The novel begins at Kellynch Hall, a fictional estate in Somerset(shire) where Anne Elliot lives with her father, Sir Walter, and elder sister, Elizabeth. Although we can't know for sure if Austen based the house on a real place, some think that Barrington Court fits the bill geographically as it is located about 20 miles from Lyme Regis and 50 miles from Bath. Now owned by the National Trust, this impressive Tudor property featured as Cardnal Wolsey's house in the Wolf Hall miniseries.
"...the remarkable situation of the town, the principal street almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing machines and company; the Cobb itself, its old wonders and new improvements, with the very beautiful line of cliffs stretching out to the east of the town, are what the stranger's eye will seek; and a very strange stranger it must be, who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better." (Persuasion Chapter 11)
Jane Austen visited Lyme Regis in Dorset on two separate occasions in 1803 and 1804 and was instantly taken with it. This pretty coastal village plays a crucial role in the novel. It's here that Anne and Captain Wentworth begin to rekindle their romance and where Louisa Musgrave falls from the Cobb, the iconic harbour wall.
One of Austen's most Bath-centric novels (along with Northanger Abbey), Persuasion delves into the hierarchy of Regency society in the fashionable spa town. Anne doesn't care for Bath and is reluctant to move there. "She disliked Bath, and did not think it agreed with her; and Bath was to be her home." (Persuasion Chapter 2)
Austen uses many real places in Bath including the The Assembly Rooms (pictured above), the Pump Room and Camden Place (now Camden Crescent). And Austen carefully places her characters' homes according to their social status. (This excellent article on Jasna.org offers an in-depth analysis of Austen's use of Bath geography in Persuasion.) Each location seems to have a deeper meaning. So it's perhaps no coincidence when Anne bumps into Captain Wentworth on Union Street towards the end of the novel.
Situated in the heart of Mayfair, this luxury London hotel has long been a favorite among literary and artistic circles. The Dorchester began hosting the famous Foyles Literary Luncheons in the 1930's, which allowed readers the opportunity to mingle with well-known authors and discuss their latest works. Always a popular destination for movie stars, the hotel has also hosted literary notables such as Somerset Maugham and Cecil Day Lewis.
Park Lane, Mayfair
One of London's original grand hotels, The Langham has attracted a parade of rich and famous guests over the years, from Napoleon III to Princess Diana, as well as literary giants like Mark Twain. In 1889, the hotel hosted an important meeting between Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle and a literary agent, who persuaded the men to write for his magazine. This encounter led to Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and Conan Doyle's second Sherlock Holmes story, The Sign of Four.
Living nearby, Conan Doyle was a regular visitor to The Langham and featured the hotel in several Sherlock Holmes stories. Just a short walk from the Sherlock Holmes Museum, The Langham is the perfect destination for fans of the fictional detective.
1c Portland Place
Burgh Island Hotel
Located on its own tidal island, this iconic Devon hotel was a favorite of local author Agatha Christie, who's novel And Then There Were None was set on a fictionalised version of Burgh Island. Built in 1929, this stunning Art Deco building was lovingly restored in 2006 and still retains all of its 1930's glamour. The hotel hosts regular murder mystery parties and jazz evenings, as well an annual luncheon during the Agatha Christie festival in September.
Burgh Island Hotel
South Devon TQ7 4BG
The Balmoral Hotel
While staying at this iconic Edinburgh hotel in 2007, J.K. Rowling finished her final novel in the Harry Potter series. To commemorate the event, Rowling signed a marble bust of Hermes in her suite with the inscription: "JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11th Jan 2007". In 2010, the author appeared in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey at the hotel.
1 Princes Street
Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
Beatrix Potter bought this large country house for her recently widowed mother in 1915. The Potter family had previously stayed here as guests and it was during one of those visits that Beatrix completed the illustrations for Timmy Tiptoes and Pigling Bland. Now a charming hotel, Lindeth Howe offers a relaxing lakeside retreat.
Cumbria LA23 3JF
Founded in 1837, Brown's Hotel boasts an illustrious history and a long list of notable literary guests including Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, JM Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle. It was here that Mark Twain famously shocked London society by appearing in the lobby in his dressing gown and slippers. Today guests can opt to stay in the Kipling Suite, where Rudyard Kipling once worked on The Jungle Book.
London W1S 4BP
The CADoGAN Hotel
Situated in the heart of Knightsbridge, this boutique hotel boasts a fascinating history. Built in 1887, the hotel was once home to Lillie Langtry, a stage actress and mistress to King Edward VII. A close friend of Langtry, Oscar Wilde was also a regular visitor and in 1895, Wilde was arrested here in room 118 (pictured). The hotel is currently undergoing an extensive renovation and will reopen as The Belmond Cadogan later this year.
75 Sloane Street
London, SW1X 9SG
One of Sir Ian Fleming's favourite watering holes, the bar of this five-star London hotel is famed for its dry Martinis and it is thought to be the origin of the phrase 'shaken not stirred'. With its luxurious suites and legendary bar, Dukes London is just the kind of place James Bond would have stayed.
35 St James's PL
St. James's, Mayfair
The Royal Albion Hotel
Just a few steps from the sandy beaches of Viking Bay, this charming seaside hotel dates back to 1776. Charles Dickens frequented the Royal Albion during his regular visits to Broadstairs, before taking up residence at nearby Bleak House. The hotel plays an important role in the town’s annual Dickens festival in June.
6 – 12 Albion Street
Beloved children's author, Enid Byton was a regular visitor to this Dorset hotel in the 1950's and it was on one of her many visits here that she first discovered Brownsea Island, which featured as Whispering Island in Five Have a Mystery to Solve.
Ferry Road, Studland,
Dorset, BH19 3AH