You’ll explore Hampshire, where Jane Austen spent most of her life, including the small parish church in Steventon and Chawton Cottage. There’s Winchester, her final resting place, the popular holiday spot Lyme Regis and the city of Bath, where you can walk along the Georgian streets in Jane’s as well as her some of her character’s footsteps. Also visit the lovely Peak District, where we can discover many literary connections and
you can imagine yourself in the arms of the BBC’s leading men at Chatsworth (real life home of Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire) and Lyme Park.
Also on our route, for good measure, iconic Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Cotswolds. We hope this is an interesting way to explore several lovely regions of Britain while giving you the opportunity to ‘get inside’ some of your beloved novels. Enjoy splendid scenery, stupendous historical sites, beautiful stately homes and gardens plus charming towns and villages all worthy of a visit in their own right. All in all, this is simply a well rounded holiday for the Jane Austen fan as well as their companions!
- Tour Date: 9 – 16 April
- Tour Rate: $2699 USD per person, $400 single supplement
- Early Booking Special - Book by 31 December and save $100 USD per person.
Day 1, Saturday, 9 April: Welcome to London! Today is free so you have the chance to relax, recover from your international journey and go sightseeing in the Capitol as you wish. We recommend beginning your Jane Austen literary adventure with a visit to the British Library where you can see Jane’s manuscripts. Another choice is the National Portrait Gallery, where among the many painting and photographs of famous Britons, you can see the sketch of Jane Austen done by her sister Cassandra.
This is the only undisputed portrait of the author. Perhaps you will choose to go around on the “Big Bus”, the best introduction to the iconic sites of the Capitol. Hop off when you want then hop back on - a fun way to start your holiday! This evening, perhaps go to a show at one of London’s fantastic theatres? Nightstop: London (accommodation is included in your package tonight).
Day 2, Sunday, 10 April: We depart London, our destination being Hampshire, "Jane Austen Country" We will travel to our first village of interest, Steventon, where Jane Austen spent her first 25 years. We will explore the small parish church where her father was a clergyman including the churchyard where her brother and his family lie. This quiet, peaceful place is like stepping back in time. Next, her home at Chawton, now open as a museum.
It was in this quaint village that Jane spent the majority of her later years and where she wrote or completed most of her most famous works, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice amongst others. Once inside the house, we are in her world. Our next port of call is the ancient Saxon capital of Winchester. Our time here will include a guided walk around the city, seeing the cathedral where Jane Austen is buried, one of England's most famous public schools and the place Jane last called home, where she passed away in 1817. Nightstop: Hampshire.
Day 3, Monday, 11 April: Touring to Lyme Regis is today’s agenda, "far from the madding crowd". The counties of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorsetshire are ones where time literally seems to have stood still since the days of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. We'll be traveling through towns used by both as settings for stories, such as Dorchester, Hardy’s "Casterbridge".
Wilton House is truly one of the country's treasure houses. Here, amidst nearly 500 years of history, you will experience living history at its very best as you wander through its magnificent rooms, marvel at its architecture, soak in its fine paintings and be swept off your feet by its spectacular gardens. Wilton House is often used as a location for periods films thanks to its sumptuous interiors. Fans may recognize some rooms as "Pemberley" in the 2005 Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice.
The ‘double cube room’ is particularly popular, appearing in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lydon, Madness of King George, Judi Dench favorite Mrs Brown and most recently Young Victoria. Jane Austen's Lyme Regis is sure to be another highlight of our day! We'll spend time exploring this part of Britain's "Jurassic Park" and perhaps find a fossil or two along the shoreline nearby. Lyme Regis was a popular sea spa town and the site of many Austen family holidays. The town looks much as it did when Jane spent time here, and sites from Persuasion are recognizable. Nightstop: Bath
Day 4, (ND) Tuesday, 12 April: Today we have a full day to explore Bath, the city of Georgian splendor and Roman antiquity. Your guide will be on hand for a walking tour of Jane Austen’s city this morning. This place was enjoyed by the social set of the 18th and 19th centuries, a setting for Jane Austen amongst many other writers; Austen fans will immediately recognize several streets and squares from her novels such as Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
You can also see places where the author herself lived. The rest of the day is free so you can explore Bath as you please. We highly recommend time in the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms, the Jane Austen Centre and perhaps the American Museum with its amazing display of quilts. You could simply wander the lovely tea rooms and antique shops - the choice is yours! Dinner is not included tonight for flexibility’s sake. Nightstop: Bath, as above
Day 5, Wednesday, 13 April: Our first stop will be the medieval village of Lacock, which has hardly changed in the past 200 years. With its magnificent abbey, half timbered cottages and greystone houses, it provides a perfect setting. This lovely place, where TV ariels, telephone wires and advertising are banned, has been used as a film set for many popular films such as the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle production of Pride and Prejudice, the BBC series of Cranford and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Also today, we’ll be visiting the lovely city of Gloucester with its many wonderful literary connections. In addition to their historical significance, Gloucester Cathedral and the King's School were used in the Harry Potter films; there are also sites to do with another Potter, Beatrix, plus Humpty Dumpty can claim his origins here. Later, we will make our way north with a rare bit of motorway driving to speed our way to the Peak District. En-route, we may enjoy a stop in Lichfield.
Jane Austen stayed in the area for 5 weeks in 1806 at the home of her cousin, Edward Cooper. This bustling market town, visited by Jane for touring and shopping, offers a lovely cathedral, some charming Tudor buildings and the birthplace of Dr Johnson, the author of the very first dictionary (Jane Austen called him her “dear Dr Johnson” and his house “the best hereabouts”). Matlock, our night stop location, was a favorite vacation spot for William Wordsworth.
Nightstop: Matlock area.
Day 6, Thursday, 14 April: We have a full day to enjoy the Peak District and the magnificent Pennine Hills scenery. Here, where the dry-stone walls make criss-cross patterns of the sheep covered hills, we may find ancient folk customs such as 'well-dressing' as we wander the rural Derbyshire villages such as favorite film location towns Bakewell and Longnor.
Another possibility is Ashbourne, a town with connections to both Dr Johnson and George Eliot, who described the church as “the finest mere parish church in the entire kingdom.” It is located nearby the lovely River Dove, a favorite spot for Wordsworth. There are a few stately homes and treasure houses in this area which may seem familiar for fans of period films. These estates are often used as sets, most famously recent productions of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and The Duchess among others.
We will visit as many as time will permit. We will certainly enjoy a visit to the Duke of Devonshire's stately home at Chatsworth, the real life home of Georgina, The Duchess of Devonshire and said to have been the inspiration for Jane Austen as her “Pemberley”. It was here that most of the exterior sequences for Pemberley in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice were filmed as well as a few interiors including the sculpture gallery.
Nightstop: Matlock area, as above.
Day 7, Friday, 15 April: Another full day in the Peaks permits us the opportunity to explore even more stunning places. There’s the town of Hathersage, known as “Morton” in Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel Jane Eyre. The town itself is an attractive, prosperous gritstone village of charm and character, perched rather picturesquely on a hillside. This whole area is well known to film crews, capturing real places of inspiration for classic literature.
Nearby there’s the soaring Stanage Edge, a famous scene from the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, Lees Hall and connections to Little John from the Robin Hood legends. The grand finale of our day is sure to be a visit to Lyme Park, used by the BBC for the hugely popular Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. Fans may recognize the lake as well as the house itself. Here, we’ll find the Palladian mansion surrounded by a medieval deer park of almost 1400 acres, an amazing formal garden and lavish interiors. Nightstop: Matlock area, as above.
Day 8, Saturday, 16 April: Heading south, we may choose to have a brief visit in the area around Nuneaton (“Milby”) if we’ve George Eliot fans on board, but our main visit today will be Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Visits here can include time in the local church, burial place for the Bard, his mother Mary Arden’s home with its bird of prey centre as well as time in the charming town itself.
We will make our way back into London via the Cotswolds and Chiltern Hills. Our route is set amidst unforgettable countryside, thatched cottage villages and old coaching towns, some dotted along the banks of the rolling river Thames. Jane Austen attended school at the Reading Ladies Boarding School and this area surely would have contributed to her development as a writer.
We will arrive into London early this evening. Dinner is not included tonight so you have the option to attend the theatre. Nightstop: London. Accommodation is included in your package tonight. Your package concludes after breakfast tomorrow morning. We can assist you with optional airport transfers or you are welcomed to extend your stay as you wish.
Why not extend your stay in London? You can explore the Capitol at your leisure and see some of the city’s iconic sites or perhaps go on your very own ‘Literary London’ tour. You can choose to do it yourself or we can assist you with a custom day or multi-day tour extension. Please discuss options with us.
Jane Austen never lived in London but there are a few places of interest here for fans; she did visit her brother Henry at his London homes of 10 Henrietta Street and 23 Hans Place. Her cousin Eliza de Feuillide, often regarded as the model for the character ‘Mary Crawford’ in Mansfield Park, is buried in St John’s Hamstead. You could also continue on the “Austen Trail” by visiting her memorial plaque in Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
Maybe visit the Globe to see how theatre in the 1500s was viewed or perhaps catch a play at one of London’s modern ‘off West End’ gems like the Royal Court or the Donmar Warehouse. There are London's literary museums and houses to be seen, properties connected with Keats, Dickens, Carlyle and Dr Johnson. Possibly you’d prefer to just take a stroll through the areas rich in literary history, the neighborhoods of Bankside, an area well known to Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens or the Bloomsbury of Virginia Woolf, TS Elliot and Lytton Stratchey among others. You’re spoilt for choice in ‘Literary London’.
Please note: All attraction opening times are correct at time of printing this website. While we do our utmost to include all properties, we reserve the right to change an attraction should it become impossible to visit due to change in opening times, days.
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