Hampshire is where Jane Austen lived for most of her life and where she wrote most of her novels. When she lived in Steventon near Basingstoke (where she was born), Jane Austen wrote the first drafts of Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. When she lived in Chawton village near Alton during the last 8 years of her life, Jane Austen revised these novels and wrote Emma.
Today, her home in Chawton has been transformed into Jane Austen's House Museum that welcomes the general public and groups of 15 and 60. The museum houses paintings of the family, antiques, original manuscripts, and some of Austen's personal effects including her writing desk, clothing and jewellery. The museum has a variety of special events including writing and poetry workshops, cooking with Jane Austen, and garden tours.
Chawton House Library was once the residence of Jane Austen's brother; today, it houses a collection of English literature by female authors from the 1600 to 1830. The venue, which is available for corporate and private events, is particularly popular for weddings.
Other local attractions include the Allen Gallery and the Curtis Museum with Victorian dolls and crafts and a Jane Austen wall display. At Winchester Cathedral, the illuminated Winchester Bible dating back to the 12th century is on display.
Every year since 2005, Jane Austen Regency Week has taken place for 9 days towards the end of June in Alton & Chawton, Hampshire. The festivities include a ball, tours, enactments of scenes from Jane Austen novels, and suppers.
Corporate groups can also Discover Jane Austen's Bath.
Photo Credit: Jane Austen House Museum