Jane Austen lived in an exciting age for travel. Improvements to roads and carriages meant that more people than ever were taking journeys for pleasure, to view picturesque scenery, to visit a spa town or the seaside, or to stay with distant relations.
The Austen family were very much part of this trend, and Jane was familiar with most of the counties of southern England, from Kent in the east to Devon in the west, and as far north as Staffordshire. With one exception, all of her heroines leave home at some point in their story to travel to a different part of the country and, even in Emma, where the heroine remains in her village, other characters travel about in quest of health, amusement or a marriage partner.
Hazel Jones provides the context for this rage for travel, drawing on a wide range of archives and contemporary printed material, as well as on Jane Austen’s own letters and novels. From maps to inns, from travelling dress to turnpikes, every detail is brought vividly before the reader’s eyes.