Rent the cottage that Jane Austen stayed in

On January 1 a new three part adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” by Andrew Davies started on BBC (part two on Sunday January 6, part three on Sunday January 13). We arrived the day after episode one was broadcast, but caught it at the hotel because their TV system has an “On Demand” type feature where you can watch recently broadcast programs. (Big thanks to Clive who picked us up at the airport for telling us about the series!) The BBC website lets you view episodes for one week after they broadcast (BBC iPlayer ) but only if your ISP is in the United Kingdom (there may be ways around this). The third and final episode broadcasts on Sunday. This is a very good adaptation of one of my favorite novels.

The Jane Austen Society site says the DVD of this series will be available on March 1, 2008 in North America, but I do not find it listed on Amazon.

See the BBC website for video clips and more information.

Rent the Dashwood’s Cottage!

The Devon cottage where most of the story action takes place is a holiday cottage (vacation rental) – Blackpool Mill, a 15th century cottage in north Devon, on the Hartland Abbey Estate.

Okay, this is not a cottage where Jane Austen stayed, but it is the next best thing. And the cottage was there during Jane Austen’s time.

The four bedroom cottage stands alone beside the sea and has been rented as a holiday cottage for over 50 years. It is rustic – a “bring your own sheets and towels” type of rental. From their brochure: “Mains electricity for the first time in 2007! … We have just installed central heating and a dishwasher so things are really looking up!!”

Hartland Abbey is in north Devon, on the Atlantic coast between Exmoor and Cornwall, just west of the town of Bideford.

Weekly rental prices are not listed on the brochure, but the Guardian article I read listed them. “Bookings have jumped since its debut on New Year’s Day, but this has always been a top spot for those with £1,100 to spend on a week in high season (not bad if you fill all eight beds, and it comes down to £450 from late October to mid-March).”

The Guardian, January 7 2008, “Austen drums up custom for a scenic holiday home“.

BBC News, January 3 2008, “Austen boost for holiday cottage” .

Telegraph, January 3 2008, “Sense and Sensibility cottage to be holiday hit“.

The main website for Hartland Abbey was not working this morning, maybe because of increased traffic since all the media mentions, but it is working now. From the BBC article: “The screening of the first episode of the drama on New Year’s Day led to a surge of interest. ‘The phone has been ringing since the first programme went out,’ said Sir Hugh Stucley, who owns Blackpool Mill.”

This cottage would be a perfect get-away. Can’t you just picture yourself standing in front of the cottage looking out over the sea, expecting that cad Willoughby to come down the road at any minute? (The menfolk can walk along the hillside looking for a Marianne to rescue.)

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Pauline Kenny

Pauline Kenny and Steve Cohen are US expats living in Dorset. We moved to the UK in 2010. Read about our move. If you would like to talk about travel, please join us on the Slow Europe Travel Forums.