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Chawton Tours

Posted: 23rd April 2015
Chawton Tours

Jane Austen's House Museum

Jane Austen's house is located in the Hampshire village of Chawton. Her adopted brother, Edward Austen-Knight offered the cottage that was part his Chawton House estate to his widowed mother, sisters, Jane and Cassandra, and their dear friend Martha Lloyd.

Their welcome return from Bath to the Hampshire village in 1809, heralded a new beginning for them, particularly Jane. In the house, her sense of contentment flourished enabling Jane to revise all her previously written drafts that included Pride and Prejudice, and to continue writing three other novels, including Emma.

The Austen's embraced their new country lifestyle enjoying visits from their brothers, young nieces and nephews. Jane and Cassandra were popular aunts, and Jane was an active participant in their games and played musical pieces to them. Jane was an accomplished pianist who played for two hours every day before breakfast.


The Austen's ate very well and had plenty of fresh, seasonal produce and they often received gifts of food from different family members. Jane and Cassandra were also avid walkers of the local area covering much of the countryside. 


Jane Austen's House Museum today is dedicated to her life and her works. It gives an account of the life Jane and her family led in Chawton. Throughout the Museum there are displays of Austen family portraits, personal and family memorabilia, original manuscripts and first editions of her novels. Other featured displays include Jane's personal jewellery, including her turquoise ring that was acquired by the Museum through their successful fundraising campaign. 


Visitors to the Museum will discover the small occasional table where she wrote and hid her work early on in her writing career. Whilst outside the cottage, the garden is surrounded with flowers of all kinds and where the Austen ladies enjoyed spending their time. At the back of the house, the Bakehouse and the historical kitchen, visitors can see first-hand where Jane enjoyed being 'an experimental cook'.


  • Membership of the Friends Scheme offers exclusive tours, free admission and a lecture.
  • Opening times vary depending on the time of the year.
  • Jan (Weekend only) 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • Feb (Weekend only) - 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th, then open daily from 14th 10.30am - 4.30pm
  • March-May&Sept - 1st Jan - open daily 10.30am - 4.30pm, except 24th,25th & 26th Dec (Closed 


  • Education resource centre
  • Garden area
  • Historical kitchen
  • Bakehouse
  • Gift shop


  • Musical concerts
  • Workshops/ Demonstrations
  • Lectures
  • Family activities

Contact Details

Jane Austen's House Museum, 

GU34 1SD

Telephone: +44 (0) 1420 83262


Chawton House

Chawton House is an Elizabethan manor located in the village of Chawton approximately five minutes walk from Jane Austen's Cottage and Museum. The house has over four hundred years of history and was owned by the Knight Family. 

Jane Austen's younger brother, Edward, was adopted by childless distant family cousins, Thomas and Catherine Knight in 1783. Edward Austen-Knight later became heir to Chawton House in 1794. In 1809, he offered his widowed mother, sisters,


Jane and Cassandra, along with their friend Martha Lloyd, a cottage on the Chawton House estate. Jane's return to Chawton enabled her to pursue her writing with vigour making it her most prolific writing period. Jane often visited the 'Great House' as she described it, when Edward was in residence. Jane read books in the library and drew inspiration whilst writing her novels in the Oak room alcove looking out onto the garden.


Chawton House remained under the ownership of the Knight Family until the 1990's until business woman and philanthropist, Sandy Lerner, acquired and restored Chawton House to its former glory re-opening it in 2003. Today, Chawton House is a registered charity that has a unique collection of early English women's writing from 1600 to 1830 offering academics, scholars and readers the opportunity research and engage with specialist books in the library. The charity is also concerned with the conservation and maintenance of Chawton House in keeping with its heritage. 

House Tours

  • Guided tours of Chawton House and the library - Tuesday and Thursday 2.30pm.
  • Visits to Chawton House and the Library may be made by the public by prior appointment.
  • First-time visitors to the Library are required to bring identification.
  • Open Days, Heritage Days and Fellows Lectures appear on the Chawton House website: 


  • 19th Century walled garden
  • Working Shire horses
  • 18th Century Parkland
  • St. Nicholas Church
  • Jane Austen Trail
  • Picnic area
  • Gift shop 

Contact details

Chawton House, 
GU34 15J, UK


Telephone: +44 (0)1420 541010

Chawton House Library

Chawton House Library was officially recognised as a charity in 2003. The business woman and philanthropist, Sandy Lerner was instrumental in the development of a centre for early English women’s writing. She was an avid collector rare and unique books by early women writers. Lerner discovered an outlet to share her passion for Austen and other early women writers by setting up a research and study centre at Chawton House.


Chawton House Library is now an internationally, renowned research centre for the study of English women’s writing from 1600 to 1830. Most of the early editions are rare and unique publications. The extensive collection includes the works of some the greatest English women writers including Sarah Burney, Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, as well as lesser-known women writers. The range of subject areas covered are diverse including botany, medicine, cookery, travel and much more.


There is also literature not written by women but related to the lives and experiences of women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Library is also home to the Knight Collection, a private library belonging to the Knight family. The collection amassed over subsequent generations with some of the books dating back as far as the 1500's. The majority of the collection dates back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Edward Austen-Knight owned the collection during his time at Chawton House, and Jane was known to have used the Library when she visited. Much later on, the other book collection from the estate in Kent, Godmersham, was re-located to Chawton House.

The Library also works in partnership with academic scholars and universities worldwide including the UK. One partnership link that is of particular significance is the academic connection with the University of Southampton having established links in the field of women's writing and history in the eighteenth century.


In 2003, the University of Southampton in association with Chawton House Library started the first MA in Eighteenth Century studies, known as MA Chawton. Chawton House Library also encourages visiting fellowships, many which come from all parts of the globe including Australia, Spain and the USA.


 By Car

From London, get onto the M3 and take the A31 junction to Alton follow the A31 passing through Ropley and Four Marks at junction take the 31/32 roundabout signposted Chawton. A brown tourist signpost displays 'Jane Austen's place' turn into the road. Jane Austen's House Museum is located to the right upon arrival into the village.


 By Train

Go to Waterloo Railway Station and take the train to Alton. Take the no.64 bus to Chawton. Let the bus driver that you want to be dropped off at the Chawton roundabout. A brown tourist signpost displays 'Jane Austen's place'. This is a 10 minute walk to Chawton village. Upon arrival into the village, take a right and the road takes you past Chawton Primary School, continue walking until you see a dead end. Chawton House is on the right.



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