Monday, February 6, 2023

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Jane Austen’s House Museum

What To Do At Chawton House

Jane Austen House Museum, Chawton, England. Full Tour.

The House: Spread over two floors, theres a lot to see in the house itself and youre welcome to sit on and touch anything that hasnt been designated otherwise. Numerous portraits associated with the Knight family are present, the books mentioned above, and Mary Lawrances Sketches of Flowers from Nature.

You will follow a linear path through the house after a short introduction from the staff and end at the gift shop and library. There are numerous copies of Austens books to purchase as well as other souvenirs.

The Old Kitchen Tearoom: Sit outside in the courtyard and enjoy some cake, tea, soup, and sandwiches. Gluten-free bread is available, and the sandwiches are generous and truly excellent. You can also take a sandwich away and go sit in the parkland. Theyre open from 10 am to 4 pm daily.

The Gardens: Take some time to wander the glorious gardens and woodland of Chawton, the highest point of the grounds is the Walled Garden which was built by Edward Austen and also referred to in Jane Austens letters. A garden map is available here to view and follow.

Make sure to catch the Elizabeth Blackwell Herb Garden inspired by her work A Curious Herbal which you can see inside the house.

You can also follow the parkland walk to really make the most of the grounds here or follow The Jane Austen Garden Trail which is a unique walking route around the grounds featuring quotations from Austens writings.Tip: You can even enjoy a local falconry experience.

Roof Of Jane Austens House To Be Restored With 300000 Reclaimed Tiles

Capital from Historic England and Historic Houses Foundation, Hampshire County Council and donations have secured the restoration of the roof to ensure the location remains protected from the elements.

The roof at Jane Austens House in HampshireAustens home for the last eight years of her life and where she lived and wrote her novelsis to be restored after the museum was awarded a grant by Historic England and Historic Houses Foundation.

The roof was last refurbished in 1948 before the House opened to the public, and has begun requires major repairs to ensure the building remains watertight.

The capital has been issued from the second round of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Governments Culture Recovery Fund, and is coupled with support from Hampshire County Council and donations from the public.

The location is among 142 historic sites across England to receive grants worth £35 million through the governments Culture Recovery Fund.

The restoration project will require over 300,000 reclaimed, handmade clay roof tiles, provided by specialist contractors. Pritchard Architecture and Clarke Roofing will carry out the restoration, during which time Austens House will be closed to visitors during the week but will remain open on weekends and during the festive season on 29-31 December.

Where Jane’s Genius Found Its Home

The house at Chawton is where Jane Austen spent the last 8 years of her life . But Jane didn’t rest on her laurels at Chawton. Heavens to Darcy, no! It is here that she revised and wrote her 6 major novels. Indeed, it was at this very Hampshire home that she revised First Impressions into her most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice. The only house where Jane lived and wrote that is open to the public, the museum really is worth a visit or two.

3 magical moments on your visit to Jane Austen’s House

1) You lose track of time in the purpose-built Learning Centre, housing interactive exhibits

2) You picnic in the peaceful English cottage garden and imagine Mrs Austen taking tea

3) You browse the museum shop in search of a souvenir of your stay

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Where To Stay In Chawton

Oakley Hall Hotel: This luxury hotel housed in an 18th-century house is not only a wonderful hotel but also has links to Austen who was born in Steventon and regularly visited her friends Wither and Mary Bramston at the estate.

The window transparencies at the estate which she mentions in her letters are also thought to be referenced in Mansfield Park within Fanny Prices East Room.

The Anchor Inn: A traditional country pub with an idyllic waterside setting with an excellent breakfast and an award-winning restaurant for dinner.Alton House Hotel: A charming and convenient hotel in Alton with four poster beds and situated on spacious grounds.

Extra Information About Jane Austens House Museum

jane
  • Cost: £9 for adults, £4 for 6-16 year olds, £7 for students, £8 for 65+, £4 job seekers, £4 disabled , £22 family ticket
  • Opening Times: 7 days a week
  • Equipment: None needed
  • Facilities: Toilets on site in the outhouse
  • Accessibility: The ground floor, outbuildings and toilet are all accessible.
  • Food: We ate a picnic but there are cafes and pubs in the village.
  • Nearby Attractions:Chawton House is 10 minutes walk away.
  • Accommodation: We stayed at the Winchester Premier Inn in Winchester.

If youve enjoyed this guide, then you might like to see our other Literary Travel posts.

  • Note that this post includes affiliate links.

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Six Winters: Scenes From Jane Austens Life & Imagination

Our winter exhibition presents six memorable winter scenes from Jane Austens life and novels, using the House itself, objects and sounds to set the scene.

This exhibition can also be seen in situ at Jane Austens House in Chawton. To book tickets to visit in person, please .

A virtual exhibition exploring Jane Austens relationship with seaside resorts, from Dawlish and Worthing to Lyme Regis and Brighton.

A lively, informal virtual exhibition examining seven different illustrations of the famous letter scene in Pride & Prejudice. Curated by MA student Grace Prideaux, whilst on a placement at Jane Austens House.

A virtual exhibition exploring the importance of letters in Jane Austens life and work, through objects from the Museum.

A witty exploration of Jane Austens Teenage self and writings, through objects in the Museum collection.

A February Afternoon At Jane Austens House Museum

Note that Jane Austens House Museum is currently closed to visitors until later this summer. In order to welcome visitors back safely, all tickets will need to be booked in advance. They will be announcing the reopening date soon.

The first thing that struck me about Jane Austens House Museum was how light and warm it was even on a brisk February day. I could completely understand why Jane Austen had been inspired to complete six of her novels in this pretty spot.

Chawton was top of our list during our stay in Winchester because of its connections to Austen. Jane lived in the village from 1809 to 1817 with her mother, sister Cassandra and close friend, Martha Lloyd. The family moved into the cottage after it was granted to them rent-free by their brother, Edward Knight, who had inherited nearby Chawton House. These days the Museum is run as a private charity and you can freely roam the house and gardens.

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Cassandras Cup Tea Room

Directly across the road from Jane Austens house with a lovely view of the cottage, you can enjoy an afternoon tea or light meal at Cassandras Cup Tea Room which is named after Austens sister Cassandra. They also have a bathroom and WIFI available to catch up on the day and a selection of local produce and food-related souvenirs.

Chawton House And Library

Jane Austen House Museum

Mentioned numerous times in Jane Austens letters as the great house, Chawton House belonged to Jane Austens brother, who inherited the home from Thomas and Catherine Knight, but was also enjoyed by Jane Austen as much as her own home. Over four hundred years old, the house was built in the 1580s.

Austen frequently dined at Chawton House, and the Knight family dining table where Austen sat is still there to be seen today. Many people believe that Mr Knightleys Donwell Abbey in Austens Emma was modelled upon Chawton House.

Its also a museum to early women writers you will be able to see first editions of Austens works as well as works by Mary Wolsetencraft, Mary Astell, George Elliot, and many more.

Her brothers early travel journals and suit are also in the museum as well as the Knights private library, featuring a number of their original rare books which are thought to only exist at Chawton House.

I went up to the Great House between three and four, & dawdled away an hour very comfortably,

Jane Austen

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How To Get To Chawton

Chawton by train: You can take the train to Alton, which takes an hour and a half if youre coming from or changing in London. From London, the trains to Chawton are hourly. From the station you can walk 1.8 miles to the house, take the frequent number 38/64 bus for fifteen minutes or you can call a taxi from the station.

Chawton by car: Chawton is around an hours drive from London, through Hampshire, and youll find a number of places for parking including in front of Chawton House and next to Cassandras Cup tea room.

Tip: You can get half-price tickets to both Chawton House and Jane Austens house if you have an Art Pass. This also gets you free or discounted tickets to hundreds of other places and exhibitions across the country.

My Dearest Frank, I Wish You Joy

Our Chawton home, how much we find

Already in it, to our mind

And how convinced, that when complete

It will all other Houses beat

That ever have been made or mended,

With rooms concise, or rooms distended.

How To Donate

If possible, please donate via the JustGiving portal. However, if you wish to send a cheque, please make the cheque payable to Jane Austens House Museum and write Roof Appeal and the details of who you would like to sponsor a tile for on the reverse. If you are a UK taxpayer, please consider completing and sending a Gift Aid form along with your cheque.

Please send cheques to: Jane Austens House, Winchester Road, Chawton, Hampshire, GU34 1SD

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