Head to the market town of Alton in Hampshire next week to celebrate Jane Austen and all things Regency at its eight-day festival.
Between 18 and 26 June, Alton – where Jane shopped, banked, collected and delivered post, visited her friends and caught the stagecoach to London – and the nearby village of Chawton – which is home to the Jane Austen’s House Museum and where Jane spent the last eight years of her life and produced six great novels – host the Jane Austen Regency Week.
The festival boasts a fantastic line-up of activities and events, including Regency-style music, dining, drama and film, talks and walks, a vintage fair as well as a Regency Day with ball and dancing workshop. And, as donning Regency dress is encouraged at many of the events, it’s the ideal excuse to dust of the bonnet and Empire line dress and get dressed up.
Things kick off on Saturday June 18 with the Regency Day in Alton, featuring historical delights such as carriage rides, a swordsmanship display, costumes, market stalls, dancing and other entertainment. The celebrations continue with a dancing workshop and then into the evening with a sumptuous Regency Ball.
Chawton’s Vintage Fair on 19 June will have up to 30 stalls offering a plethora of interesting and unusual items, followed in the evening with a Regency choral evensong at St Lawrence’s Church in Alton, the church where two of Jane’s brother preached and several nieces and nephews were christened.
After a week packed with fascinating and fun events, the finale comes in the shape of a Victorian Cricket Match and entertainment for all the family on The Butts Green on June 26, followed by a Regency Supper at the Alton House Hotel, celebrating cuisine of the period.
For tickets, pricing and more information, visit Jane Austen Regency Week.