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Jane Austen tours let you explore the celebrated author's life and visit some of the most beautiful places in England.
Over the last decade Jane Austen tours have bloomed throughout the UK but you will still find that a lot of the tours offered are smaller group and private tours. These more intimate tours allow you to enjoy a personal experience, exploring the world of Jane Austen with the help of a professional guide.
If you wish to visit on your own, we have also compiled a list of essential Jane Austen attractions in England. Take some time to wander the cities, seaside, country estates and more, with a good Jane Austen guidebook in hand, or a copy of your favourite Jane Austen novel.
You can complete your Regency visit by dining out in one of the many Jane Austen cafes and themed tea-rooms in places like Bath and Alton.
- Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
Most tours visiting Jane Austen attractions in the UK are private. Although more costly than a public tour, private tours offer a completely bespoke experience, allowing you to plan your day just the way you want it. You'll get the benefit of individual attention, with your own private guide for the day. In addition, if you are a large group already then the price per person will reduce considerably.
Drivers know the Jane Austen routes very well and offer a hospitable and enjoyable day out. You'll experience all the classic must-visit Jane Austen sites including the house in Chawton where she lived for eight years, doing the majority of her writing.
Most Jane Austen tours include the stunning Regency city of Bath, a place Jane visited and lived; with its attractive architecture and temptation of sumptuous cream teas, Bath has plenty to tempt the Jane Austen seeker.
Winchester is where Jane ended her short life; the old capital of England has plenty of history and culture to soak up; a Jane Austen fan will want to see the plaque on her final home as well as her grave in Winchester Cathedral.
If the Regency period is your thing, you might also want to check out this tour: Bath - Bridgerton Walking tour and Stonehenge from London.
Jane Austen was a well travelled woman in her day, having lived or visited some of the most attractive locations in England.
Essential places to visit on the "Jane Austen trail of England" include:
The house in Chawton was Jane's last proper home.
It was in this happy cottage where Jane felt secure and content and allowed her previous creative genius to flourish once more. From this house she wrote, revised and had published all six of the novels we know so well: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
Sanditon - the seventh - is the novel Jane left unfinished (later published first as fragments and then finished by 'Another Lady.')
The house is an absolute must-see for Jane Austen fans. Walking round you will get a real sense of the time in which Jane lived: rooms decorated exactly as they would have been, including items of furniture, paintings and household objects.
You can even see for yourself Jane’s the actual writing table where she wrote, plus personal letters and first editions of her novels, her jewellery and portraits of her friends and family.
In the pretty cottage garden you can get a feel for the special outdoor spaces Jane loved so well, including shrubberies, herb borders and rose beds. You can see the old bakehouse with bread oven and wash boiler, and even Jane's donkey cart.
Jane Austen's House has an excellent website which even includes 'virtual tour', online virtual Jane Austen book clubs and special events, including walking tours. You can discover more about the history of the house and what you will see here:
Jane Austen's House official website
Chawton House is a much grander property, an Elizabethan Manor House, and is located just up the road from the cottage where Jane lived. It was owned by her older brother, Edward. Today Chawton House is open to the public, and is also a working research library for women’s literature including manuscripts, rare and early editions.
The house and gardens are open seven days a week to the public, and you can book tickets online in advance. There is a rolling events programme and you can book an appointment to use the reading room in the library using a booking form on the website.
As you walk into this churchyard you will see a small statue of Jane Austen, erected in 2018. It is maquette, the prototype, for the life-size statue in Basingstoke.
At this sweet little church where Jane would have worshiped you will find the graves of Jane's mother, Cassandra Austen, and her sister, also Cassandra, buried side by side. There is a pew inside the church dedicated to the memory of Jane, from the Jane Austen Society.
Graves of Jane's mother and sister; Cassandra and Cassandra Austen, St Nicholas Church, Chawton
The Jane Austen Centre in Bath is a museum which focuses on the life and works of Jane Austen, as well as the Regency period in which she lived.
Costumed guides will take you on a journey through the Centre. You can even dress up Regency-style, taste Regency food and have a go at writing with a quill pen and ink.
Every year in September it hosts the Jane Austen Festival; the largest and longest running Jane Austen Festival in the world.
'Mr Darcy's Afternoon Tea' is even on offer in the 'Regency Tea Room' where you can dine in style, taking tea in exquisite surroundings.
The centre is open every day of the week. For opening times please visit the Jane Austen Centre official website
At this historic house in Bath you can see a special exhibition: Jane Austen in Bath. Book tickets in advance to be guaranteed entry to this immersive experience that runs on a timed loop.
Sadly the house where Jane spent the first 25 years of her life at the old Rectory in Steventon, near Basingstoke, is no longer standing. However Jane Austen fans from around the world still visit this quiet Hampshire village, to see the site where the house once stood, to explore the beautiful countryside very little changed from Jane's day, and to pay a visit to the sweet little church Jane herself would have worshiped at.
If you visit Basingstoke Town Centre you'll also see a beautiful bronze statue of Jane (the full-size of the prototype at St Nicholas Church in Chawton - see above), carrying her book, made by a local artist, Adam Roud, and unveiled for the 200th anniversary of Jane's death in 2017. You'll find it outside the Willis Museum in Market Place at the Top of the Town.
Right opposite Jane's statue is a branch of Barclays Bank. This building is built on the site of the Angel Inn, which also housed The Basingstoke Assembly Rooms: a space that would have been very familiar to Jane as she attended regular balls there.
On occasional Saturdays and Wednesdays, you can enjoy a Jane Austen tour of the Cathedral, one of many fascinating historical tours that take place there.
To find out dates you can book see: Winchester Cathedral special interest tours on Jane Austen
This privately owned property is not open to visitors, but you can see a small blue plaque to point out the building where Jane spent the final few weeks of her life after she became ill. She died on 18th July 1817.
Chatsworth House is the place most people think of when they link Derbyshire and Jane Austen.
In the film Pride and Prejudice (2005) Chatsworth was used as Pemberley, the residence of Mr Darcy. It is believed that Jane Austen may have based her idea of Pemberley on Chatsworth House and written the novel while in Bakewell.
As a souvenir from the filming, you can still see the bust of Mr Darcy, played by Matthew Macfadyen in the Orangery shop, through the Sculpture Gallery.
Southampton today has changed much from Jane's own time. Jane had lived in Southampton briefly as a child, and then again staying when she was 18. Later, after the death of her father, Jane lived in Southampton for just three years, between 1806 and 1809. She stayed in a rented house in Castle Square, at her brother Francis's suggestion; to live with his wife (while he was away at sea in the Navy), her sister Cassandra and their mother.
While you can't see Jane's actual house from the time, it is possible to see some old architecture just a 3-min walk away, such as The Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel, a very old building dating back over 500 years - the oldest hotel in the city, and which hosted Jane's 18th birthday.
Jane Austen is thought to have drawn inspiration from the idyllic Cotswolds village of Adlestrop, one of the ancestral homes of her cousins, the Leigh family.
Jane stayed there many times and it is thought that Adlestrop Park and the Parsonage House influenced the fictional places in her books such as Thornton Lacey in ‘Mansfield Park’.
In Lacock, right on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, you can see exterior locations from the popular BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. The High Street and The Red Lion were transformed into the town of Meryton and the Meryton Assembly Room.
Goodnestone, Rowling and Godmersham, near Canterbury in Kent, are villages that would have been very familiar to Jane, as she regularly visited her brother Edward.
Lyme Regis in Dorset is where Jane spent many a happy holiday, and the memories are evoked in scenes from Sanditon and Persuasion. Jane Austen fans will want to take a walk to the famous Cobb, where Anne Elliot, (from Persuasion) and Captain Wentworth and their party take a stroll out to sea.
Jane Austen visited London many times in her short life, and it is believed that she really enjoyed the excitement and the hustle of the big city. She used the capital as inspiration in her novels too (think the infamous elopement of Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham’s in Pride & Prejudice).
Her brother Henry Thomas Austen lived in the capital for a lot of his life. Jane would also have had reason to visit London while she was publishing her books.
If you enjoy a classic afternoon tea in exquisite surroundings, you might want to consider this ultimate experience in London, overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. Afternoon Tea at The Rubens at the Palace
Westminster Abbey in London has a small polished Roman stone tablet to the memory of Jane Austen in Poets' Corner, which was unveiled on 17th December 1967, given by The Jane Austen Society. The inscription reads: JANE AUSTEN 1775 - 1817.
In the National Portrait Gallery you'll find Jane Austen’s portrait, sketched by her sister Cassandra. This sweet little pencil and watercolor sketch is in fact the only authenticated picture of Jane Austen.
If you want to set your eyes on the Jane Austen's original mahogany writing desk you need to head to the British Library, where you'll find it on display in the permanent Treasures Exhibition. Before she moved to her happy home in Chawton (and used the little table in the corner), at the ages of between 20 and 24, Jane wrote first drafts of what would later become Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey.
If you are interested in Regency fashion the V&A Museum have a great exhibition of clothes and jewellery to furniture and china, from Austen's time.
This historic church was the location Austen chose for the concealment of two central characters in Austen's Pride and Prejudice: the young and impressionable Lydia Bennet and with the unscrupulous Mr. Wickham. The church's history dates a very long way back - to the 11th century, while the current structure, (designed by Sir Christopher Wren), has stood since 1687.
This is the home of Jane's brother, Henry Austen and his wife. Jane would stay during her visits to London in the summer of 1813 and March 1814, before Henry’s wife passed away. This street is very close to Covent Garden and the Drury Lane Theater (Jane also adored the theatre).
Kensington Gardens (one of the Royal Parks) features in Sense & Sensibility. Elinor Dashwood is walking when she is interrupted by Anne Steele, the sister of her romantic rival, who then gossips about Lucy Steele and Edward Ferrars.
Jane Austen was a big walker. She had to be; she didn't always have access to the donkey cart or horses; and she also considered walking to be of the utmost health benefit.
If you can make the time to walk some of the beautiful Hampshire countryside and villages where Jane would have walked, you will begin to see the shape of the landscape she describes all the way through her six novels.
Farringdon is a neighbouring village to Chawton (Jane Austen's House). Look out for a very ancient yew tree, completely hollow, in Farringdon churchyard.
A great book to follow in Jane's footsteps around more of Hampshire and places she lived in and visited in the UK is Jane Austen's England: A Walking Guide by Anne Marie Edwards.
Visit Hampshire offer an easy to walking map which you can download and follow to walk in Jane's footsteps:
The trail takes in many sites that would have been very familiar to Jane during her time living in Chawton, the last few sites ending in Chawton with Jane Austen's House, Chawton Church, a lovely thatch cottage belonging to a dear friend of Jane's and finally Chawton House, home of Jane Austen's brother, Edward Knight.
There are some beautiful, relaxing hotels to stay at near the most popular Jane Austen attractions in England. Choose from historic buildings with plenty of charm and maybe a relaxing restaurant overlooking the garden, or perhaps something more modern with a heated swimming pool and gym facilities. Whatever you are after, none of these options is too highly priced, and all are an easy walk or short car journey from Jane Austen attractions.
Situated in spacious grounds, less than two miles from Jane Austen's House in Chawton, Alton House Hotel is right near the train station with prettily decorated rooms. Squires Café Bar & Restaurant is a pleasant setting for a relaxed dinner, quick lunch or an after-meal drink. Room service is also available.
4-star hotel, superbly located, just a 7-min walk from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. Enjoy a swim in the heated indoor pool and workout in the gym. Spacious and sumptuous bedrooms, with walk-in shower & organic toiletries. The Orange Artichoke serves delicious meals.
Located in Alton, just a 7-min car journey from Jane Austen's House, this pretty hotel free offers a full English/Irish breakfast daily, while the restaurant serves British cuisine. Free Wi-Fi, barbecue facilities, a bar and free private parking are available. Private bathroom with walk-in shower.
Dating back over 500 years, this hotel hosted Jane Austen's 18th birthday party. An award-winning restaurant sources as much local produce as possible and is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food is also available in the Oak Bar & Coffee Lounge.
Home once to Jane Austen’s brother, Henry, this boutique hotel blends the beautiful interiors of a bygone era using sumptuous fabrics, curated artworks, first editions and antiques with a host of sophisticated modern amenities. Book the entire house for the ultimate in indulgent stay.
A stunning country house hotel in acres of Hampshire countryside, just a mile from Basingstoke centre. Stay in the Jane Austen Suite with separate living room with comfortable sofas and an original fireplace. Relax in the bespoke pencil four poster bed and abundance of period features.
A true gem of a Georgian property, built in 1718, this property is rated 'superb' for good reason. Located in a top spot in London's Theatreland, this 4-star boutique hotel offers beautiful rooms with antique furniture, sumptuous decor and elegant panelled walls. The luxury bathrooms feature Land & Water toiletries.
Find it on Lenten Street: "Serving an extensive menu from Breakfast to Afternoon Tea." Homemade soups.
Right opposite Jane's House in Chawton, you won't miss this sweet much-loved tea room.
Located at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, enjoy 'Tea With Mr Darcy' in the splendid Regency Tea Room.
1. Jane Austen was born on 16th December, 1775 in Steventon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire, part of the aristocratic Leigh family. Her father was the Rector.
2. Austen was the seventh of eight children. She had six brothers; James, George, Charles, Francis, Henry and Edward, and one older sister, Cassandra, who she adored.
3. Jane and her sister were sent away to boarding school in Oxford and then in Southampton when they were quite little. Unfortunately in Southampton they both caught typhoid fever and came very close to death. They later went to a school in Reading.
4. At least two of her novels had different working titles: Sense and Sensibility was originally titled Elinor and Marianne, while Pride and Prejudice, was originally titled First Impressions.
5. An early version (sent by Jane's father) of what would become Pride and Prejudice was turned down by publishers in 1797.
6. Jane's books were all first published anonymously in her lifetime, simply under the title 'By a Lady'. At the time there was a question of respectability for ladies to 'earn' a living, and indeed women did not have the legal power to sign contracts. Any woman wishing to publish at the time had to get a male to sign for her - in Jane's case, since she was not married, her brother Henry stepped in.
7. Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, were published in 1817, right after Jane's death, and for the first time her name was credited to the works.
8. Jane's nephew published Memoir of Jane Austen in 1870.
9. Naturalist Charles Darwin was known to be a fan of Jane's works, and knew them by heart.
10. Jane Austen earned nothing until she turned 35, when she published her first work - Sense and Sensibility.
11. After receiving the first print of her second novel, Pride and Prejudice, Jane referred to it in a letter to her sister as her own "darling child".
12. Life got tough for Jane when her father died in 1805. Financial security was no longer guaranteed for the female members of the household; and it was for this reason that they spent a number of years moving around, staying at the homes of various family members and other rented homes. No wonder the little cottage in Chawton felt like a relief, a secure place for Jane, her mother, sister and friend Martha Lloyd, to settle, and importantly, for Jane to write.
13. Austen's final piece of writing was a poem, "When Winchester Races", which she dictated to her sister Cassandra three days before her death. One word was thought to have been amended later, changing the original rhyming couplet word 'dead' to 'gone'.
14. After her death Jane's sister Cassandra destroyed many of the letters written by Jane. There are just 160 left surviving.
15. Jane Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral. Jane's burial place is an exception to the rules of the time. To be buried in a cathedral you typically need to be Royalty, a politician, aristocrat or an 'exalted' person in her lifetime (she was not very famous during her life). The reason for this? Her brother Henry's connections. He managed to secure a grave for her on short notice. Her memorial gravestone was written by her older brother James and does not mention her achievements as a writer, only the “extraordinary endowments of her mind.”
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