Posts Tagged ‘jane austen’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on January 23, 2010 at 3:46 pm
Filed under: best of week, featuredarticle, hampshire, jane austen, literary england

Following Jane Austen’s footsteps

Hikers may more easily identify with those indefatigable walkers Wordsworth and Coleridge, but now they can also follow Jane Austen’s progress on a walk along Hampshire’s rural paths.

Marvellous Jane Austen inspired teapot cookies! Yum!

In six days of walking you can visit Jane’s home at Chawton, her grave in Winchester cathedral, her native village of Steventon, and the inspiration for Mansfield Park – Oakley Hall.

Wayfarers is offering a guided walking holiday which includes 6-10 miles a day of hiking, events such as lectures and a song recital, and visits to these Austen sites.  It costs $3,595 per person, including all transport, accommodation and food, and entry fees – as well as a van to take your luggage while you’re hiking.

England's green and pleasant land - when there's a bit of sunshine!

If you don’t have that amount of money, or the dates of the tours don’t suit, you could easily weave yourself a Jane Austen tour of your own – and perhaps add a couple of further destinations to get a good feel for the world of the novels.

  • Steventon, Hampshire, is where Jane Austen was born – her father was the clergyman here, and though the rectory has gone, the church is still standing, very much as it would have been in her day.
  • Bath was one of the most fashionable places to visit in Jane’s day and has marvellous architecture from the period. It’s the setting for Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, and Jane actually lived there for a while, too. There’s a Jane Austen museum – she lived at 25 Gay Street though the museum is a little way away – and the fine terraces reflect the values of her day, harmonious and well planned. You can visit the Baths which were the reason for the town’s popularity, and sample the water in the Pump Room – or enjoy a pot of tea and a bun at Sally Lunn’s Refreshment House.
  • Chawton, Hampshire,  Jane’s home for many years, contains a fine museum in the house where she lived. Her mother, and her sister Cassandra, are both buried in the churchyard here; her brother owned the large Chawton House estate.
  • Winchester – at the end of her life, Jane lived in College Street, where the house is marked by a plaque, and her grave is in the north aisle of the cathedral.
  • Chatsworth, Derbyshire – if you’ve seen the film of Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen, you’ll recognise this as Pemberley. In fact it’s thought Jane Austen had it in mind when she was writing the book – she’s supposed to have visited. Very much worth a visit both for its superb architecture and decoration, and for the local landscape (if you’re a hiker you might want to investigate the White Peak Way which runs past the house.)

Photo of cookies by Mischief Mari on flickr; photo of the Jane Austen Way courtesy of Wayfarer

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