“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…