Darwin Escapes

Celebrate 200 Years of Jane Austen


Enjoy a packed year of exhibitions and events all over the country, and near her home in Surrey

Our own Tilford Woods Lodge Retreat is located in Farnham, Surrey. While being only a 50-minute train ride away from the capital city of London, you can have a fun-filled holiday break with us, and this year is extra special. 2017 is the 200-year anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, one of Britain’s most-loved authors, Surrey was Austen’s home, with her house turned into a museum and a plethora of events and exhibitions on throughout the year to enjoy too!

Surrey provided the inspiration to many of her amazing novels, the Hampshire Cultural Trust will be holding activities and events, including talks, walks, live performances and even writing competitions, throughout the year at different sites, including the Jane Austen’s House Museum. The museum also has fantastic Jane Austen Picnic Packs, the packs include Regency recipes you can cook at home, a Jane Austen quiz, riddles and period games to play, as well as lots of ideas on how to hold a Jane Austen themed picnic for your friends and family.


Events & Exhibitions


Exhibitions and events will be taking place at various locations throughout Surrey and will include debuting permanent exhibitions such as The Jane Austen Story at the Winchester Cathedral. Where you can read all about her birth, childhood, and life, as well as being able to visit her gravesite. Also visit the Port of Gosport, where you will find The Navy at the Time of Austen: Fighting, Flirting & Fortune exhibition on display. This exhibition is all about the inspiration behind her hero’s in her later novels, her brothers, you will learn through Austen’s novels, letters and contemporary accounts about the dangers, dramas, entertainment and social life aboard ship in the Navy during that era.

Visit the Retail & Romance exhibition at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke. Austen knew Basingstoke very well, she often attended many balls and dances at the Assembly Rooms in the area. Jane Austen always wrote about the world she knew, including how someone should behave at a ball, what they would wear and eat at these high-flying social events. The exhibition covers the gentry, gossip and breathtaking gowns, Austen was an avid consumer of the gowns of the day, evident from her letters and the descriptions of what she was wearing at balls and dances.

Take a Jane Austen Tour & Tea at Winchester Cathedral, where you will stand next to the grave of Austen and reflect on her life in a very moving experience. The tour is conducted by a specialised cathedral guides, who will include insights into Austen’s life and her connections with Hampshire, along with a tour of Cathedral Close down to the house where she died on Cottage Street. The tour ends at The Refectory and your ticket price includes tea and a slice of cake here, where the conversation will surely continue on about the fascinating life of Jane Austen.

Enjoy a live comedic performance from the Ausentatious group at The Haymarket in Hampshire, who will be putting on an improvised comedy play. Every show the talented cast of comedians conjure up a brand new ‘lost’ Austen novel, always based on nothing more than an audience suggested title. Previous hilarious plays include Sixth Sense & Sensibility and Double O’Darcy, all plays are performed in period costume with live musical accompaniment, a fun night out for everyone.


Jane Austen’s House Museum


Along with all the normal fascinating goings-on at the museum, there are lots of extra exhibitions and events throughout the year to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. Visit the Jane Austen in 41 Objects exhibition, Austen was only 41 years old when she passed away in 1817 and the exhibition tells the story of her life and legacy through 41 different objects. An evolving exhibition that runs alongside a series of online posts by guest writers. Each object comes with accompanying text and explores a different aspect of Austen’s life and work. The exhibition finishes on 15th December, one day before her birthday.

Writing Lives with Lucinda Hawksley is a writing workshop that will be taking place at the Jane Austen’ House Museum on 16th September. Visit and learn how to write your memoirs or a biographer, learn from top biographer Lucinda Hawksley, who will teach you where to start, how to extend your research and how to structure your work, as well as giving a valuable insight into the publishing industry. Join in on the workshop and let your creative juices flow!


2017 is the year to visit Tilford Woods and explore all the Jane Austen happenings around Surrey, you can help to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the death of one of Britain’s most-loved authors.

Book your holiday at Tilford Woods today and start exploring the local area and history!


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Photo Credits: John Lodder, Spencer Means