Don’t lie. We’ve all had a thing for Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at some point, whether the indubitable man was played by Matthew MacFadyen, or (sigh) Colin Firth.
July 18th marks the 200th anniversary of the Jane’s Austen’s death. Arguably one of Britain’s most famous writers, Austen earned her place as one of the most widely-read authors in English literature.
If you long to experience the wit and romance of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, or stroll the streets of Bath like Isabelle Thorpe in Northanger Abbey, look no further. Behold! Your go-to-guide for everything Austen, from July through September.
The Jane Austen Museum, Hampshire, south England
Walk in the footsteps of Austen and feel like a member of her 18th -century social circle as you explore the house where she lived and wrote for the latter eight years of her life. To mark the 200th anniversary of her death, the museum is holding a special exhibition entitled, Jane Austen in 41 Objects, which explores her life and legacy. The Jane Austen Museum is open throughout most dates of the year, details for events can be found on the website.
Getting there: the museum is located in Hampshire in the south of England. It’s a 90-minute journey by train from London, or under two hours’ drive by car.
The Jane Austen Festival, Bath, south-west England
Walk the streets of regency Bath as a Georgian gentleman or literary lady, as you immerse yourself in all things Austen at The Jane Austen Festival. Don full regency garb at the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade, and meet your very own Mr. Darcy before dancing your sense and sensibilities away at the Bicentenary Costumed Summer Ball.
2017 is the 17th edition of the annual festival, with special commemorations marking the 200th anniversary of Austen’s death, with events taking place between September 8th – 17th, 2017.
Getting there: Bath is located in the south-west of England. It’s a ten-minute train from Bristol, and is just under a three-hour drive from London.
Walk in the footsteps of Elizabeth Bennet at Chatsworth House, Peak District, north England
Invite your own Elizabeth Bennet or Mr. Darcy and have a romantic stroll around the magnificent grounds of Chatsworth House, which was used as the location for Pemberley, the residence of Mr Darcy, in the filming of 2005 film Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightly and Matthew MacFayden. It is believed that Jane Austen based her idea of Pemberley on the house while she wrote her novel in the nearby village of Bakewell.
Explore the 30 lavish rooms of the house open to visitors, or look positively radiant as you gaze into each other’s eyes in the ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped garden. Owned and lived in by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, (who FYI, was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and immortalized in another Kiera Knightley role, The Duchess) the house oozes grandeur and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.
Getting there: Chatsworth House is a 45-minute drive from Sheffield, and a three and a half hour drive from London.
Take part in a Jane Austen walking tour, Bath, south-west England
Visit Chawton House Library once owned by Austen’s brother, Hampshire, England
‘When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library,’ declared Miss Bingley in Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice (1813). If you feel the same as Miss Bingley, you will be delighted with Chawton House Library. Once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, it’s an ideal spot for Austen fans and literary lovers alike, especially as the internationally respected research and learning center is dedicated to the study of early women’s writing from 1600 to 1830.
The quintessentially English rose and walled garden offer plenty to explore – the house is also nestled in its own parkland estate where five shire horses wander. If you prefer to discover what lies indoors, there is also an extensive art collection to see.
Getting there: the library is located in Hampshire in the south-east of England. It is a two-hour drive from London.
Discover an Austen-family home at Goodnestone Park, Kent, south-east England
Get inspired at Goodnestone Park where Austen’s brother and sister-in-law once lived. Dd you know Austen began writing her first novel, Pride and Prejudice (1813), immediately after staying at Goodnestone Park in 1796? The mansion house can be rented for groups of up to 24, so you can even have your own Austen themed soiree.
Getting there: Goodnestone Park is in Kent, south-east England. It’s a two-hour journey by train from London, or a two-hour drive.