Hertfordshire is an English county, which serves as the primary setting of Pride and Prejudice. It includes Longbourn village, Netherfield Park, the town of Meryton, and the Bennet estate. Jane Austen describes Meryton as “a small market town.” The Bennets’ estate is in the Longbourn village. Jane Austen’s descriptions of the setting are typical to the 19th-century English countryside.
The events of the novel take place in the county of Hertfordshire. There are no explicit descriptions of the locations. But characters talk about different towns to indicate their relation to each other in terms of distance.
When Elizabeth is concerned about Mr. Bingley declining her offer for dinner, she makes a critical remark. She cannot “imagine what business he could have in town so soon after his arrival in Hertfordshire.” It is apparent that Hertfordshire is not far from London. Some critics believe that Mr. Bingley’s house, Netherfield, is based on Balls Park in Hertford.
Elizabeth Bennet claims that Netherfield is “only three miles away” from her hometown. Longbourn and Netherfield are close to each other. It explains why Jane and Mr. Bingley live in Netherfield for only a year after the wedding. It is later revealed that “a vicinity to her [Jane’s] mother and Meryton relations was not desirable.” Austen does not specify if the action takes place in Hertfordshire or not. But plenty of references to the county’s locations and houses indicate that it is the setting.