Friday, November 9, 2012

Penner's Spotlight - Carole Lehr Johnson - England

 Pens on a World Map
Penner's Spotlight
Penner: Carole Lehr Johnson of Louisiana
Location: Chawton, England
United Kingdom

Chawton, the small village most noted for being the home of Jane Austen, can be a bit troublesome to get to. You may take a train from Waterloo Station in London to the town of Alton, then travel by bus to Chawton. Note that it is a separate train system than the countrywide British rail system ( The bus schedules are a little on the tricky side--not always running on time. Renting a car is another option if you don't mind the adventure of left-side driving.

My travel companions and I chose to take the nation-wide train system from London's Victoria Station to Winchester. We then hired a car from the station to take us to Chawton, arranging for our driver to return at a specified time and pick us up.

I would recommend taking a full day to see Chawton--or better--spend the night. But that's an entirely different article to write in order to explore the possibilities! We only just had enough time to see Jane Austen's home and have lunch across the street at Cassandra's Cup (named after Jane Austen's sister). It serves a fine lunch and afternoon tea. Arrive before 2:00 p.m. if you want to get in on the daily lunch special. Their baked goods are a real treat. We did a quick 'walk-through' of the village with its thatched cottages and rural atmosphere of rolling green hills.

There is a 16th-century building which houses a local pub, the Greyfriar. A pleasant walk down the road will take you to the Chawton House Library. There are tours of the library, house, and gardens. The house is over 400 years old with an impressive history (

The Walk to the Library
Enjoy a tranquil visit to Chawton and get away from the busy streets of London for a day or two. You won't regret it.

Do you enjoy Jane Austen, tea, long walks or all the above? Have you spent time in an English village? We'd love to hear about it. Please join the discussion in the comments.

Carole Lehr Johnson is a veteran travel agent of over 30 years and currently serves as the head of genealogy at her local library. Her travel writing and photography has been featured in International Living Magazine and Schmap. She is a historical novelist currently seeking representation. Her interests include writing, gardening, reading, photography, sewing, painting and working with her church’s local homeless ministry.

For more information about Carole and her travels to England and the U.K. as well as check out her latest book reviews, visit her website ( and her blog (

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