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Bath, the Cotswolds and Chelsea Flower Show

Exploring Bath and the Cotswolds

English Gardens in the footsteps of Jane Austen

May 14-22, 2011

In this marvelous program we combine everyone’s fascination with Jane Austen with some of the most beautiful scenery, exquisite villages and gardens in England. Follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps, walk where she has walked, stand where she must have stood, and tread where she has trod. See some of the incredible locations from the film versions of her novels, and just imagine… Explore and experience the countryside that inspired her to write Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.

We start in Hampshire. Amidst this stunning countryside, Jane was inspired to create many of her characters, whilst experiencing 18th century society for the first 25 years of her life. In the pretty village of Chawton we visit Jane Austen’s House and Museum. This 17th century house is where she wrote and revised many of her novels and the bookcase contains first editions of some of them.  In addition, the pretty garden has many varieties of plants and herbs common in the late 18th century.

Then to beautiful, Georgian Bath – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which was home to Jane Austen from 1801 to 1806 after she moved from rural Hampshire to enjoy fashionable city life. Jane Austen set two of her six published novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in Bath. Let the pages from her novels come to life as you visit their locations and discover more about her life in Bath. We will also visit the incredible Roman Baths, the magnificent 15th century Abbey and gardens in and around the city.

We’ll visit Lacock, a wonderfully preserved village dating from the 13th century, which played the village of ‘Meryton’ in the BBC’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Here the Bennet girls shopped for bonnets, sought the latest tittle-tattle from their Aunt Philips, and hoped to attract the attentions of the officers – in particular a certain Mr. Wickham. Lacock Abbey was also the location for films, Emma, Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, Cranford, The Other Boleyn Girl and Wolfman. And we’ll stop in Tetbury known for its 25 antique shops and home to Prince Charles’ Highgrove Shop (Highgrove, his home, is nearby.) The town is known as an ‘architectural gem’ as many of the wool merchants’ houses still look as they did 300 years ago.

And on to the glorious Cotswolds. The Cotswold landscape is one of the most evocative in England. Gently rolling hills, secluded wooded valleys, clear running streams, picturesque, unspoilt, golden stone villages all paint a picture of timeless beauty. One typical village is Adlestrop where Jane Austen made several visits to stay with her uncle who was the Church rector. It is rumored that the house and grounds of Adlestrop Park were the setting for her novel Mansfield Park. The crowning glory of the Cotswolds is its gardens and we will visit some of the finest including Hidcote Manor, Kiftsgate Court, Sudeley Castle and more.

As with all our personally escorted small group tours, many special features and lovely accommodations will be included. Space is extremely limited – call us now to hold your place.

Note: For those wishing to visit the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show the following week, we can extend your stay with independent arrangements in London

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