Jane Austen Anniversary Festival

Join us from 14-18 July for a festival of events commemorating Jane Austen's death and celebrating her life, works and legacy

Jane Austen died on 18 July 1817, aged 41. Join us to commemorate the 206th anniversary of her death with our annual festival, celebrating her life and those extraordinary novels that so many people return to again and again for joy and solace, wit and wisdom.

Over this special long weekend we’ll be running special house tours, staying open late, listening to music, making sustainable dresses, doing some deep readings, dressing up and viewing some of our most precious objects up close.

Join us for one event or several! If you are holidaying in Hampshire this summer, we can’t think of a more perfect long weekend away!

A group of people in Regency dress in the garden at Jane Austen's House

Our annual Dress Up Day is the perfect excuse to get dressed up!
Photo by Luke Shears

From Thursday to Monday we’ll be collecting Notes for Jane – add your handwritten note to our bouquet of garden flowers that we’ll lay on her grave on Tuesday, the anniversary of her death.

On Friday morning we’re taking you behind the scenes with our special Waking Up the House Tour – join us as we open the House up for the day – we’ll be unlocking doors, opening shutters and letting sunshine into the darkened rooms.

Glimpsing into the Dining Room at Jane Austen's House. Photo by Luke Shears

Waking Up the House… enjoy a glimpse behind the scenes
as Jane Austen’s House wakes up for the day

Saturday is Dress Up Day – one of our favourite days of the year! We’ll be dressing up in our best Regency attire and we’d love you to join in the fun – come along in Georgian or Regency dress and enjoy 10% off in the shop!

If you have a Regency outfit of your own that’s wonderful, but we’ll provide lots of our own dresses too so there will be plenty to try on!

For this year’s Dress Up Day will we’ll be joined by Meg Lara Atelier – a brilliant designer and maker specialising in sustainable costume design. She’ll be creating a Regency dress in a day using found materials, so you can drop by for a chat, see what she’s up to, and view some of her beautiful creations. Come along to learn, enjoy and be inspired!

Meg Lara ties a sash onto a pink dress on a mannequin. Photo by Jake Walker

Meg Lara will be bringing her sewing skills to Dress Up Day –
pop in to see her at work, learn, chat and be inspired!
Photo by Jake Walker 

Saturday evening is our Late View: Music and Objects. Enjoy special object talks by our expert staff followed by a glass of wine in the museum garden.

On Sunday we’ll be getting up close and personal with some of the most precious objects in our collection. Austen Treasures is a unique opportunity to view some of the highlights of our collection and discuss them with an expert from the Museum.

A double page spread of Jane Austen's handwritten music book.

See one of Jane Austen’s handwritten music books up close
in our exclusive Austen Treasures event.

There are some great online events too. Join us on Sunday evening for a unique online event: our Guided Reading Session is for anyone who loves reading and wants to explore three short texts in greater depth. As a group we’ll do a close reading of each text, sharing ideas, interpretations and reactions.

On Tuesday, the anniversary of Jane’s death, we’ve got one of our acclaimed Virtual Tours – led by our inspiring guides, we’ll lead you through the House in which Jane lived and wrote, revealing stories and treasures, and sharing our love of her novels as we go.

Festival programme:

14 – 17 July: Notes to Jane

Friday 14 July, 9am: Waking Up the House

Saturday 15 July: Dress Up Day

Saturday 15 July: Late View: Music and Objects

Sunday 16 July, 2pm: Austen treasures

Sunday 16 July, 7pm: Online guided reading session

Tuesday 18 July, 6pm: Virtual Tour

We can’t wait to see you there!

View our events for more info on all events and to book tickets!