One of the most proficient travel writers of the late 18th century was – a woman: Mariana Starke. Her travel guides were an essential companion for British travellers to the Continent. Being successful didn’t make life easy for Mariana. Female writing for the public was frowned upon. From her years as budding authoress to the latest edition of her successful travel guide, she always had to deal with criticism from more conventional members of society. Unperturbed by this, she led an unusual life for a woman of her time. Continue reading →
Will there be rain, sun or snow within the next days? Should I plant my crops – or rather delay a journey? Predicting the weather was an art by itself in the 18th century. A scientific approach to weather forecasting started in earnest from the early 18th century, but progress was slow. So how did people like Jane Austen forecast the weather?
Alexander von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) was the celebrated explorer of his generation. It is little known that he started his scientific career with a trip to England in 1790. He was 20 years old, and travelled with the famous Georg Forster, author of “A Voyage Round the World”, member of the Royal Society and of Captain James Cook’s crew on the second voyage (1772-1775). The experienced explorer and the young men had met in 1789 in Mainz / Germany. Alexander was fascinated by the lively and powerful Forster, his impressive career and exiting plans. He dedicated his first scientific thesis about mineralogical observations on basalts to Forster. It is no surprise that Alexander was delighted when Forster, recognizing the budding talent, asked the young man to join him on his next trip in 1790. Destination: England. Find out how the journey to England influenced the life of Alexander von Humboldt.
Around the turn of the 19th century, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a young, restless painter, always on the lookout for inspiration for his art. After having toured many parts of Britain, he planned to visit the Continent. He was especially interested in the awe-inspiring, romantic Swiss Alps – considered by many a rocky, dangerous wasteland. Thus, aged about 27, and still being an unknown artist, he decided to follow his plans through. Let’s accompany him on his first ever trip abroad.
Do you love the novels of Jane Austen?
Why not visiting the 12 best film locations of Jane Austen adaptations.
The trip will lead you to the most beautiful places of England with lots of 18th-century history. Continue reading →
The concept of the passport is thousands of years old. King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what can be considered the first passport in the modern sense. These letters of “safe conduct” were first written in Latin and English. In 1772, the government decided to use French, the international language of high finance and diplomacy. This didn’t change until 1858. Thus, Britain’s passports were issued in French even when Britain fought Napoleon.
Travelling to Italy had always strongly appealed to the British aristocracy. Milan had been a favourite since Maria Theresia, sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, remodelled the city in the second half of the 18th century: Milan featured lovely public gardens, and the fabulous opera house La Scala. But Alas!, visiting this splendid city came to a halt for British travellers from 1796 to 1814, when Napoleon had occupied Milan and most parts of Northern Italy. It was only after the Battle of Waterloo that British tourists could visit Milan again. One of the most famous tourists was Lord Byron, who spent two weeks in Milan in October 1816.
Lord Byron had always been an admirer of Napoleon. In Milan, he was lucky to get acquainted with the French essayist Stendhal (Henri Beyle by real name). Stendal had worked under Napoleon’s Secretary of State. Byron and Stendal met almost every evening for several weeks, and Byron questioned Stendal about his hero.
Some British tourists took a special interest in seeing the places of Napoleon’s power. Thus, locations connected with Napoleon became a curiosity for tourists. I have selected some of them for you in this post. Find out more about Napoleonic Milan: Continue reading →
The Antiquities Trail:
– Herculaneum and Pompeii – Paestum
Practical Tips for Travellers
– Where to Stay
Danger & Annoyances
Money & Measurements
The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily became a popular destination for British tourists with the discovery and excavation of ancient ruins in the mid 18th century. The art found at Herculaneum and Pompeii sparked the European Neo-classicism: It was the motifs from these ancient ruins that featured on stylish furnishings in England. Architects, artists and their rich patrons braved the inconveniences of a long journey to see the celebrated ruins themselves.
In this part of ‘Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples’ we discover the famous ancient sites as a travel destination for Grand Tourists of the Romantic Age. Continue reading →
Things to See & Do in Naples – Neapolitan Dolce Vita – Balls, Suppers and Assemblies – Culture & Entertainment
Nature & Activities – Climbing Mount Vesuvius – Watersports
For British travellers, Italy was an essential destiny of the Grand Tour. However, most travellers didn’t go farther than Rome. Only the adventurous or scholarly continued to the South, to ‘The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’. This was to change with the discovery and excavation of the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum in the mid 18th century.
Eager to see the sites of Antiquity themselves, architects, artists and their rich patrons ventured down the long road to Naples, braving brigands, mosquitoes and heat.
How did they travel?
What would they see and do in 18th-century Naples?
Which sites would they visit?
Where would they stay?
With this post, Regency Explorer provides a travel guide to the ‘Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’ for travellers of the Romantic Age. Continue reading →
Lynton and Lynmouth as settings of a novel – plot bunnies included
Reverend John Skinner shuddered as he looked at the narrow path ahead. The passage, just four feet or a meagre 1.2 m wide, was cut on the side of a cliff that descended steeply towards the sea. He dismounted his horse and continued his dangerous journey on foot, leading the animal behind him.
The Reverend enjoyed discovering the wilderness of Exmoor. In 1801 he reached Lynton and Lynmouth, two tiny villages on the North Devon coast. ‘To travelers not accustomed to a mountainous country, the approach to this place would have deemed impassable’, he noted in his journal. John Skinner was among the first who made their way to Lynton and Lynmouth to admire the view and dramatic scenery. More were to follow. And this was all because of the French.
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