Visiting places that have inspired those who inspire you through their timeless work is a joy unknown to many. Don’t be one of those and go explore these locations that inspired Jane Austen and her works. By Tara Choudhary
From Hogwarts to The Secret Garden, many great novelists have found inspiration in the UK. It is bursting with literary locations for various UK-based authors have lived and grown up there. One such author was Jane Austen, who depicted English middle-class life in her novels and transports her reader back to the early 19th century even today. From places where Austen lived and wrote her novels, to beautiful locations mentioned within them, to settings used in the film adaptations of her books, the following places are treasure troves for the keen Janeite to visit on their trip to the UK.
1. Saltram House, Plymouth
This location is home to the Dashwood family in the 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Being such a picturesque location, it was even more upsetting to see the family leave this house in the film. The beautiful Saltram House in Plymouth is a must-visit for any Jane Austen fan, where their imagination of the Dashwood home will come to life and a collection of letters written by Austen herself awaits.
2. Bath, Somerset
The reason we shortlisted a whole city for this second location is that, Bath was Jane Austen’s home from 1801 to 1806, where she has set two very popular novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. This entire city is bustling with Austen-themed cafes, bookstores and houses the famous Jane Austen Centre, where you’ll have access to an exhibition about the author, or a chance to dress up in Regency-era costumes and pretend you are one of the characters looking out over the picturesque city. Bath has to be on the to-do list for any die-hard Austen fan as it offers a complete cultural immersion into the mind and world of Jane Austen.
3. Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, Hampshire
This one is kind of an obvious find on a list like this, without which any Jane Austen tour would be incomplete. No real fan can go to the UK and not visit the lovely cottage Austen spent most of her years at, writing and living her everyday life. It is full of personal artefacts that have been preserved and is also right next door to Chawton House Library, which has a whole area dedicated just to early women’s writing.
4. Box Hill, Surrey
This beautiful, sprawling location is the setting for the infamous picnic Emma and Knightley have in Austen’s novel Emma. More than anything, Box Hill is perfect for a long walk in the summer and possibly a picnic of your own, with or without your copy of Emma to bring back the memories of this picture-perfect spot.
This location is home to what is possibly Austen’s most popular novel, Pride and Prejudice, where Elizabeth Bennet goes to Chatsworth before she goes to Pemberley. If you’ve watched the 2005 film adaptation, you’ll recognise Chatsworth also because it was where Mr Darcy’s home was filmed. When in Chatsworth, you can visit Darcy’s home, farmyard as well as the garden and stay nearby to explore more of this magnificent location to reminisce your first time reading Pride and Prejudice, and the emotional roller coaster and journey of maturation it took you on.