Literary love stories have been inspiring our own romances for generations through the many spellbinding characters such as Mr Darcy in Pride or Prejudice or Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre. These page turning novels, be they heart breaking or heart melting, have managed to secure an idea of unassuming old fashioned romance in our minds. Here at Hero & Leander we are well aware that mushy literary romance may not be for everybody, but one mention of Mr Darcy and we are weak at the knees. For this reason, we have put together a list of trips relating to classic love stories allowing you to fully immerse yourselves into the novels.
Pride & Prejudice- Jane Austen
Goodnestone Park, Kent
Built in 1704, Goodnestone Park is a classically beautiful stately home surrounded by graceful parkland and some of the loveliest gardens in south-east England. Set in the picturesque countryside of Kent, the house is currently undergoing a dramatic refurbishment and will be opened as an exclusive rent property in summer 2016. The grand domain has been home to British aristocracy for centuries. With beautiful gardens, elegant drawing and dining rooms, and grand bedroom suites, Goodnestone Park will offer guests the ultimate in a quintessentially English experience.
A fascinating feature of the house is their well-stocked library which is bursting at the seams with early copies of much loved classics, books on philosophy and religion, botanicals, and, in particular, early editions of Jane Austen. The collection was first started by Fanny Fowler, wife to the 3rd Baronet Sir Brook Bridges. Their much loved daughter went on to marry Edward Austen in 1791, the elder brother of literary heroine Jane Austen.
Jane would often visit Goodnestone Park to visit her elder brother and sister in law, and to attend elegant dances and parties at the family estate. It has been rumoured that her time staying at Rowling House, situated in the grounds of the spectacular Goodnestone Park, served as inspiration to her legendary novel, Pride and Prejudice.
The story’s double wedding of Elizabeth Bennet to the dashing Mr Darcy and Jane Bennet to the eligible Mr Bingly is rumoured to have been inspired by the double wedding that took place in the delightful Goodnestone church between Jane’s brother and Elizabeth Bridges and William Deedes and Elizabeth’s sister, Sophia Bridges.
Jane stayed very close to the Bridges family, and Elizabeth and Edward’s first born Fanny Bridges was understood to be Jane’s favourite niece. The young girl, named after her grandmother, became a favourite correspondent of Jane, and is even rumoured to have been inspiration for the coming of age novel Mansfield Park, whose protagonist was the young and fiercely independent, Fanny Price.
Chatsworth House, Peak District
Chatsworth House was used as the location for Pemberley, the residence of Mr. Darcy in the 2005 filming of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley. It is believed that Jane Austen based her idea of Pemberley on Chatsworth house, as she wrote her novel while in Bakewell. Visitors can explore 30 rooms of the House, which is owned and lived in by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.
Strictly Jane Austen- Walking Tours of Bath
In this package tour guests can immerse themselves in Austen’s Regency England. Take a guided tour around the streets of Bath, have lunch at the Pump Room, and stay for three nights in a Georgian Hotel. Guests can enjoy a dance workshop, where period costumes will be fitted, ready to dance the night away at the period Ball in Central Bath. The tour ends with a visit to Lacock village where Pride and Prejudice was filmed.
Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen
In Bath they are enough lucky to have an attraction dedicated to Jane Austen, a plaque memorialising her home, buildings which appeared in her novels and inspired her, film locations and an entire festival devoted to her. The Jane Austen Centre is a good place to start a Jane Austen themed visit – it offers a snapshot into what it would have been like to live in Regency times and explores how the city of bath impacted upon Jane Austen’s life and writing
There are a variety of tours on offer from traditional guided walking tours to an audio guide and even a weekend tour. During the summer the Jane Austen Centre organise walking tours with entertaining costumed actors. In the Footsteps of Jane Austen is a free audio walking tour which takes visitors around the highlights of the city and includes extracts from her novels and letters. Strictly Jane Austen tours include three nights at a Georgian Hotel, a guided tour of Bath with lunch at the Pump Room, entrance to Fashion Museum, costume-fitting and hire, a dance workshop, entrance to the Ball and a visit to Lacock.
It would be worthwhile taking a look at The Pump Room and The Gravel Walk as both appear in Jane Austen’s novels. From Northanger Abbey: ‘They set off in good time for the Pump-room, where the ordinary course of events took place; Mr Allen, after drinking his glass of water, joined some gentlemen to talk over the politics of the day and compare the accounts of their news-papers; and the ladies walked about together, noticing every new face, and almost every new bonnet in the room.’
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte
Haddon Hall, Peak District
Haddon Hall has been frequented by the spot light, with films such as Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice and The Other Boleyn Girl which have all made full use of the house and gardens. With parts of Haddon Hall dating from the 12th century, there is plenty to see when exploring the estate. The hall also features its own restaurant, which is located in the stable blocks, where guests can enjoy views over the grounds.
North Lees Hall, Peak District
Used in the filming of Jane Eyre, North Lees Hall is a 16th century tower house in the heart of the Peak District. It is said that Brontë used North Lees Hall as the location for Mr Rochester’s fictional home, Thornfield Hall. The property is surrounded by countryside, and has Stanage Edge as its backdrop. Comfortably sleeping six, guests can enjoy their own self-contained retreat steeped in history, with a fully equipped country kitchen, two bathrooms and two wood burning stoves; there is even the option to have a private spa therapist visit for an extra treat.
Bronte Country, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire Pennines
A windswept land of heather and wild moors, it is hardly surprising that this region became the inspiration for the classic works of the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Geographically, Bronte Country consists of the Pennine hills of West Yorkshire, as well as Kirklees and Calderdale. Unlike the pastoral limestone valleys of the Yorkshire Dales which begin further to the north, the geology in Bronte Country is predominantly of Millstone Grit, a dark sandstone which lends the crags and scenery here an air of bleakness and desolation. Small wonder then, that this landscape fuelled the imagination of the Bronte sisters in writing their classic novels – including “Wuthering Heights” (which was reputedly inspired by the isolated moorland farmstead of Top Withens) and “Jane Eyre”.
Jamaica Inn- Daphne du Maurier
A foreboding building which inspired Du Maurier’s novel of the same name about smuggling and skulduggery. Look around the Daphne du Maurier memorial room which includes her writing desk, enjoy a traditional pub lunch and stay in the atmospheric bedrooms.
Gone With The Wind- Margaret Mitchell
US specialist, Bon Voyage, is highlighting a choice of fly-drive holidays in Georgia where ‘Gone With The Wind’ was set. Itineraries include ‘The Back Roads of Georgia’ which begins in Atlanta where the author Margaret Mitchell was born. It is a leisurely 13-night fly-drive holiday where visitors will discover scenic back-roads lined with peach trees, magnificent antebellum homes, glorious Atlantic sea islands and majestic mountains, along with historic Savannah, the jewel in Georgia’s crown.
Prices start from £1725 pp
Frenchman’s Creek- Daphne du Maurier
Trelowarren Manor on Cornwall’s Helford River was Daphne du Maurier’s inspiration for Navron House in her best-loved romantic swashbuckler and the “Creek” of the title is at the bottom of the garden. Du Maurier was a regular visitor and great friend of Lady Vyvyan – liking the old house in its landscape to “a jewel in the palm of your hand”. You can go armed with the novel to stay in one of the ancient 1000 acre Trelowarren Estate’s beautiful luxury self-catering cottages – and wander down to oak-lined creek itself – the scene of passionate trysts between Lady Dona St Columb and her pirate lover Jean-Benoit Aubery! The present generation of Vyvyans, Ferrers and Victoria – are experts on the history of Trelowarren and the du Maurier connection and regularly hold talks on Trelowarren’s history and surroundings. While you’re at Trelowarren you can also head off on any number of wonderful coastal and moorland walks and enjoy some of the best beaches in the world. You also have free use of the eco-estate’s big outdoor, heated ozone pool, tennis court and gym – and there’s the Walled Garden Organic Spa and the fantastic New Yard Restaurant all on site.
You can also take a great kayaking or river trip with the team at Koru right into Frenchman’s Creek where you can see kingfishers, egrets and all manner or wildlife.