Jane Austen’s London, London

Jane Austen’s London (Self Guided), London

The celebrated English novelist Jane Austen primarily lived between Bath and Hampshire. However, London also held a special significance in Austen's life. Many of her novels drew inspiration from the capital, like Lydia Bennet and Mr Wickham’s elopement in “Pride & Prejudice.”

One of Austen's cherished spots in London was Twinings, a renowned tea shop. Jane Austen was known for her love of tea, and this place offered her a wide array of tea varieties to indulge in, inspiring her literary pursuits.

Another significant location in Austen's London experience was the Drury Lane Theatre. This iconic theater was a hub for entertainment during Austen's era; a place where she could have found inspiration for the vibrant social settings depicted in her novels.

At 10 Henrietta Street, Jane Austen resided for a short period. This address holds historical significance as it was where she stayed during her visits to the city.

The National Portrait Gallery is yet another spot linked to Jane Austen's legacy in the capital. Although the gallery was founded after her time, it houses portraits of individuals from that era, providing insight into the faces of those who might have influenced her characters.

Additionally, 50 Albemarle Street and 23 Hans Place are addresses associated with Jane Austen's time in London, reflecting her presence and offering glimpses into the vibrant society of the period.

These are some of the places in London where the memory of Jane Austen lives on. Anyone interested in exploring her London connections should consider visiting them. Take our self-guided tour of Jane Austen’s London and celebrate the life of some of Britain's most prominent literary figures through these historical landmarks.
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Jane Austen’s London Map

Guide Name: Jane Austen’s London
Guide Location: England » London (See other walking tours in London)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 Km or 2.7 Miles
Author: jimz
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Twinings (Jane Austen's Favorite Tea Shop in London)
  • Drury Lane Theatre
  • 10 Henrietta Street
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • 50 Albemarle Street
  • 23 Hans Place
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Twinings (Jane Austen's Favorite Tea Shop in London)

1) Twinings (Jane Austen's Favorite Tea Shop in London)

Twinings' flagship store, a venerable establishment nestled in the heart of London, holds a rich history that dates back over three centuries. The journey of Twinings began with Thomas Twining in 1706 when he acquired Tom's Coffee House, a serendipitous name for an establishment destined for a different beverage. Situated in a prime location, the coffee house was strategically positioned amidst the opulent neighborhoods emerging around Devereux Court, following the aftermath of the Great Fire of London. In a fiercely competitive market boasting over 2000 coffee houses, Thomas Twining sought to distinguish his business by introducing high-quality tea. Despite the exorbitant tea taxes, this exotic beverage was rapidly gaining popularity, particularly among the upper-class ladies of London.

A visit to Twinings' flagship store allows tea enthusiasts to step back in time and savor the same exquisite teas that once delighted the palate of the iconic Jane Austen. With a legacy spanning more than three centuries on Strand Street, this esteemed tea shop has been immortalized in Austen's writings. In her diaries, there are references to her mother, Cassandra, who would often task her with procuring Twinings tea to bring back to the West. Twinings' flagship store stands as a testament to the enduring allure of tea and its integral role in London's history.
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Drury Lane Theatre

2) Drury Lane Theatre

The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, affectionately known as Drury Lane, is a prominent West End theatre located in the heart of Covent Garden, London. This Grade I listed building stands as the most recent iteration of a series of four theatres that have graced this historic spot. The earliest of these theatres dates back to 1663, marking it as the oldest theatre site still in active use within London.

As noted by author Peter Thomson, Drury Lane could reasonably assert itself as London's premier theatre during its first two centuries of existence. It held the prestigious status of being one of the few patent theatres for the majority of that period, enjoying exclusive rights to stage "legitimate" drama in the city.

For Jane Austen, the theatre held a special place, not just as a leisure activity but as a wellspring of inspiration. The illustrious Drury Lane Theatre, located a short distance from her lodgings at 10 Henrietta Street, played a significant role in her work "Sense and Sensibility." In the theatre's lobby, a pivotal scene unfolds as John Willoughby learns of Marianne Dashwood's illness during an unexpected encounter with Sir John Middleton.
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10 Henrietta Street

3) 10 Henrietta Street

10 Henrietta Street in London bears historical significance as it once served as the residence of Henry Austen and his wife. The house holds a unique place in the life of the celebrated author Jane Austen, as it was where she often stayed during her visits to London. In the summer of 1813 and again in March 1814, Jane found herself in the welcoming confines of 10 Henrietta Street.

The house was an ideal choice for the Austen siblings, as it was conveniently located within walking distance of cultural hubs like Covent Garden and the illustrious Drury Lane Theater. This proximity to the thriving theater scene made it a perfect dwelling for Jane and Eliza, who shared a deep-seated passion for the theatrical arts. Jane's connection to 10 Henrietta Street adds another layer to the rich tapestry of her life, providing an insight into her cultural interests and the places that influenced her writing.
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National Portrait Gallery

4) National Portrait Gallery

Reopened in 2023 after a substantial redevelopment, the National Portrait Gallery boasts an impressive collection of over 220,000 works, ranking among the world's most extensive assemblages of portraits. It serves as a visual narrative, chronicling the history of Britain since the 16th century, providing tangible faces to the historical figures familiar from textbooks. Founded in 1856, the gallery's first acquisition was the renowned portrayal of William Shakespeare, famously known as the "Chandos portrait", which still graces its walls. The gallery houses a vast array of other portraits, encompassing kings, queens, musicians, artists, and intellectuals from every epoch since the time of Henry VII.

The extensive refurbishment, valued in the tens of millions, has revitalized the Victorian structure, introducing a new visitor entrance named Ross Place and an airy forecourt on its northern façade. The entire collection has been thoughtfully reorganized, bringing to the forefront lesser-known individuals and narratives from British history while incorporating more pieces from the gallery's expansive photographic archive.

The primary collection is organized chronologically, beginning with the Tudor and Stuart Galleries on the 2nd floor and descending to contemporary portraits found on the ground floor and in the newly unveiled Weston Wing. Additionally, the gallery hosts special exhibitions, which may require an admission fee.

***JANE AUSTEN WALK***

A leisurely visit to the National Portrait Gallery in London offers a unique opportunity to connect with the world of Jane Austen and her illustrious contemporaries. Among the captivating portraits adorning its walls, you'll discover a particularly intimate treasure: Jane Austen's own visage, thoughtfully sketched by her sister Cassandra. As you wander through the gallery's hallowed halls, you'll immerse yourself in the visual tapestry of Austen's era, surrounded by portraits of her notable peers.

Why You Should Visit:
An exceptional assortment of portraits, where royalty, celebrities, and the common folk are represented on canvas. No other museum in London feels so purely English.

Tip:
Make sure to secure a reservation in advance if you wish to dine at the fantastic restaurant atop the building, which offers breathtaking views, as it tends to be fully booked.
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50 Albemarle Street

5) 50 Albemarle Street

50 Albemarle Street serves as a lasting symbol of Jane Austen's ties to London's literary realm. This location once accommodated the renowned publisher John Murray, responsible for bringing Austen's novels, including Emma and the second edition of Mansfield Park, to the eager readers of the time. Although the physical structure may have evolved, the profound literary heritage associated with this address endures, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape of English literature.
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23 Hans Place

6) 23 Hans Place

23 Hans Place, an elegant London residence, is infused with the poignant history of the beloved author Jane Austen. The house gained a significant place in Austen's life after Eliza, the wife of her brother Henry Austen, passed away. Henry relocated to 23 Hans Place, and this charming abode became a familiar setting for Jane during her visits in 1814 and 1815. The allure of the building and the picturesque garden square left a lasting impression on the author.

In 1815, as Jane Austen was meticulously preparing her novel "Emma" for publication, her life took a different turn. She embarked on a journey to London, intending to oversee her literary endeavors. However, unforeseen circumstances arose as her brother fell seriously ill, necessitating her extended stay in the city to care for him. This poignant visit to 23 Hans Place would mark her last sojourn in London. Tragically, just 19 months later, Jane Austen passed away in Hampshire, leaving behind an unparalleled literary legacy that continues to captivate readers around the world.

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