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  • Follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of her birth

  • Become immersed in Jane’s life and work through visits to key sites associated with her, from her birthplace in Steventon to Bath, Lyme Regis, Chawton and Winchester

  • Take in a special exhibition dedicated to Jane Austen at The Arc, Winchester, and visit her resting place in the city’s beautiful cathedral

“Suzanne’s lectures and general information given on the subjects in question were always on top form and superbly done. She is a wonderful lecturer”

– ACE customer on a 2023 tour led by Suzanne Fagence Cooper

One of Britain’s most celebrated authors and historical figures, Jane Austen (1775-1817) is revered the world over for her much-loved novels, with their deftly observed characters and acute social commentary, and her work has rarely been out of print over the past two centuries. 2025 marks 250 years since Jane’s birth, providing the perfect opportunity to make a literary pilgrimage to the sites most closely associated with her, as they commemorate this important occasion.

 

Our tour will be based in the beautiful historical town of Salisbury, from where we will span out across the surrounding counties on a series of day excursions to visit sites connected to Jane’s life and work. She was born in the winter of 1775 in the small village of Steventon in Hampshire, where her parents had taken up residence at the rectory. Although the house was later demolished, we will visit the Parish Church of St Nicholas, where her father, two of her brothers and her nephew were rectors, and where Jane herself was baptised in the spring of 1776.

 

Between 1801 and 1806 Jane spent time living in Bath, then a newly built Georgian spa resort and centre of fashionable society. Her home for a time was No 4 Sydney Place, designed by young architect Thomas Baldwin and located close to Sydney Gardens, which surround what is now the Holburne Museum in the Bathwick area of the city.

 

We will also journey to the delightful coastal town of Lyme Regis, known as the ‘Pearl of Dorset’, located on the Jurassic coast within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Jane is known to have visited Lyme – a fashionable resort in the early 19th century – on two occasions, in 1803 and 1804. Part of her posthumously published novel Persuasion is set there – somewhat unusually, as often the settings for her stories were fictional places.

 

As Jane wrote in Persuasion, “a very strange stranger it must be who does not see charms in the immediate environs of Lyme, to make him wish to know it better”. We will enjoy a historical walking tour of the town, visit the Lyme Regis Museum, and, weather permitting, take a walk along The Cobb, scene of one of the book’s most memorable episodes.

 

A highlight of our tour will be a day excursion to the charming village of Chawton in Hampshire, where Jane lived from 1809 until her final move to Winchester in 1817. The beautiful red brick Chawton Cottage was offered to Jane, her mother, sister Cassandra and Martha Lloyd by her elder brother Edward, who had inherited estates in Hampshire and Kent.

 

The cottage – today a “cherished museum with an unparalleled collection of Austen treasures” – provided a productive setting in which Jane wrote many of her best-loved novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Emma. Her writing table – a small walnut tripod piece – is still at the house. Other items in the collection include letters, portraits and items of jewellery, including Jane’s gold and turquoise ring and two topaz crosses owned by her and her sister.

 

We also hope to make a visit to Chawton House, the ‘Great House’ referred to in Jane’s letters, and now a centre devoted to celebrating and preserving a unique collection of early women’s writing. Here, we hope to enjoy a special guided tour focusing on these literary treasures.

 

The tour also includes an opportunity to pay tribute to Jane Austen at her final resting place in Winchester Cathedral, which is planning to commission a new statue of the author to commemorate her 250th birthday. Whilst in Winchester, we will also pay a visit to The Arc, the city’s arts centre housed in a Grade II listed building, which will be mounting a special celebratory exhibition focusing on the role of women in Jane’s work.

 

Our tour will be based at the four-star Milford Hall Hotel, set in a Grade II listed Georgian mansion with a modern annexe, a short walk from the historical centre of Salisbury. The family-owned property has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and will provide a relaxing base for our tour.

 

This tour will be led by Suzanne Fagence Cooper, MA, PhD, a curator, historian and Arts Society accredited lecturer. Suzanne specialises in 19th century British art and history, and is the author of books including To See Clearly: Why Ruskin Matters (2019) and How We Might Live: At Home with Jane and William Morris (2022). She worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum for 12 years and has collaborated with many of Britain’s regional museum collections.

Days
6
Cost
£2195
Tour Code
JAUS-25


Included: accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, five breakfasts, one light lunch, four dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.


Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £395.

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