When I think about England, and very often I do, I get all warm and happy inside. It isn’t the kidney pies and crowded London streets or ever-present rain, but the thought of what once existed there. I feel like Rapunzel sometimes, as if her floating lanterns are my England. Not to say going to England is my biggest dream, or the most important, but it’s one of many little dreams–a bucket list item. I want to see the places I’ve written about and all the grand estates featured in Jane Austen movies. I want to walk through the flourishing gardens and make friends with British people. Mostly just so I can hear them talk. I would listen all day. Then I would most likely try my hand at mimicking their accents, and they would be so appalled that they would no longer be my friend. BUT everything would be fine because I would be in England.
If only traveling was free and I had a buddy willing to scrape up the money to come with me. (anyone, anyone?) We could do bake sales to earn the money?! Lots and lots of bake sales.
But because I hope I’ll go there eventually, I have compiled a dream list of the places I would LOVE to visit in England. In no particular order…
- Jane Austen House Museum in Hampshire
Isn’t it cute? The museum houses a collection of artifacts like Jane’s writing table and her personal library. You can take yourself on a quick tour or stay as long as you want – you can even stay all day and have a picnic in Jane Austen’s garden.
2. Basildon Park in Berkshire
It’s Mr. Bingley’s house, Netherfield! (From the 2005 Pride and Prejudice)
3. Belton House in Lincolnshire
This one is especially special to me. It was my original inspiration for the house in Mischief and Manors. It would be amazing to see it in person! It appeared in the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as the house of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The only turn off is that Mr. Collins has been there. Yikes. He made me laugh but holy moly is he creepy!
4. Lacock Village in Wiltshire
This 13th century village appeared in the BBC adaptation of, again, Pride and Prejudice as the village of Meryton. There’s a bunch of things you can do there, including visiting the village’s abbey and looking around the Fox Talbot photography museum. And BONUS: It was also used for several scenes in the Harry Potter films.
5. Horsted Keynes Railway Station in Sussex
Also known as The Historic Site of the Best On-screen Kiss of All Time. You remember that scene at the end of BBC’s North and South? Thank you John Thornton for the many squeals and happy movie watching hours. I just had to throw this one in the mix. Eeep!
6. Lyme Park in Cheshire
It’s Pemberley! I’m sure this house is so much fun to tour. I would eat it all up.
7. Stourhead Gardens in Wiltshire
So the house at Stourhead is completely stunning and the Landscape Gardens featured in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice. One of the garden’s temples was used as the location for Mr Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth. And she says no. Crazy lady.
8. Compton Castle in Devon
This castle is featured in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility as Mr Willoughby’s estate. Isn’t it gorgeous?
9. Mompesson house in Wiltshire
This one was the filming location for Mrs Jennings’ townhouse, also in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. To me, this house is the epitome of an adorable English townhouse. I want to live there. That car parked out front totally looks like mine so…it’s meant to be.
10. Claydon house in Buckinghamshire
This house was the location used for the ballroom scene in the 1996 version of Emma. You can tour the ballroom and visit the house’s museum room and browse its second hand bookshop.
11. Craster, Northumberland
Okay. A little info behind my second Regency romance novel: It takes place here in Craster, Northumberland, close to the Scottish border. I think it is absolutely beautiful in a different way. Most Regency romance novels tend to take place in the lush countryside in stately houses and among flourishing gardens and fancy people, which I love! But there’s something about Northumberland that pulled me when I started looking at photos and researching a setting for my other story. I loved the idea of a place that is bright and green at the same time that it feels dreary and haunting. A place where the sky is grey more than it’s blue. With small houses and hard working people and handsome fishermen 😉 😉 My story may or may not include a handsome fisherman.
12. Dunstanburgh Castle
Last but not least! This castle is also in Northumberland. It’s seriously breathtaking. It was built on the most magnificent scale, and rivalled any castle of its day. The dramatic ruins stand on a remote headland, reached by a beautiful coastal walk from nearby Craster.
I hope this made you want to go to England. Hopefully one of these days (Or years) I’ll have some pictures to share that I took with my own camera. Keep dreaming, people! I’ll make it to England! Who’s with me?