November 20th 2014

Imagine Jane Austen, cloistered in a room in a modest redbrick cottage in a quintessential English village, penning the words that later made her one of the great English novelists.

A door creaks, and her manuscript is hastily pushed into a drawer, before someone else enters the room. The anecdote of Chawton Cottage’s creaking door and how Jane Austen begged her brother not to have it fixed, so she could keep her work secret in a home with little privacy is one of the gems ‘Janites’ thrill to discover on what is a literary trail of her life. Amid the lush English countryside of Jane Austen Country, follow the footsteps of the Austen family and stay in a grand period house, which is likely the model for Mansfield Park.

oakley hall 500

Oakley Hall, an elegant 18th century manor house and now our beautifully appointed hotel, was once owned by the Bramstons, good friends of the Austen family. Looking out from the bedrooms, it is easy to imagine a carriage drawing up in the sweeping drive and Jane and her sister Cassandra stepping out to visit with their friends.
An England not far removed from that of the Austens'

From the Hampshire village of Steventon, where Jane grew up, to Chawton, where she polished or created her novels, this is an England not so far removed from that of the Austens'.

Visit the ‘cottage’ in Chawton – though by modern standards a highly desirable dwelling – where Jane lived thanks to her brother Edward, who resided just yards away at the much grander Elizabethan manor Chawton House.

The cottage is now a museum dedicated to the author, and who could resist the opportunity to enjoy a private dinner in the beautiful dining room of ‘the big house’? It’s now a library of women’s writing in English across more than two centuries.

jane stile 500

Hike the lanes and paths linking pretty villages like Selborne, the  former home  of 18th century naturalist Gilbert White and contemporary of Jane’s father. Walk through one of the famous Hampshire ‘Hangers’ – a lovely and serene beech-clad chalk hill.

Step inside The Vyne, a mansion visited by Henry VIII and board a restored steam train on the heritage Watercress Line puffing its way towards lunch at a village coaching inn.

And find out just how the ladies coped with the fashions of the day during a fascinating talk from a Regency clothing expert.
To stay in historic Winchester is to breathe in history
To stay in a magnificent Georgian building in the heart of historic Winchester, the capital of ancient Wessex, is to breathe in history. After receiving the Wayfarers’ Dole at St Cross alms house – a tradition dating back almost 1,000 years - visit the towering cathedral and see where Jane is buried. She died, aged just 41, in the city, in the arms of her sister Cassandra, having been treated by doctors there in her final days. Find out all the details of our Jane Austen Walk here.

Download: PDF Document.
Print: Press CTRL+P or click here to print.

Next Post  →