The novel begins at Norland Park, a fictional estate in Sussex. Austen doesn't describe Norland in great detail, only that it was a "fine old house in the county of Sussex". Having spent most of her life neighbouring Hampshire, Austen would have been fairly familiar with Sussex and we know that she spent some time in Brighton and Worthing.
With his heart-warming tales of cosy homes filled with festive cheer, Charles Dickens helped to set the standard for our Yuletide traditions. So if you're looking for some festive inspiration this year, why not take a page out of Dickens' book...
A Victorian Christmas feast
One of Dickens' greatest contributions to our modern Christmas was idea of a special meal. In an 1835 essay entitled A Christmas Dinner, Dickens paints a picture of an idyllic Christmas celebration with a family gathering around the table to enjoy a Yuletide feast of turkey, mince pies and 'a gigantic pudding with a sprig of holly in the top'. Of course, people had Christmas dinner before Dickens wrote about it, but the author definitely helped to cement public ideas about what Christmas dinner should be.
There are a host of places offering traditional Christmas menus this year, including Dickens' own Bleak House in Broadstairs, as well as several stately homes managed by the National Trust. Or if you'd rather cook your own, why not try one of Mrs Dickens own recipes from her 1851 cookbook, What Shall we Have for Dinner?.