"Kent is the only place for Happiness. Everybody is rich there" - Jane Austen, 19 December 1798
2017 is the year of Jane Austen's bi-centenary, so it's appropriate that we celebrate this but also Jane's extensive family connections with Kent, and the Sevenoaks district.
Did you know that the family roots were in Kent, with the early Austen family living in Horsmonden as cloth makers? Jane's great grandmother lived in Bordyke, Tonbridge and later worked at Sevenoaks School, as a housekeeper. Her sons were educated at the school, with Francis becoming a wealthy lawyer living in The Red House on Sevenoaks High Street. Francis' second wife was Jane's godmother, hence Jane's own visit to Sevenoaks in 1788, aged 12.
Jane's family ties encouraged numerous Kent visits to Goodnestone Park, Godmersham and Chilham. Family members also lived in Seal, near Sevenoaks. Jane's books make frequent mention of Kent, with the notorious planned elopement of Georgiana Darcy potentially taking place in Ramsgate.
So why not make a tour of literary Kent? The Historic Houses Association launched a literary trail section on their website this year. So log on and see what literary inspiration you can find!
If you need accommodation, www.simplysevenoaks.co.uk can inspire with fantastic B&B and self-catering options.