only one of Austen’s residences open to the public today.
The house is now Jane Austen's House Museum, a beautiful 17th-century cottage in an idyllic setting. The museum is full of fascinating Regency era possessions and detailed information on Austen’s life. Jane Austen’s house is considered the most treasured Austen site in the world and is a must-see for fans of Pride and Prejudice.
Beautiful beaches at Lyme Regis
Jane Austen is known to have enjoyed regular trips to the beautiful coastal town of Lyme Regis located on the south coast of England. There are letters that Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra, describing her peaceful walks along the seafront in Lyme Regis. Austen also mentioned her love of the area and her experiences there in her novel Persuasion.
Lyme Regis is a picturesque seaside town that is home to the famous 13th century Cobb harbour. The area boasts beautiful sandy beaches, elegant cobbled streets, and terraced gardens. It is one of the most popular coastal resorts in the UK and attracts more than 150,000 visitors a year according to LymeOnline.
Chatsworth House in Derbyshire was Austen’s inspiration behind Mr Darcy’s fictional estate in Pride and Prejudice. Austen was staying in the nearby village of Bakewell while writing the novel and is thought to have been blown away by the beauty of the estate. Most of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (1995), was filmed on the Chatsworth Estate.
You can visit Chatsworth House and explore the property’s 30 luxurious rooms, stroll around the 105-acre garden or view the estate’s private art collection featuring high-end artworks. Chatsworth also offers an indulgent afternoon tea that is perfect for special occasions. You can visit the Chatsworth House website to book afternoon tea at the estate.
St Nicholas' Church
St Nicholas' Church in Steventon is where Jane Austen and her family attended weekly mass services when she was a child. The quaint mottled stone church is believed to have inspired many of the wedding scenes described in Austen’s novels. Austen lived in Steventon for the first 25 years of her life, during which time she wrote the most of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey.
To honour the Jane Austen heritage, villagers meet and greet many visitors to the church and encourage local community involvement. In 2017, church and village marked the 200th anniversary of her death by organising a festival of various events to raise money for the church.
These famous spots should be visited by any Jane Austen fan. Well-known landmarks from Jane Austen’s life have brought in a substantial amount of tourism. The beauty of the English countryside and cities like Bath have inspired many of Jane Austen’s novels and made people fall in love with Regency-era Britain. Start planning your Jane Austen-inspired journey around England!
If you're thinking about taking Meghan's advice and visiting a few Austen-related sites then we have great news for you - the Jane Austen Centre is open now! Click here to get your tickets.