Jane Austen on Holiday

‘I dare say You are already the better for change of place’ - Jane Austen, Monday 8 April 1805

This year, we are all longing for a holiday. We are desperate to escape the domestic confinements and routines of home that we have all experienced too much in the last year. We want the stimulation and novelty of somewhere new.

Jane Austen knew the feeling! Whilst she loved her home life in Steventon and then in Chawton, she also enjoyed travel and adventure – be it a visit to London for shopping and the theatre, or a trip to the seaside.

As she prepared to leave her childhood home of Steventon in 1801, she wrote that ‘the prospect of spending future summers by the Sea or in Wales is very delightful’ – indeed, from 1801–1809, while she was struggling with a new life in Bath and then in Southampton, annual holidays to the seaside were a lifeline for her. In those years, the Austens visited Dawlish, Teignmouth, Sidmouth, Worthing, Lyme Regis, and possibly Barmouth and Tenby. These holidays were an opportunity to escape the dirt and crowds of the city, and to enjoy space and quiet, coastal walks, sea bathing and fresh air.

To explore this exhibition online, click on a room number below. This exhibition can also be seen in situ at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton. To book tickets to visit in person, please click here

Room 1: Sea bathing 

Room 2: Entertainment

Room 3: Holiday romance

Room 4: Health benefits

Room 5: Inspiration