Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen’s House Museum

Chawton Cottage, Jane Austen’s House Museum

Chawton Cottage, now known as Jane Austen’s House Museum, might be the single most significant Jane Austen site in the world, but the symbolic value of this modest abode goes far beyond bricks and mortar. Sometimes a house is not only a home, this little cottage also changed Jane’s life. 

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Armchair Books, Edinburgh

Armchair Books, Edinburgh

There are a multitude of reasons why Edinburgh was crowned the first UNESCO City of Literature, from the exceptional libraries, quirky independent bookshops, and illustrious literary history, the Scottish capital is a wonderland for bibliophiles. Edinburgh has inspired the backdrop of many stories, so it’s no surprise that this city is also teeming with top notch literary haunts.

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Leakey’s Bookshop, Inverness

Leakey’s Bookshop, Inverness

In the pretty riverside town of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, the most northerly city in the United Kingdom, you will find the iconic Leakey’s Bookshop. This one of a kind shop is literally an old Gaelic church filled floor to ceiling with beautiful books.

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The Jane Austen Centre, Bath

The Jane Austen Centre, Bath

The first stop on my little Jane Austen road trip was Bath, where Jane lived between 1801 and 1806, and set two novels, Northanger Abbey & Persuasion. The problematic nature of being a woman in Regency England was that you had to marry to secure your future. Jane Austen wove this predicament into her novels, implying ever so gently that this was utter nonsense.

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John Sandoe Books, London

John Sandoe Books, London

Tucked away on a quiet street off Chelsea’s bustling Kings Road, is a wonderful independent bookshop, John Sandoe Books. The bookshop remains in the original location on Blacklands Terrace where John Sandoe first set up shop, now spanning three side by side stores acquired over fifty years.

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Word on the Water, London Book Barge

Word on the Water, London Book Barge

A once wandering 1920’s barge has taken up permanent residence along York Way on London’s Granary Square, just a short walk from Kings Cross and the British Library. Yet, this is no ordinary passenger barge, it’s a floating bookshop called Word on the Water – a trove of new and pre-loved books stacked amidst a funky bohemian ambience.

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Highclere Castle, The Real Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle, The Real Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle has become one of England’s most recognisable homes, as the real life setting and filming location of television series, Downton Abbey. I have seen every single episode of Downton and grew to love the characters, their fanciful plots, and the centrepiece at the heart of the show – the house itself. Highclere Castle is an elaborate Jacobethan style castle set upon 1,000 acres in Hampshire, England. George and Fiona Herbert are the current Lord and Lady, known more formally as the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon.

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