Cultures and traditions converge in the United Kingdom. Explore the amalgamation of old and new.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any fan of Jane Austen’s work is fully enamored with the world and the characters she created in her books. Throughout her life, Jane wrote six novels that have inspired countless adaptations, pop culture references, and re-interpretations—the most beloved of her works being “Pride and Prejudice.” You could even say Jane, alive from 1775 to 1817, still has a cult following to this day. Journey into the world of Jane Austen through the page and the screen. Her home and her inspirations, even the former filming locations to adaptations of her work, welcome all. Experience first-hand what Elizabeth Bennet must have felt when she first laid eyes on Pemberley; take a picnic out on Box Hill with friends; and perhaps the best of all, see the quaint country home where Jane spent her last eight years and had her most productive days as a writer. Who knows? Maybe somewhere along the way, you’ll even find your Mr. Darcy! (Though truth be told we’d happily accept an Alex Knightley, Henry Tilney, or Edward Ferrars—any of the good Austen men, really.)
Pemberley was brought to life in the 1995 BBC adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.” Lyme Park is the lovely estate that stood as Austen’s Pemberley on-screen. The south pond is exactly where Fitzwilliam Darcy, played by Colin Firth, emerged from a little swim. It was a spontaneous and intimate moment that contrasted with Mr. Darcy’s usually rigid public persona, and in a twist of fate, Elizabeth was there to catch it. The iconic scene became BBC’s contribution to Austen canon, which obviously won the hearts of many loyal fans. Lyme Park is open to the public for both outdoor excursions and Austen-appreciation. Explore the Edwardian rose garden and its stunning landscape; or dive deep into another era inside the stately home.
Disley, Stockport, Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
Another famous Pemberley, from the 2005 film adaptation is Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Elizabeth rides up the magnificent estate and “her spirits [are] in high a flutter.” Jane Austen actually mentions Chatsworth House in the book, and it is believed that Chatsworth was what she had in mind when she imagined Pemberley. Just like Elizabeth, fall in love with all the beauty Chatsworth possesses. Take part in daily tours, bring the kids to the playground, or have some afternoon tea. Paintings, sculptures, and ornaments also dot every corner of the house, so feel free to marvel at each piece that’s been collected through a long history stretching as far back as 1549.More details
Regardless of disapproving aunts, embarrassing family members, and social circumstance, Mr. Darcy still fell head-first in love with Lizzie. He even brought out several of those points in a shocking proposal, which is probably why he was turned down. In the movie, actors Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley ran through the pouring rain to the Temple of Apollo at the Stourhead Landscape Gardens. The scenic views are perfect for a romantic stroll or even a Austen-inspired proposal—just learn from Mr. Darcy’s mistakes and you should be fine. Imagine hearing or saying these words: “In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
One of the most memorable scenes that set the 2005 film apart is of Keira Knightley looking out onto the world from the edge of a rocky cliff. The wild wind whips her hair around while dramatic music plays in. Stanage Edge is popular among rock climbers and hikers at all levels of experience. The highest points look out to the sprawling moors of Derbyshire, so take a few photos in the spot where Elizabeth stood when she was doing some soul-searching of her own. Be careful, though, the drop is pretty high and the winds are strong—the Austen men should be the only ones sweeping you off your feet!
Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
Lady Catherine de Bourgh was a fierce woman who raged against Elizabeth when she thought she heard wedding bells in the air. She did not approve of Elizabeth, but by all other accounts, Lady Catherine was a woman of impeccable taste. Rosings Park is written to be luxurious and elegant, prided to be a model home in its time. Belton House boasts the honor of playing this role in BBC’s adaptation of the show. Belton House has its own history and is considered a prime example of English country houses. The house is completely furnished and its gardens lush with life. Spend a day just taking in the beautiful country views, and maybe catch a special play or film festival—the National Trust is always up to something.
Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Step into the Bennet House, Longbourn manor, at the Groombridge Place in Kent. During production of the movie, the five Bennet sisters were brought to explore and play in the house. It all just clicked. The house is surrounded by a moat and gardens, perfect for our heroine Elizabeth who loved the nature. You can almost picture her, walking around with a book in hand and inches of mud caking at the hem of her dress. The estate is open to visitors, and they’ve added various outdoor attractions for all ages. Treetop Walkways, a Giant Swing, and wooden ship playground (called Crusoe’s World) will keep the kids busy. Meanwhile, romantics can take full advantage of the gardens since wedding bookings are also entertained here. After all, Longbourn was where our dear Lizzie and Mr. Darcy finally confessed their love for each other one early morning.
Groombridge Hill, Groombridge, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, United Kingdom
All of Jane’s major works passed the walnut table in her Chawton, Hampshire home. It was here that she wrote “Emma,” “Persuasion,” and “Mansfield Park;” and where she revised “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Northanger Abbey.” Jane wrote at the little table every day, scribbling furiously away with a quill and homemade ink. Wander through Jane’s quaint country home where various exhibits give an intimate peek into her life. The dinner table is set, the beds are made with fresh cotton sheets, and the kitchen is ready for a great meal. It is as if at any moment, Jane could walk in and welcome you to her home. Letters, first editions to Jane’s books, and her last unfinished manuscript “Sanditon” are all on exhibit at the Jane Austen’s House Museum for a one-of-a-kind encounter with the beloved novelist.
Winchester Road, Chawton, Alton, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Before Jane moved to Chawton, she lived in Bath. The Austen family’s lives were much different in Bath from their quiet country life in Chawton. The Jane Austen Centre brings those years to life through exhibits, talks, and experiences. Dress up like an Austen heroine in an empire-waist, puffy-sleeved gown, white gloves, and elegant bonnet, practice your social graces at afternoon tea in the Regency Tea Room; or play a few Regency parlour games! All these are what make up The Jane Austen Experience at the center. The city was a fashionable place to be and be seen, attracting the aristocrats of her time. The abundance of balls, assemblies, and social obligations kept Jane busy. She didn’t get much writing done, but the resort town did inspire her for the rest of her life. Jane gives an honorable mention to Bath in all her novels, most especially in “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey.”
40 Gay Street, Queen Square, Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
While in Bath, drop by on a few true-to-life places that made their way into Jane’s novels and were even used for the BBC’s screen adaptations. The beautiful Georgian-style halls of Bath Assembly Rooms (also known as the Upper Rooms) were always busy with concerts, dances, and card games. Dancing, as we known from Jane Austen’s work, sparked romance and encourage courtships. Women out in society mingled and preened in their most dazzling clothes—an extensive collection is even on display in the Bath Fashion Museum on the lower ground floor. Catherine Morland, the wide-eyed heroine of “Northanger Abbey,” first encounters Bath society in the Upper Rooms. She spends a disappointing night with her aunt, because they were not “acquainted” with anyone at the party. Unfazed, she tries once more in the now-lost Lower Rooms, and meets Henry Tilney. They hit it off on the dance floor, becoming fast friends.
Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
The day after Catherine meets Mr. Tilney, she eagerly comes to the Grand Pump Room in the hopes of seeing him again. In Jane’s words, “Every creature in Bath, except himself, was to be seen in the room at different periods of the fashionable hours…” The Grand Pump Room was another popular spot to socialize. The Roman Baths next door have been used for its natural hot waters since around 70 AD. In Jane Austen’s time, people came to drink from the warm mineral waters that flowed from the Pump Room fountain. In autumn of 2017, the Jane Austen Festival honored “Northanger Abbey.” Festival-goers were inspired by the gothic novels Catherine loved, so a special Masked Ball was held in the Pump Rooms. Catch a schedule of this year’s festivities on their website. Otherwise, the Pump Room is still a lovely spot for afternoon tea or a lunch date.
Abbey Chambers, Church Street, Avon, Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom
Cultures and traditions converge in the United Kingdom. Explore the amalgamation of old and new.
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