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Learning to dance, dress and garden just like Jane Austen 200 years after she penned two of her most famous novels, Northanger Abbey and Emma

Write stuff: Jane Austen merely visited Bath - she lived in Hampshire

Write stuff: Jane Austen merely visited Bath – she lived in Hampshire

Jane Austen merely visited Bath: she lived in Hampshire, which is celebrating the connection in June with Jane Austen’s Regency Week in the area of the South Downs National Park.

This is a nine-day Festival of events celebrating Jane and the Regency period from June 16-24 in and around the market town of Alton and the nearby village of Chawton.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of two of Jane’s famous novels – Northanger Abbey and Emma.

The festival’s activities and events include Regency period dancing, music, dining, theatre, exhibitions, talks and discussions, garden tours, guided themed walks, a vintage fair and even cricket.

Chawton is where you will find to the Jane Austen’s House Museum and her brother’s former home, Chawton House, which is also open to the public. Jane spent the last eight years of her life here.

The market town of Alton is the place where she shopped, banked, collected and delivered post, visited her friends and caught the stagecoach to London.

Regency Week begins on Saturday June 16 with a Regency Day in Alton – full of historical delights such as carriage rides, Regency costumes, market stalls, music and dancing and military re-enactments. The celebrations continue with a Regency dancing workshop with instruction from Hampshire Regency Dancers.

Throughout the day on June 17, Chawton will be staging a vintage, antique, collectors and craft fair, offering interesting and unusual items to buy.

Taste of the past: A guest settles in for a brew at the Jane Austen Tea Rooms in Bath 

Taste of the past: A guest settles in for a brew at the Jane Austen Tea Rooms in Bath 

A morning guided walk around the village of Chawton with local historian Jane Hurst will be followed by an opportunity to learn more about the restored gardens of Chawton House during a tour with garden manager Andrew Bentley. Afterwards enjoy afternoon tea in the historic tearoom.

There will also be a talk by the last Austen descendent to grow up at Chawton House, Caroline Knight (also Jane’s fifth great niece), exploring her childhood surrounded by four centuries of family history.

Enjoy a Curator’s Tour and Cream Tea at Chawton House on June 18, 19 and 21 (10.30am–12pm. Price £16 including tea).

A selection of books that make up the Hampshire Library Service’s specialist Jane Austen Collection will be on display at Alton.


More information about all events is at the Regency Week website, Visit janeaustenregencyweek.co.uk. The Box Office is at Alton Community Centre; 01420 85057. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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