It's an important year for fans of Jane Austen, with Pride and Prejudice – arguably the writer's best-loved novel – currently celebrating the 200th anniversary of its first publication. To commemorate this, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is about to launch a sumptuous stage adaptation of the book.
Telling the story of the Bennet sisters' troubled attempts to fall in love and land themselves husbands, Pride and Prejudice is a masterful satire of marriage in the Regency period and one of the finest romantic comedies ever written.
In particular, the story of second-eldest sister Elizabeth and her relationship with the proud, handsome Mr Darcy has delighted readers for centuries – and, in the hands of exquisite double-acts like Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, been at the centre of many glittering adaptations.
Austen also wrote Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey – all classics in their own rights, but it's Pride and Prejudice on which her perennial popularity rests.
The Regent's Park production stars Jennifer Kirby as Elizabeth Bennet and David Oakes as Mr Darcy. It runs between June 20th and July 20th, so those staying in London hotels this summer have just a month's window to catch this splendid show.
Performances take place at 2:15pm and 7:45pm. While seeing the play on a balmy evening is sure to be an attractive proposition, those who attend the matinee performances can enjoy afternoon tea for an added fee – completing their experience with sandwiches, scones, tea and cakes.
Tickets start at £23. Afternoon tea is available for £14.95 per person – or £19.95 for those wishing to supplement their refreshments with a glass of Prosecco.
Regent's Park is one of London's prettiest public spaces. In addition to hosting London Zoo and a beautiful boating lake, it's home to one of the city's biggest outdoor auditoriums.
The open air theatre is a short walk from the Baker Street Underground station.