Hampshire was the inspiration for many of Jane Austen's novels. From her home in Steventon, near Basingstoke, she wrote the first drafts of Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, and went shopping in Andover, Alton and Alresford.
She attended dances at The Vyne, near Basingstoke, and finished several of her famous novels at her home in Chawton, which now houses an excellent museum dedicated to the Austens. Jane's last resting place can be seen in Winchester Cathedral. Next to her grave you will find a permanent illustrated exhibition outlining her life and death in Hampshire.
Many places in Hampshire are associated with Jane Austen’s celebrated life and inspired some of the characters and locations in her most famous novels. Many of these locations have now become the ideal rural escape for visitors to the county.
2013 is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Austen’s House Museum has launched a special website to highlight all Pride and Prejudice events taking place in 2013 throughout the world. See www.prideandprejudice200.org.uk for details.
Winchester is also launching a campaign to promote tourism attractions with links to Jane Austen in and around the district to mark the 200th anniversary. You can find out more about the author's life in Hampshire with the Winchester Austen Trail.
The first drafts of Northanger Abbey, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice were written from her home in Steventon, near Basingstoke, where she was born in December 1775. Jane’s father was the vicar of the small 12th century Steventon Church and she spent the first 25 years of her life living in Steventon Rectory.
After a brief stay in Southampton, Jane’s family moved to the village of Chawton, near Alton, in 1809. The family home now houses the popular Jane Austen’s House and contains some of her personal memorabilia and artefacts. Here she revised some of her most famous novels at a writing table that can still be seen today.
Jane loved the countryside around Chawton and you can walk in her footsteps in a circular walk from Chawton to Farringdon or visit the nearby market town of Alton, where Jane and her sister Cassandra used to go shopping.
Jane and her family enjoyed days out at local beauty spots, such as the New Forest. Here they went on boat trips on the Beaulieu River, taking in views of the monastery at Beaulieu Abbey and the shipbuilding village of Buckler’s Hard.
The ruins and pretty countryside at Netley Abbey were another favourite, and Jane also travelled to Portsmouth to visit her brothers Francis and Charles, who were stationed there with the Royal Navy.
Jane attended dances at The Vyne, an impressive 16th-century house near Basingstoke, dating back to Henry VIII’s reign, and at various times also visited Andover and Winchester.
Jane’s last resting place, after an illness which took her life at the age of 41, was in Winchester Cathedral, where she is buried in the north aisle. The inscription on her tomb makes no mention of her literary talents but a brass tablet and memorial window were added at later dates.
There are many opportunities to discover more about Jane Austen’s life in Hampshire and about the legacy she has left for future generations.
At Whitchurch Silk Mill you can find out about the silk used in the costumes for the BBC1 serial of Pride & Prejudice and in the Royal Naval Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard there are more insights into the kind of life led by Jane’s brothers in their Navy careers. Hampshire Record Office in Winchester has outstanding collections relating to the Austen family, such as parish registers, letters and poems.
Find out more information about the history of Jane Austen in Hampshire.
Jane Austen walks and tours
Circular walk - follow in Jane's footsteps through the countryside that inspired her from Chawton to Farringdon.
Jane Austen Trail - walking route from Alton High Street to Chawton passing places of interest.
Personalised minibus tour - find out more about Jane's connections with the county, including the pretty villages of Steventon and Chawton.
An inspiring day out for all ages Explore more than 1000 years of history in Europe’s longest medieval Cathedral. Discover the beautiful illuminated Winchester Bible, 12th-century wall paintings, medieval...
Set in the New Forest close to the banks of charming River Itchen. The Abbey was partly destroyed during the 15th century, and today provides a lovely place to walk and relax in the open air. The Abbey is...
The Vyne is a warm red-bricked Tudor mansion built in the 16th century for Lord Sandy, Henry VIII's Lord Chamberlain, which later passed into the Chute family who cared for the house and estate for 300 years....
Step back in time on the banks of the Beaulieu River at the peaceful haven of Buckler's Hard. Discover what it was like to live and work in an 18th century shipbuilding village; home to the ships built for...
The most complete surviving Cistercian monastery in southern England, with almost all the walls of its 13th-century church still standing, along with many monastic buildings. After the Dissolution, the...