Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Ware Cliffs. Also known as the Undercliff, a mile-long slope caused by the erosion of the ancient vertical cliff face, located at Lyme’s boundary, stretching west from where the Cobb juts out into the sea. Because the slope tilts toward the Sun, its vegetation is lush and exotic, appropriate to the values that challenge Lyme’s (and Charles’s) conservatism. Here, in stone outcrops, Charles hunts for fossils. Here, too, Sarah walks. In this romantic and erotic place, several miles from conservative Lyme, they meet. Walking back from their first encounter, Charles stops at a farm. That farm, which still exists, is where John Fowles himself lived when he began writing this novel.
*Wiltshire. County in England between Dorset and London where Charles’s uncle has his estate, Wynsyatt, located near Chippenham. At the beginning of the novel, Charles is heir to his uncle’s land and aristocratic title. In the past, Charles shot one of the last great bustards on the nearby Salisbury Plain.
*Exeter. Inland city in Devon located about forty miles west of Lyme Regis, a place where Charles experiences both sexual and religious awakenings. Sarah takes a room in Endicott’s Hotel in a gloomy lower-class part of the city as it slopes westward down to the river Exe. When Charles comes to Exeter, he stays on higher ground at the Ship, an old-fashioned inn probably not far from the cathedral. After Charles’s climactic visit to Sarah, he enters a small nearby church, which is unnamed but still exists.
*London. Great Britain’s capital city and the place of both the new (commerce and art) and the old (sin)–all challenges to the values of Lyme. Charles and Ernestina are both Londoners. Charles owns a big house in Belgravia, an elegant district, but he lives, appropriately to his scientific interests, in a smaller establishment in Kensington, a more intellectual part of the city housing several newly opened museums. When she is not in Lyme, Ernestina lives with her parents on Bayswater Road, a middle-class street running along the north edge of Hyde Park. After he has been disinherited, Charles goes here to see Ernestina’s father, Mr. Freeman. Charles then walks eastward into Mayfair and wanders north until he is horrified to see Mr. Freeman’s great store on Oxford Street.
Charles’s lessons have just begun. He repairs (probably a short distance south) to his club and then to Ma Terpsichore’s brothel, which can be located to the east of Mayfair in Soho. After leaving there, he meets a prostitute who leads him northeastward to her lodgings off Tottenham Court Road, near Warren Street. Later, after he breaks his engagement, he faces Mr. Freeman’s lawyers in chambers at the Inns of Court, located off the Strand.
Several years later when he is told that Sarah has been found, Charles returns to London and goes to her address, 16 Cheyne Walk, home of the poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Cheyne Walk is a newly fashionable street on the banks of the River Thames in Chelsea, southwest of the Houses of Parliament. Sarah has been taken up by the most vital and forward-looking artists of that time. At the very end of the novel, Charles, now bereft of all his illusions and old-fashioned assumptions, stands alone on the banks of the Thames, the river of life.