Literary connections in London and the South East

The pale green sitting room at Monk's House

The South East has some really exciting literary connections. So if you like the works of Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf, or have watched the film adaptions of some of literature's great works, take some time to explore our special places.

Scene from the film Far From The Madding Crowd

Claydon in Far From the Madding Crowd 

The latest film adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel Far From the Madding Crowd was filmed in part at Claydon in Buckinghamshire. We also look after two of Hardy’s homes and a heathland which inspired him.

Jane Austen on and off screen

James Austen, the brother of Jane Austen was the vicar of Sherborne St. John, the parish church for The Vyne from 1791 to 1819. Edward, Jane's nephew, married Emma Smith, the niece of the Chute family who lived at the Vyne, in 1828. Jane and her sister Cassandra attended dances here - perhaps these dances inspired some of her famous ball scenes in her books?

Basildon Park took a starring role in the 2005 production of 'Pride & Prejudice', starring Keira Knightley as Lizzy and Matthew MacFadyen as Darcy. The 18th-century Palladian mansion 'played' Mr Bingley's house, ‘Netherfield’, a suitably grand residence for a 'young man of four or five thousand a year'.

The 2009 the BBC TV version of 'Emma' starring Romola Garai as Emma and Jonny Lee Miller as George Knightley, features Box Hill as the backdrop for a picnic in the final episode

Basildon Park in Pride and Prejudice
View across the parkland to the West front at Basildon Park

The homes of Vita Sackville - West

Vita Sackville-West, the poet and writer, moved to Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the 1930s with her diplomat and author husband, Harold Nicolson.

The structure of the garden rooms, and the lush planting in the gardens by Vita and Harold reflect the romance and intimacy of her poems and writings.

Oil painting on canvas, Victoria (Vita) Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson (1892-1962) by Philip Alexius de László de Lombos

Vita Sackville-West and Knole 

Discover Vita Sackville-West's connection to Knole; her colourful life and her literary legacy as a poet, novelist, gardener, biographer and journalist.

Inpiration for Victorian writers

Follow in the footsteps of Dickens, Ruskin, Tennyson with a visit to Carlyle's House, hidden in the quiet back streets of Chelsea.

Lesser known now, a  twist of fate turned Thomas Carlyle into a star of the 19th-century literary world.
 

Literary East Sussex

Girl running under a line of trees at Batemans

Glimpse behind the Just So Stories 

Bateman's, East Sussex was home to Rudyard Kipling. Visit with your family to glimpse behind the Just So Stories and see illustrations from The Jungle Book.

Filming for a 2014 BBC adaptation of EF Benson's Mapp and Lucia stories at Lamb House, East Sussex

Lamb House at literary heart of Mapp and Lucia 

The BBC adaptation of the EF Benson novels ‘Mapp and Lucia’ was filmed at Lamb House. Benson lived in the red brick Georgian house and based the fictional home of the books’ title characters on it.

The Writing Lodge at Monk's House, East Sussex

Monk's House, East Sussex 

Virginia Woolf is recognised as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th century. She and her husband Leonard purchased Monk’s House in 1919, at the start of Virginia’s career as a published author. The cottage garden and surrounding Sussex landscape were a constant source of inspiration for Virginia. You can visit this intimate home, which is still full of their favourite things, and get the sense that the couple have just stepped out for a walk.