Connect with us

Travel

Becoming Jane: Finding the Real “Austenland”

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Perhaps one of the most recognised first lines in literature, Jane Austen’s assessment of the desires of a single man begins one of the most well-loved novels of all time. For nearly 300 years, “Pride and Prejudicehas captivated audiences around the world.
jane
The most recent addition to the line-up of “Pride and Prejudice” films, just in time for the 200th anniversary of the book’s publication, is “Austenland,” starring Keri Russell. Well-received at the Sundance Film Festival, “Austenland”is the story of a 30-something woman obsessed with Fitzwilliam Darcy (as played by Colin Firth in the BBC film version of the books) who travels to a country manor to spend two weeks immersed in Jane Austen’s world— and discovers that a true Regency gentleman is not an unattainable ideal after all.
While most travellers wouldn’t go to such extremes to experience Jane Austen’s England (or find their own Mr Darcy), it is still possible for those on holiday in the UK to immerse themselves in Austen’s world and most popular work.

Number 4 Sydney Place, Bath

In Georgian England, it was quite fashionable to spend weeks in Bath, where the waters were believed to have healing powers. Austen herself travelled to Bath quite frequently, and the city plays a prominent role in many of her books. At Number 4 Sydney Place, a restored 1800s apartment, visitors can actually stay in the very rooms where Jane Austen wrote some of her most memorable scenes.

Meryton

While the village of Meryton is a creation of Austen’s imagination, it was largely based on the village of Lacock near Bath. Lacock stood in for Meryton in the BBC adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice”; it’s an easy half-day trip from Bath and not far from Stonehenge, either.

The Jane Austen Centre

The Jane Austen Centre in Bath is the closest place one will find to a real-life Austenland. In addition to permanent exhibits of clothing as well as other artefacts from Austen’s life and times, the Centre arranges a Jane Austen festival each fall, complete with a version of the Netherfield Ball, the formal dance that served as a key plot point in “Pride and Prejudice.” For those who can’t make it to the ball, the Centre allows visitors to experience Austen’s world by trying on Regency-era fashions and enjoying traditional foods.

Chatsworth House

The official home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth House was the inspiration for Pemberley, Mr Darcy’s family home in the novel. In fact, this home stood in for Pemberley in the BBC film. At Chatsworth, you can explore more than 30 rooms decorated in grand style — and try on period costumes —offering a glimpse of what it was like to live in the upper-class world of Austen’s time.

Steventon Church

Austen was born in the small village of Steventonand lived there for the first 25 years of her life. The rectory where she was born and raised has long been demolished, but the 600-year-old church where her father preached still stands. It was here that she wrote “Pride and Prejudice,” as well as “Sense and Sensibility and “Northanger Abbey,” which her father offered to a publisher without her knowledge. You can still find family headstones in the church graveyard and get a true sense of the world in which Austen lived as well as the places and people that inspired her work.

Chawton

Outside of Bath, the village of Chawton is well-known as the place where Austen spent the last eight years of her life. After revising “Pride and Prejudice” here before its publication, she wrote her last three novels in this home, including “Persuasion.” The modest house has been largely preserved as it was when Austen was lived there.
While there is no such place as “Austenland,” for a Jane Austen fan, visiting some of these sites is as close as they can get to the refined and romantic world of early 19th century England. From taking the waters at Bath to exploring the rolling fields of Steventon, these sites provide unparalleled insight into one of the world’s greatest novelists.
Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author: When Olivia Keep was assigned to read “Pride and Prejudice” for a literature class, she had no idea it would spark a lifelong fascination with Jane Austen. An author herself, she enjoys travelling the world with her own Mr Darcy and their two children.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

Business3 days ago

Why Is Quantity Surveying Essential in Construction Industry

Quantity surveying is an essential part of the Australian construction industry. It is the process of calculating and estimating the...

Home Improvement5 days ago

How to Maintain Upholstered Furniture

No matter if you have pets or kids, maintaining your upholstered furniture is quite a challenge. Even though vacuuming it...

Business1 week ago

How Do I Find a Good Bubble.io Developer?

Finding a good bubble developer to help build your app or digital product can seem challenging. How can you choose...

Home Improvement2 weeks ago

When is a right time for home repairs?

Summer is a popular time for a renovation around the globe. While it is true that bright days and warm...

Top Alteryx Competitors Top Alteryx Competitors
Tech4 weeks ago

Top 15 Alteryx Competitors

The world has seen a tremendous rise in startups and new incorporations in the business world. Companies have great potential...

Lifestyle1 month ago

Latest Wedding Trends for 2023

If you’re planning on getting married this year, chances are you’re probably overwhelmed and confused when it comes to wedding...

Lifestyle1 month ago

Tips To Make The Most Of Your City Break In London!

London is one of the best cities in the world, known for its quintessentially British culture, great nightlife, fantastic museums...

General1 month ago

The Ultimate Guide To Packing For A Trip To London

London is one of the best cities in the world, known for it’s rich history, quintessentially British culture, the best...

Tech2 months ago

Top 15 Web Development IDEs

The web development field has seen sustainable growth throughout the years. As technology is advancing, so is the web development...

devops devops
Tech2 months ago

12 Key DevOps Programming Languages to Still Popular in 2022

“DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.” – Jez Humble Delivering the finest of services...

Entertainment2 months ago

Festival Fashion Style Tips For 2022

Summer is well and truly here and with that comes the festival season! From the biggest stars performing on stage...

Green & Energy2 months ago

4 Tips For Making Your Wardrobe More Sustainable

Everyone is trying to make more of an effort to make their wardrobe more sustainable, but often are unsure where...

General3 months ago

7 tips on how to organize a budget-friendly move

If you are planning a move any time soon, you might be worried about all the expenses that wait for...

Metal Roof Colors Metal Roof Colors
Home Improvement3 months ago

Metal Roof Colors: How to Select the Best Color for a New Roof

Choosing the right type of material for your roof is enough of a hassle already that the question of choosing...

Health3 months ago

Simple Ways To Feel More Confident At The Gym

If you are new to the gym, or you haven’t been in a while, sometimes you might not feel completely...

Categories

Archives

Trending