Travel through the English countryside by private luxury coach and enjoy the glorious views of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon. Visit Basingstoke, Jane Austen's House Museum and enjoy a guided tour of Chawton House Library and Lyme Regis. Stay in specially selected bed & breakfast accommodation, stroll through 'must-visit' towns of Winchester and Lacock Village. Dress up and learn some historical dances at the Winchester Guildhall, Barrington Court and Bath, spend time breathing in the history of some of England's glorious buildings and gardens - Winchester Cathedral, Montacute House, Barrington Court, Stourhead House & Gardens and and view some historical fashions up close at Killerton House and Bath Fashion Museum. Promenade in Regency costume at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath and attend a Costumed Regency Ball in the Bath Assembly Rooms. As a special treat, Aylwen will bring kits and teach tour participants how to make a bonnet (at no extra cost) to wear at the Jane Austen Festival - so don't fret if your bonnet won't fit in your suitcase!
(See the HISTORIC LONDON TOUR that leads up to this tour of Jane Austen's England and for a poster and overview relevant to all tours see Tours)
DAY 1, Saturday: South Kensington
Tour members will arrive at our South Kensington hotel any time from 2pm. Early arrivals may store their luggage with the Hall Porter. The peace and quiet of Kensington Gardens is just a short stroll away so you can enjoy the sunshine.
DAY 2, Sunday: Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton
After breakfast we farewell those staying in London or traveling elsewhere and greet those joining us for our Tour through Jane Austen's England. We leave South Kensington early by private coach to commence our visit to Hampshire, the inspiration for many of Jane Austen's novels. We'll have lunch at The Vyne, in Basingstoke, where Jane Austen attended dances. The Vyne is a 16th century house with many alterations over the years and collections of furniture, paintings and ornaments. There is a long pannelled gallery with heraldry carvings related to the Chute family who lived there for over 350 years. Attractive gardens and grounds include an ornamental lake, and one of the earliest summer houses. Steventon, near Basingstoke, is where Jane wrote the first drafts of Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. Walk around Winchester Cathedral where Jane Austen in buried and then join us for an afternoon tea dance in the Winchester Guildhall. Guests are invited to join us for dinner afterwards in Winchester before we retire to our rooms at the Giffard Hotel..
DAY 3, Monday: Chawton and Steventon
Jane Austen's House Museum Cassandra's Cup Cafe Chawton House
DAY 4, Tuesday: Southampton, Lyme Regis, Devon, Exeter
After breakfast our private coach will take us to visit Lyme Regis, allowing a short stop in Southampton to see the house that Jane stayed at in Castle Square, beside the mediaeval sea walls. Jane attended dances in the ballroom of the Dolphin Hotel that has the largest unsupported bay windows in the country. We will have a professional guided tour of Lyme Regis, taking a walk along the Cobb to see the steps from which Louisa Musgrove fell on the famous harbour wall and visit the inns mentioned in Persuasion. We will see the house in which Jane Austen stayed and enjoy the pleasure of Lyme Regis's views along the coast while enjoying lunch at the Hix Oyster & Fish House before our coach take us to Killerton House in Exeter, where you will tour the manor, view the costume displays and view a selection of garments on a privately arranged study table. Dinner is scheduled upon our arrival at Farthings Country House Hotel in Taunton.
DAY 5, Wednesday: Taunton, Yeovil, Barrington
After breakfast our coach will take us to visit the magnificent Montacute House where several scenes of the 1995 film version of Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility were filmed and wherein are housed a selection of portraits from the National Portrait Gallery in London. After purchasing your lunch from the National Trust restaurant our coach takes us to Barrington Court, a manor house that some believe may have been owned at one stage by an early Austen family member, and was "Kellynch Hall" from Jane Austen's Persuasion and where you will learn some dances that would have been danced in its hall so long ago.
Montacute House Sense & Sensibility was filmed at Montacute House Barrington Court
DAY 6, Thursday: Warminster, Melksham Without
After an early breakfast we leave for Stourhead House and Gardens, another Jane Austen film location. We have a specially booked guide to show us around before we break for a group luncheon. After a day out we journey to stay the night at Beechfield House Hotel.
Beechfield House Hotel, a wonderfully relaxing luxury hotel near Bath.
DAY 7, Friday: Lacock, Bath
After breakfast we depart for Bath, spending the morning in we travel to the pretty Cotswold village of Lacock, a wonderfully preserved village dating from the 13th century, that played the village of 'Meryton' in the BBC’s 'Pride and Prejudice'. Here the Bennet girls, in particular Lydia and Kitty ‘whose minds were more vacant than their sisters’, shopped for bonnets, sought the latest tittle-tattle from their Aunt Philips, and hoped to attract the attentions of the officers - in particular a certain Mr Wickham. After a light lunch we depart for Bath, a most beautiful World Heritage City where a private study table has been reserved for us at the Bath Fashion Museum during the afternoon and where we have booked rooms at Brooks Guest House for the weekend.
Lacock Village Main Street Colin Firth as Darcy in P & P Lacock Abbey Giant cauldron in the cloisters Fashion Museum
DAY 8, Saturday: Bath
After breakfast we dress for the Jane Austen Festival Promenade. After meeting old and new friends alike you have plenty of time to walk around Bath and use your special 7-day entry ticket to visit the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum and Assembly Rooms at your leisure. In the evening we have reserved tickets to attend the Farthingales Regency Ball & Dinner in the Assembly Rooms.
DAY 9, Sunday: Bath
After breakfast we farewell those leaving us for London. We recommend those leaving for Heathrow book an advance purchase ticket on National Express Buslines for a direct trip to the airport. Those who wish to attend other events organised by the Jane Austen Festival must book them privately through the ticket office when it opens closer to the date. Those staying on with us have an exciting week ahead!
We have booked extra accommodation in Bath until the 22 September 2013 to stay in Sir Walter Elliot's House, so feel free to stay on in Bath with us. Aylwen has arranged a special 1-day outing to view costumes from the Snowshill Collection in Leominster on the 17 September and is taking expressions of interest from 7 people who wish to join her mini bus trip north for the day.