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Stroll through exquisitely tended gardens, allowing the scents and sounds of the countryside to welcome you to Gravetye Manor, a peaceful home away from home. Set on 35 acres of enchanting gardens in the Sussex countryside, this hotel is an idyllic rural escape. Named after trees found on the estate, the 17 richly furnished rooms are designed with classic aesthetics in mind. Luxurious fabrics and carefully chosen antiques pick up on the floral theme that runs through the gardens and into the hotel itself. The rooms offer views out over the gardens, meadows and lake. Take a seat in the wood-panelled restaurant for a relaxed meal, or enjoy a pleasant lunch out in the garden. The Michelin starred head chef uses the freshest homegrown produce from the estate to create his seasonal modern British menu. The Gravetye team are proud of their gardens and love to see guests enjoying and using them as they were intended. Sip a cup of tea surrounded by fragrant blooms, stroll along stone pathways and breathe in the scents, and spend some time exploring the wild garden. Let the natural beauty of the estate rejuvenate you.
- 17 rooms
With a fascinating history, there’s plenty for Jane Austen enthusiasts to soak up over the next few days. Whether visiting coastal towns or stately homes with impressive art collections, a visit to Sussex is memorable.
Follow your guide on a bracing walk on Box Hill, classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, for wonderful views over Surrey. An ever popular spot among locals - especially cyclists - it was the setting for an important passage of Jane Austen's novel Emma.
The county of Kent is known as the Garden of England and is situated just to the south east of London. At Squerryes country estate, you’ll be welcomed by the owner and his family and enjoy the opportunity to learn about how an English country estate is managed in the 21st century. The house and grounds are usually closed to the public, but you’ll visit the elegant reception rooms with their wonderful collection of paintings, including many family portraits, and drive across the estate to view the vineyards where some of the best English sparkling wine is produced. You’ll have a chance to sample some of this wine at a private tasting hosted by the estate’s wine expert.
In the idyllic rolling green countryside just an hour south of London, the Four Seasons Hampshire takes up residence in a restored Georgian century country house surrounded by hundreds of acres of green fields and grazing horses. Inside is a seamless blend of classical 18th century features and thoroughly modern touches, with 133 bright rooms and suites. Dining options include a fine dining restaurant, Seasons, and a more casual bistro, with food celebrating local produce and ingredients from the estate. Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the library and the bar is warmed by an open fire.Encapsulating estate life, activities here range from horse riding at the equestrian centre, clay pigeon shooting, tennis or simply relaxing in the wonderful spa located in the old stable block. The surrounded countryside has plenty to explore and you can even borrow the hotel’s own canal barge for a relaxing rural cruise. For families, there is a fabulous kids’ club to keep the young ones well entertained.
- 133 rooms
- Fine dining restaurant, bistro and bar
- Spa and sauna
- Tennis court
- Kids' club
- Fitness centre
The southern English of county Hampshire contains everything that makes this part of the UK so appealing. Rolling green hills, quaint villages, historic cities such as Winchester, Southampton and Portsmouth, the stunning New Forest and a stretch of sandy coastline overlooking the Isle of Wight. Notable natives include Saxon King Alfred the Great, engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and the writers Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Visit Jane Austen’s House Museum, in the quaint village of Chawton, Hampshire. This house is where she spent the last eight years of her life. Today, the house is a fascinating insight into Austen’s life and work and houses objects that were dear to here, including her original writing desk.
The local manor house in the village of Chawton was once owned by Jane Austen’s brother, Edward. Today, it contains a unique collection of books written by some of Britain’s most important female writers including Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft.
Today your guide will take you to some of the hidden sites connected to the life of Jane Austen. In the village of Steventon you’ll visit the church where her father was rector. The nearby village of Ashe is a typically picturesque Hampshire village and it was here that Austen’s friends the Lefroys lived.
Formerly the capital of England, Winchester retains many important buildings and is one of the country’s finest cathedral cities. Jane Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral and her place of rest is an important but sombre stopping point for fans of the author.
Visit the ancient country seat at The Vyne, a fine Tudor mansion originally built for Henry VIII’s Lord Chamberlain. It was here that Austen attended dances and learned the social etiquette that she later evoked in her novels.
In Salisbury, another magnificent medieval town, you’ll visit Mompesson House, the location for Mrs Jenning’s townhouse in the 1995 film Sense and Sensibility. It is located in Salisbury’s perfectly preserved Cathedral Close, surrounding one of the most complete examples of English medieval church architecture.
Situated in Bath’s Georgian Royal Crescent, this luxurious hotel is spread across two neoclassical townhouses – perfectly encapsulating English grandeur. After a revamp in 2014 the hotel offers the perfect blend of its former 18th-century style with all the modern comforts of the 21st century. From the award-winning restaurant, state of the art gym, exceptional spa and its acre of pristine manicured gardens, luxury exudes in every detail here. Grand staircases lead to impressive lounges with chandeliers, and each sophisticated suite is designed in the traditional 18th century style from luxury bedding to the period paintings mounted on the walls. The hotel sits on a peaceful and residential crescent overlooking the lawns, but only a five-minute walk to the city centre, giving its guests the best of both worlds.
- 45 rooms and suites
- Restaurant and bar
With its beautiful Georgian architecture, sweeping crescents and honey-coloured church spires, Bath is one of England’s most charming cities, its famous hot springs attracting people since the Roman times. At the heart of the city is Bath Abbey, with its magnificent fan vaulting and stained glass windows. Next door, you’ll find the world-famous Roman Baths, where the city’s thermal springs still rise and the baths still flow with natural hot water.
One of the joys of visiting Bath is wandering along its streets lined with grand town houses. Those with the most enviable of post codes sit along the remarkable Royal Crescent. 30 Grade I listed houses arch around a perfectly manicured lawn, looking out over Royal Victoria Park. It is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture and epitomises why Bath was, and still is, considered one of the most elegant cities in the UK.
Bath was a vibrant spa town in Jane’s day and had a lively social scene that was evoked in her novels. The Assembly Rooms were at the heart of Bath Society and Jane herself attended balls here on many occasions. Her former homes are still standing and the elegant interiors of Georgian Bath are brought to life in the No 1 Royal Crescent Museum. Visit the highlights of Bath with your guide and discover the city that Jane Austen would have known, including the Gravel Walk and Georgian Garden and a stop at the Fashion Museum to see some of the costumes worn in the Regency period.
The iconic BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice was filmed at some of the most beautiful locations in the south of England. The perfectly preserved medieval village of Lacock was used as the setting for Meryton and featured prominently in the 1995 series.
A short way south of Bath, Stourhead is home to England’s most exceptional landscaped park. Despite its natural look, almost the entirety of the great house's estate was meticulously designed in the 18th century. A walk around the lake past temples and through a grotto tells the story of Aeneas's descent in to the underworld, while the rest of the 1,072-hectare (2,650-acre) garden features Baroque vistas and dozen of follies including the enormous King Alfred's Tower.
The sweeping vistas, peppered with temples, follies, a serpentine lake and picturesque bridge,
Basildon Park is a grand 18th century Palladian country house that suffered much neglect in the 20th, being used as a military hospital and tank training ground as well as surviving a failed attempt attempt to dismantle and rebuild the house in the USA.
Rescued from near dereliction by Lord and Lady Iliffe in the 1950s, it is now open to the public and also a popular filming spot having featured in 2005's Pride & Prejudice, Downton Abbey, Dorian Gray, Marie-Antoinette and even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Built in 1666 by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham as a gift to his mistress, Cliveden House is a beautifully historic Grade I-listed building set within 376 acres of National Trust Grounds. It has played host to many an occasion in its 350-year history and today it is every bit as glamorous as it once was. The house has stayed true to its roots, with antique furniture, period pieces and beautiful artwork adorning the walls. Entering the property feels like stepping back in time, but with all the modern amenities and facilities of a contemporary luxury hotel, guests can enjoy the best of both worlds. 47 rooms and suites are spacious and elegant, many coming with private terraces that look out over the courtyard and the surrounding countryside. There is also a three-bedroom cottage perched on the banks of the River Thames with a private garden, two lounge areas with open fireplaces and a kitchen with its own dining area. Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating and drinking. Enjoy fine dining at Andre Garrett, where locally sourced ingredients and a menu that follows the seasons create a brilliantly British dining experience. For a more informal atmosphere, enjoy the mix of classic American and British dishes at the Astor Grill, located in the old stable block, and for something quintessentially English, take afternoon tea in the great hall. The Pavilion Spa is tucked away in the walled garden, and here you can enjoy a dip in the indoor or outdoor pool or relax and unwind with a signature treatment. There is also a fitness suite as well as indoor and outdoor tennis courts.
- 47 rooms and suites
- Two restaurants
- Great hall
- Indoor and outdoor pool
- Fitness centre
- Tennis courts
One of the Home Counties - the name given to counties that surround London - Berkshire is renowned for its connections to the Royal Family, with Windsor Castle one of its star attractions. There are pretty towns and villages to explore, beautiful stately homes and gardens that burst into colour in spring, summer and autumn. The River Thames winds its way through pretty, peaceful countryside, and you're also only never far from the bright lights of London, meaning you really do get the best of both worlds.
As you settle down to partake of afternoon tea, you’ll be joined by the great novelist herself. The palatial style of Cliveden’s elegant drawing rooms is perhaps a little too grand for Jane’s taste, but the modest Jane will be put at ease once she discovers you have read her novels. Take the opportunity to meet Jane and tell her about your trip and the week you’ve spent exploring her characters and the locations that were important to Jane in her life
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