Today we took our bikes on a train and headed for Chawton, a picturesque little village in Hampshire where Jane Austen spent few years of her life before she got ill and moved to Winchester where she died soon after. In Chawton she reworked Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility and wrote Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion.
Jane Austen House Museum is a 17th century house which gives a great insight into the author’s life. The house itself is beautiful and it is surrounded by a large flower garden where Jane and her sister Cassandra would sit.
The trip starts in the bakehouse and kitchen.
The interiors are very simple and humble, Mrs Austen and her daughters were left with very little money and the only help came from Jane’s brother who married well.
To my delight the house was full of costumes from last year’s adaptation of Emma.
A quilt made by Jane, her mother and sister.
The house is full of paintings, illustrations, manuscripts and things found under the floorboards. It is also decorated with simple flowers throughout which makes it look alive and fresh.
Flowers of course came from the garden.
The museum shop is pretty impressive with a unique editions of Austen’s novels. I am contemplating purchasing these.
Opposite the house there is a lovely little tea room, Cassandra’s Cup.
A charming little place serving lunch and tea. I could not resist the Victoria sponge and a glass of refreshing lemonade.
The tea room has got a charming yet wacky interior with over 200 cups hanging off the ceiling.
Feeling refreshed it was time for a country walk which inspired many of Jane’s novels. Walking through it takes you right back to her vibrant descriptions of nature and taking exercise.
We met some pretty horses.
Chawton has got some intellectual vandals.
The village itself has got a large manor house, a rather spectacular church and a lot of houses have thatched roofs creating a perfect English scenery.
A truly lovely day out of town.