Southwest of London, the county of Hampshire epitomises England’s reputation as “a green and pleasant land,” a place, as is observed in My Fair Lady, where “hurricanes hardly ever happen”—and not much else does either. One comes here to escape the pressures of the capital, for bucolic landscape. Much of the country is given over to the New Forest: 145 square miles (376 square kilometres) of woodland populated by ponies and deer. And historic gardens and country houses: The partially 16th-century Vyne at Sherborne St John is an especially fine one, as is Gothic Highclere Castle. The latter is a proper Northanger Abbey, or so Jane Austen might have thought had she visited it, for she too lived in the county, and her home in the village of Chawton is also open to visitors, a meticulously restored, handsome square red-brick house in which she wrote Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.
Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Lane
RG27 8TD, England
Tel. +44 (1252) 853000
Fax +44 (1252) 853010
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