Christmas at Jane Austen’s House

The festive season is almost upon us and this year we will be bringing the famous Christmas scenes from Emma to life via a brand-new immersive experience, featuring Bertie Carvel and Sally Scott!

Jane Austen wrote Emma in 1814 whilst living here in Chawton and it was published on 23 December in 1815. This year, we’re excited to bring key scenes from the novel to life using specially commissioned audio, along with decorations and scents!

Moving from room to room, you can follow the story of Emma’s Christmas Eve dinner at Randalls and the fateful snowstorm that follows. The story will be told through a specially created audio installation that brings three key Christmas scenes from Emma to life, within the very rooms where the novel was written, with festive decorations and seasonal scents echoing the motifs in the story.

The audio installation will feature Sally Scott (The Tower, Trauma) as the matchmaking heroine Emma Woodhouse and Bertie Carvel (The Crown, Dalgleish) as Mr Elton – the over-confident clergyman who proposes to her on Christmas Eve. The cast also features Carlyss Peer as the narrator and Dominic Gerrard as Mr John Knightley.

Sally Scott

Sally Scott

(credit: Harry Livingstone)

Bertie Carvel

Bertie Carvel

(credit: Bertie Carvel)

Sounds and scents from the story, from creaking carriages to roaring coal fires, will contribute to the immersive effect throughout the House. Handcrafted decorations made from discarded copies of Emma will echo themes from the story, adding another layer to the experience and nodding to the eighteenth-century passion for paper crafting. A first edition of Emma will also be on display.

Sally Scott said: “What a thrill to be part of this inventive project, bringing Jane Austen’s characters to life in the very rooms in which they were first conceived.”

“Christmas at Randalls” will run from Thursday 23 November – Sunday 7 January 2024 and is included with House admission.

We also have some special festive events running in December, including Candlelit House Tours on 2 and 9 December – come and enjoy an atmospheric tour of Jane Austen’s home by flickering candlelight, followed by warming mulled wine and mince pies in the Historic Kitchen! Or why not join us on Jane Austen’s birthday (Saturday 16 December) for an early-morning breakfast tour of the House.  In the evening, we’ll once again be hosting our popular annual Virtual Birthday Party, bringing together fans and supporters from across the globe for music, readings, talks, games and merriment! This year’s special guests include historian and broadcaster Lucinda Hawksley, novelist Jessica Bull and actor Rebecca Tanwen. We’re also running a special festive edition of our Guided Virtual Tour. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Jane Austen’s House over the festive season! Please remember to check our Winter Opening Hours before you visit!