HF Book Club - Jane Austen Weekend in the South Downs
The HF Book Club is a great way to holiday with like-minded book lovers to discuss your favourite works or discover something new in a relaxed and informal setting. Related guided sightseeing visits to key attractions are included. These holidays are perfect for solo travellers or you could come along with your book club and take advantage of our great group offers. During this weekend, discuss Austen’s seminal works, visit Jane Austen’s House Museum and try Regency dancing! We're finalising our reading list and we'll publish it in early 2020.
- Immerse yourself in Austen's world
- Discuss your favourite works with fellow enthusiasts
- Visit Jane Austen's House Museum
- Try your hand at Regency dancing
- High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
- Knowledgeable HF Holidays Leaders, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2:30 p.m. onwards (upgraded rooms from 1 p.m.) Please join us for afternoon tea.
Over the weekend you'll get to discuss 3 of Jane's books and share your insight or just listen to others. Your discussion groups will be led by our passionate leaders and you'll be immersed in Austen's world for the weekend.
We'll take you on an optional trip to the Jane Austen House Museum and after dinner one evening we'll introduce you to the delights of Regency dancing or you can relax in the bar over coffee or drinks.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.
Tucked away in the village of Thakeham at the foot of the South Downs, Abingworth Hall has stood in one form another since the 13th century. Gutted by fire, it was rebuilt in 1910 in its current distinctive style. As well as 27 ensuite rooms the house has all the ingredients you need for the perfect country house stay: three comfortable lounges with squishy sofas to kick back in, the largest of which opens onto an attractive conservatory and bar in which to dally, great food and super-comfy rooms to retire to. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to walking here; go for a lazy amble around the wildlife rich chalk Downlands to discover a colourful tapestry of historic villages, thatched cottages, pastoral landscapes and vibrant market towns. Highlights of your stay might include the Seven Sisters, the Glorious Goodwood estate, the Devil’s Dyke and Chantonbury Ring, as well as Arundel and the National Trust property at Petworth. Take your pick.
Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi
Stay in one of the Hall’s smartly presented rooms, which make use of every nook-and-cranny in the interesting architecture of this characterful house. With 27 bedrooms, Abingworth Hall has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good and Better Rooms to choose from. Clean and bright, with accent colours to offset the simple palette, the rooms are airy and light. Better Rooms might have a feature wall or strong print wallpaper as well as pretty tiles in the ensuite bathroom.
All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.
Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, three lounges, library and board games to borrow
After a day strolling on the South Downs, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax in the large gardens and sit by the pretty pond, turn your hand to croquet or practice on the putting green. Ease through a couple of lengths of the heated outdoor pool if you’ve still got energy to burn. Hole up in the light-filled conservatory with pretty views of the gardens or retire to the Drawing Room with its wood-panelled walls, log burner, library of books to browse and comfy seats to sink in to; there’s a telescope for you to scour the night sky too. In the evening, take your seat in the bar or join fellow guests in the large ballroom for the evening activity.
Food & Drink
As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Abingworth Hall is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room, which has a giant brick fireplace at its heart, hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local Sussex flavours. Look out for the Sussex Churdle, a traditional, meaty ploughboy lunch, local Chiddingly beef cooked with black olives and Sussex smokies, smoked haddock served in a prawn sauce. Cap it all with a Sussex Pond Pudding, a pud that’s part of the honourable tradition of British dishes with names to pique the interest more than the appetite, which is actually bright and zingy, suety and syrupy all at the same time
For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865
What to Bring
Bring along your copy of the books we'll be discussing.
Please be sure to bring any annual museum ticket or membership card if you have one - admissions to museums are not included in the price of your holiday. The entrance fee will be approximately £8-£10.
Born and bred in Brontë country, Elizabeth Hopkinson is the award-winning author of around 100 short stories and fairy tales. Her solo books include Silver Hands, a historical fantasy set in the Golden Age of Sail, and short story collection Asexual Fairy Tales. Elizabeth studied English Language & Literature at the University of Leeds, has tutored several courses at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, and lives in Bradford.
Lizzie Enfield is a journalist and regular contributor to national newspapers, magazines and radio, has written four novels and had short stories broadcast on Radio Four and published in various magazines. She also teaches creative writing and is regular interviewer and panelist on the literary circuit.
Her latest novel Ivy and Abe (published as Elizabeth Enfield) is out now and she is currently working on a 'contemporary Jane Eyre."
Angela Topping is a former English and Drama teacher, who has worked in both FE and secondary education. She is a professional, widely published poet, and author of several books on literary texts. Her enthusiasm for literature is infectious. She is also interested in art, music and nature. A seasoned performer and speaker, she has appeared at literature festivals and given talks in a range of venues across the UK. She is outgoing and approachable.
Further information about Angela Topping can be found on her blog at: https://angelatopping.wordpress.com/
All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £10 per person.
|Date (Start - End)||Nights||Itinerary||Price||Status||Trip Notes||Book|
25 Sep - 28 Sep
|3||Book Club||£385 £285||Save £100 Per Person||Trip Notes||Book Now|
3 nights from £385pp £285pp
New for 2020
...or call 020 3974 8865