Jane Austen on location

Lyme Park in Cheshire was the setting for Colin Firth's famous dip. Credit: VisitBritain/Joe Wainwright/Cheshire County Council
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“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort,” wrote Jane Austen in Emma. But the truth is: one of Britain’s most loved novelists was inspired by many beautiful places beyond her own hearth.

The most recent of the stately homes to figure in the Austen canon is believed to be Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire. Historian Dr Robert Clark last year proposed a theory that the home of relatives of Spencer Perceval, the only-ever assassinated British Prime Minister, also doubled as the inspiration for Mansfield Park, which happens to be set in Northamptonshire.

Yet perhaps the best loved of Austen’s locations is Pemberley, Mr Darcy’s ancestral home, which Elizabeth Bennet falls for even before she falls for the man himself.

The source of inspiration for this world-famous location is said to be Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire, which was used in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, whose bust Chatsworth has hung on to as a souvenir of the film.

Darcy’s initial proposal, however, took place in the stunning landscape gardens of Stourhead. Finally, a third spectacular property, Lyme Park in Cheshire, will forever be associated with Colin Firth and his impromptu dip in the 1995 BBC adaptation of the same novel.

Scroll down for stunning photographs of some of locations, which inspired Jane Austen or appear in adaptations of her work…

Chatsworth House is said to have inspired Pemberley. Credit: VisitBritain/Visit Peaks
Chatsworth House is said to have inspired Pemberley. Credit: VisitBritain/Visit Peaks/Daniel Bosworth
Spring at Lyme Park. Credit: VisitBritain/Joe Wainwright/Cheshire County Council
Spring at Lyme Park. Credit: VisitBritain/Joe Wainwright/Cheshire County Council
the pantheon, Stourhead, Wiltshire, England.
Stourhead landscape gardens were the scene of Darcy’s first proposal in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View
Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, where the 1996 adaptation of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, was set. Credit: VisitBritain
Claydon House in Buckinghamshire, featured in the 1996 adaptation of Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View
The city of Bath is a UNESCO world heritage site, and a popular tourist destination. There are Georgian buildings in honey coloured Bath stone in long sweeping terraces.
Jane Austen loved Bath, where she set Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Credit: VisitBritain/Stephen Spraggon
The Lacock bakery in Lacock Village, Wiltshire, England UK
The pretty village of Lacock in Wiltshire featured as Meryton in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View

To read our full feature on Jane Austen’s sublime settings, see the February/March 2016 issue of Discover Britain, which is on sale on 8 January.

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