Jane Austen's House, Chawton, Hampshire
Here’s the last part of Charlotte’s trip to Jane Austen’s world (read part I here):
After a huge breakfast the next morning, we set out walking. Our first stop was the Jane Austen’s House Museum in the nearby village of Chawton. We spent the morning learning more about Jane Austen, who lived in the house during the last eight years of her life.
We then headed out for a long walk in her footsteps. Before leaving Sweden, we had printed a copy of a very useful “literary walk” found on the website of East Hampshire District Council (PDF).
With the map in hand, we guided ourselves through the beautiful countryside, past pretty cottages and the church where Jane Austen’s mother and sister are buried. It was thrilling to know that these were the paths she used to walk and the houses she used to visit. We climbed gates and hedges with the intro to the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice ringing in our heads. This might seem strange, and it was, but it turned out my sister was constantly humming it.
Cecilia finally met lovely Mr Darcy
Just as we were getting tired of taking pictures of sheep’s and horses, we approached the village of Upper Farringdon. Having removed our muddy boots, we had a nice lunch at the Rose and Crown.
After a visit to the museum bookstore (where some of us spent a lot of money), we enjoyed a cream tea at Cassandra’s Cup, a tea house across the road from the museum.
We caught an early evening train and returned to London in time for dinner. It would be possible to visit the Alton/Chawton area in one day but then you would miss out on the comfortable beds and the lovely breakfast.
My friend Charlotte took her sister Cecilia and her friend Jenny for a 24 hour trip through Jane Austen’s world. This is their story.
The Jane Austen travellers
My sister and I spent a weekend visiting a friend in London. The only rent we were allowed to pay our hostess was to arrange an excursion of some sort; a day-trip or a one-night stay somewhere no further away than an hour or two by train.
Some late night surfing made me come up with a plan that would accommodate for all our needs. Once I had found the website of Jane Austen’s House Museum – which took me about 20 seconds – it seemed that the small town of Alton was the place to go. Another useful site was the Hampshire County Council.
Visit Hampshire suggested some places to stay in the area and I had e-mailed enquires to a few of them. Luckily, Joan Mossop of St Mary’s Hall gave us a swift reply. She and her husband ran what turned out to be a very nice Bed and Breakfast in what used to be a church. The rooms were pleasant, breakfast delicious and our hosts generous and welcoming.
St Mary's Hall, Alton
Upon our arrival, we relaxed in the guest lounge at St Mary’s Hall before heading to a nearby pub, The French Horn for dinner and a taste of some local ale.
The next day we set out to discover Jane Austen Country.
Find out what the girls did the next day in our next episode of Lost in Austen Country tomorrow.
The Jane Austen Centre, Bath
Do you remember Colin Firth’s wet shirt scene in the 1995 BBC TV production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? Then this might be something for you. This summer from May to September you can go on a 4-day Pride & Prejudice Tour. The tour operator P and P Tours have put together a tour of all the UK filming locations used in the BBC Pride & Prejudice, Wives and Daughters, North and South and Sense & Sensibility. See the lake where Mr Darcy dived, Longbourn, home of the Bennets and Pemberley just to mention a few.
Wherever possible the tours offer accommodation in actual filming locations.
For full details, go to http://www.pandptours.co.uk/
More of Jane Austen to come as we will soon publish a story about a 24 hour trip to Jane Austen’s home in Alton, Hampshire.
/Camilla, trainee Stockholm office