For those of you who know me, you know how much my mum and I are absolutely obsessed with Jane Austen and all things Jane Austen. Ever since I was little, I have wanted to go to England and see where Jane Austen lived and wrote. Well, twenty-one years later I finally got to do just that! Mum booked us a Jane Austen tour :) The tour was based out of Basingstoke, which is kind of in between London and Bath.
We went all over the countryside of Hampshire to explore the early years that shaped Jane Austen into the writer she became. We started off in Basingstoke and saw some of the estates and places Jane Austen went and danced, dined and explored when she lived there. The Manydown House of the Biggs and Big-Withers, Hackwood Park of the Boltons, Kempsholt Park, Oakley Hall of the Bramstons, and Ashe Park. We also got to see the church her father preached at, Steventon Rectory…and the big tree outside DOES exist! We also went to other churches in the area that held connections to the Austens such as Ashe Rectory and the place where her mother and sister were buried. We also saw the land that her father owned and where the house she was born in once stood, which has long been demolished.
We ate lunch at a local pub that Phil brought us to, which was absolutely delicious and quaint. There was a fire going, which was lovely because it was incredibly cold outside that day! The food was fresh and locally grown, and all the people were so kind and warm. After lunch we headed just about 5 miles down the road to the Jane Austen House Museum. I’ve read so many books where they talk about this place, and to be there was so odd. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real. Anyways, we explored the house and got to see some of the incredible artifacts that are still left from Jane Austen’s family! Her writing desk was the most incredible thing of all. The physical desk that she wrote so many of her famous novels was right there in the room. Surreal.
The Jane Austen tour was probably one of my favorite days of our trip, just because I had been looking forward to this for so long; and I was so thankful that I got to experience it with my mum. We have been reading her books and watching the movies for so many years; sitting on the couch with candles and homemade carmel corn…and now we got to experience the actual places she lived, danced and loved in. It was an absolutely magical day.