Jane Austen Country
One of English literature's best-loved authors, Jane Austen, wittily observed preindustrial English society from a sheltered and gentrified family life in Hampshire.
The literary walk of her lifetime takes us to many of her haunts, including the village of Steventon where her father was Rector, and the gentle rolling countryside that forms the backdrop to much of her work. A walk through rich meadows and snug valleys, handsome estates and civilized landscapes intersperses two visits to Chawton, where Jane moved at the age of 33, and a talk and discussion with a Jane Austen expert. These take us on paths she probably used passing timeless cottages she would have known.
The week closes in Winchester, once capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex, where Jane is buried in the ancient cathedral.
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Walk Rating: Easy. Country byways, well-trodden footpaths, village lanes, low hills. 6-10 miles of walking per day.
US$ 3995.00 Double Occupancy
US$ 3995.00 Double Occupancy
US$ 3995.00 Double Occupancy
The Walk begins at Steventon with arrival at Basingstoke Rail Station and ends in Winchester with departure from Winchester Rail Station.
Jane Austen spent most of her life in the historic and beautiful county of Hampshire. Our route starts in the village of Steventon where Jane lived for her first 25 years. We will progress to explore the area near her next home where the Jane Austen Museum is today, Chawton. We will finish in Winchester where she is buried in the cathedral.
After arriving at Basingstoke, we rendezvous at Oakley Hall, an elegant 18th Century Manor House Hotel in the village of Oakley. Former owners of the house, the Bramstons, were good friends of the Austen family, who lived nearby. It is suggested that Jane Austen’s novel “Mansfield Park” is based on Oakley Hall and that Lady Bertram was based on Mrs Bramston.
Our first walk takes us to Steventon where Jane spent her first 25 years. We ramble in her footsteps, along paths close to the rectory and through the gentle rolling countryside she described in her novels. The Rectory itself was pulled down soon after her death but the 12th Century church where she worshipped stands unchanged. The Austens had a wide circle of friends whom she often visited; we see the homes of some of their closest friends such as Deane House and Ashe House, where Jane received a proposal of marriage. After a pub lunch, we visit the church where Jane’s brother was vicar and then we drive to the start of a gentle walk through the woods on the estate to our visit inside the Vynne, a mansion built in the 16th Century and visited by Henry VIII on at least three occasions. It was home to the Chute family who were one of the most respected families and also part of the Austens’ circle (although Jane was not particularly fond of Eliza Chute). Before dinner, we have a fascinating talk from a Regency clothing expert who will reveal secrets of corsetry and ladies’ costumes in Jane Austen's era.
We set off for the pretty village of Chawton where Jane moved in 1809. Our circular walk takes us along paths familiar to Jane and her sister and we visit her cottage, now the Jane Austen House Museum. After our pub lunch, we walk around the extensive grounds surrounding "The Great House”, the fine Elizabethan mansion owned by Jane Austen’s brother Edward. We pass the churchyard where Jane’s mother and sister are buried. In the evening we return to Chawton House, now renowned for its library collection which focuses primarily on women's writing from 1600 to 1830’s, for a private dinner at the very table where Jane would have dined with her family.
Today our walk focusses on the pretty village of Selborne the former home of Gilbert White who was a fellow clergyman and contemporary of Jane’s father and a famous 18th Century naturalist and author. Our morning and afternoon walks take us through one of Hampshire's famous "Hangers", beautiful beech-clad hills. After our lunch we visit White’s house and extensive garden before resuming our walk, ascending via the famous zig-zag path from the village. We transfer to our next hotel in Petersfield where, in the evening, we will enjoy a delightful Regency song recital before dinner.
We start our day strolling through Chawton Woods, a favorite haunt of Jane & her sister Cassandra, towards Fourmarks Station where we board the restored steam train on the Watercress line. This train was first introduced to Hampshire by Jane Austen’s brother. We have lunch in the village of Tichborne in a local coaching inn, and then our walk follows a beautiful river path towards Winchester.
We walk in Winchester through the streets of this historic city and onto the meadows south of the city. When we arrive at the Hospital of St Cross, England’s oldest and most perfect Almshouse, we will receive refreshments in the form of the “Wayfarers’ Dole”, a unique and ancient tradition established almost a thousand years ago. One of the Brothers will show us this spectacular collection of medieval and Tudor buildings before we continue along the river Itchen to our pub lunch. In the afternoon we continue our exploration of the city and finish with a visit to the Cathedral where Jane is buried. Our Farewell Dinner will be in our hotel, a stone’s throw from the Cathedral.
The Wayfarers will provide a transfer from your hotel to Winchester Rail Station.
This itinerary represents a typical Walk. We prepare itineraries well in advance of the trip and therefore we reserve the right to make changes due to weather, local events or other circumstances - but always to improve the experience of our guests.
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Oakley Hall - Sunday, Monday & Tuesday
Hampshire RG23 7EL
Built in 1795, Oakley Hall has a distinguished past. Formerly owned by the Bramston family, close friends of Jane Austen, it is mentioned fondly in Austen's letters to her sister Cassandra at the turn of the 19th Century. The character "Lady Bertram" was based on Mrs Bramston, who herself thought that Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice were nonsense. Ironically, she liked Mansfield Park! Jane Austen lived in the neighbouring village of Steventon until she was 25 years old, and during this time she wrote some of her most loved and remembered novels, including Pride & Prejudice. She wasn't the only author to be inspired by Oakley Hall: Henry Fielding, creator of Tom Jones, was also known to have enjoyed lengthy stays at Oakley.
The Hall has now been beautifully restored to its former self. The rooms have Super King size beds dressed with Egyptian cotton linen, oversize baths, laptop safe, hair-dryer, built-in ironing board, DVD Player and high speed wireless internet - in a contemporary style, within the 19th century stable block. Relax and enjoy the complimentary hand made Hampshire chocolates, fresh fruit bowl, bathrobe and slippers.
This hotel list is a provided as an example. We may use different hotels of the same quality and style on specific trips. The Wayfarers will notify confirmed travelers of any changes to the hotels.
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Our Vacations do not include the cost of air or rail fares to and from the destination or tips for your walk leader and manager.
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Our maximum group size is 16, but groups average between 8-12 people.
Will I feel welcome as a single traveler?
Yes! Our walks are the perfect environment of comfortable camaraderie for the single traveler.
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How physically fit do I have to be to do a Wayfarers Walk?
If you are in good health and reasonably fit you will be comfortable participating in a walk.
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