Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time in Hampshire, the county in which Jane Austen, the famed writer of such classics as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, resided for many years. As we were travelling through, myself and my companion decided to visit her former home in the picturesque village of Chawton, which has now been turned into a museum dedicated to preserving the memory of her charming and intriguing life.
As a bookworm who has always had a fascination with Austen and her works, which were ahead of their time and are still utterly compelling to this day, I was delighted to visit this beautiful house and gain an insight into one of my favourite authors. In the past month I have also had the pleasure of exploring the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Buckinghamshire, which was a great place to learn about another extraordinary writer and revel in the childlike glee which his work inspired in readers around the world.
However, the Jane Austen museum is something altogether unique, and I would throughly recommend that anyone with even a passing interest in this exceptional novelist visit this perfectly preserved and lovingly curated house. Filled with fascinating curios and insightful notes on the history of Austen’s family and their lives, this is a great way to indulge your reading hobby in a more sociable, outdoorsy manner.
After all, reading is, primarily, a solitary activity, and one that is often difficult to share with others. With a trip to a museum such as this, book lovers can share their joy with their friends and family as they explore the life and learning of this beloved author. As Austen’s works are popular with a wide variety of readers and film fans, her former home is the perfect day out for a family or group of friends that can never decide where to go or what to do.
There are so many fascinating objects in the house, including the little table at which Jane Austen sat and wrote her letters, a muslin shawl she actually made and transcripts of a number of letters that she wrote to her friends and family. The walls are covered in beautiful portraits of the Austen family and drawings that they and their friends created. There is also a museum cat, who is definitely worth a mention!
So, overall, Jane Austen’s House Museum is the perfect trip for book lovers and Jane Austen fans seeking an innovative and exciting way to find out more about this pioneering female author. Although the house is not vast, there is plenty to see and do, and the building has extensive gardens which are stunning, especially in more clement weather such as this weekend (although, this is Britain, so we’ll just have to wait and see how long it holds on for!). There is also a local library where Austen took inspiration which is worth a visit, and with a pub and a tea room nearby you can truly make a day of it.