The well-loved novels of Jane Austen are known for their social commentary – often biting – on the lives of early 19th century women in the English middle and upper classes. They also wove popular tales of romance that are still revisited to this day through frequent film and TV adaptations. So take a tour of some of the stunning locations from the screen and some of the places that Austen herself would have visited during her lifetime with Street View.
Miniature portrait of Jane Austen by Anonymous, British SchoolThe Morgan Library & Museum
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Bennet's suitor Mr Bingley is a cheerful and popular man, unlike his companion Mr Darcy. He is also wealthy, said to be a "young man of four or five thousand a year." In the 2005 film adaptation of the book starring Keira Knightly, Netherfield, his grand house, is portrayed by the palladian-style Basildon Park in Berkshire.
In the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Lizzie Bennet is invited to dine at Rosings Park, the home of the esteemed, if not haughty, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She is the aunt of Colin Firth's Mr Darcy, and Belton House in Lincolnshire was used as the setting for her impressive mansion.
Lacock Village is a 13th-century village in Wiltshire, and due to its authentic half-timbered buildings — and lack of satellite dishes — it provided the perfect backdrop of Meryton in the 1995 adaptation. Austen invented the village where the Bennet girls would visit to do their shopping, and in the case of the younger sisters, flirt with the officers. Scenes from the 1996 movie version of Emma (another Austen classic) were also filmed here.
The most iconic moment from Prejudice's 1995 adaptation was undeniably when Colin Firth went for a swim upon returning to the Darcy family home of Pemberley and emerged in his dripping white shirt, only to bump into Elizabeth Bennett. Lyme House in Cheshire provided the backdrop to this iconic scene — which was not part of the original story in Austen's novel.
Chatsworth House in Derbyshire was not only namedropped in the novel Pride and Prejudice as one of the places that Elizabeth Bennet visited on her way to Pemberley, but in the 2005 film it actually represented Darcy's estate. It's contested as to whether Austen herself ever visited the stately home during her time in the area.
Somerset's Montacute house plays a part in the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, when Kate Winslet's Marianne treks through the rain to see the estate of the dashing John Willoughby, who broke her heart. She falls ill from the weather, and is brought to Cleveland, the home of the Palmer family, to recover.
Sydney Place in Bath is a place where Austen herself resided for 3 years up until 1804, after her father decided to retire here. Both the novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were set here, and no doubt Austen's time in the city was an influence.
Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire was home to the Leigh family, relatives of Jane Austen's mother. Jane stayed here for 10 days in 1806 and the Abbey is said to be the inspiration for Mansfield Park's Sotherton Court. Northanger Abbey has a similar background to Stoneleigh, as both were once old abbeys that became country homes.
One of the most pivotal scenes in Austen's Emma was set at Box Hill, a popular beauty spot in the Surrey countryside. Here Emma makes a cruel comment towards one of her fellow picnickers, Miss Bates, which causes Mr Knightly to confront Emma about her behaviour. This is when she realises that she cares deeply about what he thinks and is perhaps in love with him.
The Vyne is a large Tudor mansion near Basingstoke. Jane and her sister Cassandra are known to have attended dances at the house, which may have influenced Austen's observations about society and interactions between young men and women at the time.