Jane Austen's House Museum in Chawton, Hampshire is the only house where Jane lived and wrote which is open to the public as a museum. Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life in this unpretentious cottage in Hampshire from 1809 until 1817. It was in this house that Jane’s genius flourished and where she was free to write.
In this house Jane revised the three manuscripts she had written previously, but which had remained unpublished, wrote three more novels and started one more, which was destined to remain unfinished before illness overtook her. Jane left the cottage for the last time in May 1817 to take lodgings near her physician in Winchester. She died only a few months later on the 18 July and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
Jane’s mother and sister, Cassandra, continued to live at the cottage for the rest of their lives. When Cassandra died in 1845 the cottage was split in three dwelling for labourers on the Chawton estate. The cottage remained in this state until it was put up for sale in 1947.
After an appeal in The Times by the Jane Austen Society, the cottage was bought by Mr. T.E. Carpenter who turned it into a Museum dedicated to the life and works of Jane Austen. Mr. Carpenter presented the house to the nation in 1949, in memory of his son Lieutenant Philip John Carpenter who fell in the battle in Lake Trasimene in June 1944. The Museum has been open to the public ever since.
The Museum today reflects the comfortable family home that the Austen women created while telling the story of their lives and Jane’s work.
On your visit to Jane Austen's House Museum, you will be able to explore the house where Jane Austen lived and wrote. The cottage itself houses a collection of Jane Austen artefacts whilst retaining the charms of the early 19th century home that Jane would have known. Visit the bakehouse and kitchen where the domestic side of life was managed by the ladies of the house.
Enjoy the peaceful English cottage garden and imagine Mrs. Austen in her smock digging up the potatoes (much to her daughters' embarrassment). You are welcome to bring your own food and picnic in the garden (well behaved dogs on leads are also welcome in the garden only).
The purpose built Learning Centre houses interactive exhibits which are fun for all the family. And don't forget to browse the museum shop. They stock a large selection of souvenirs and hold a comprehensive range of Jane Austen literature.
They want to help disabled visitors enjoy their experience as much as they can. There is wheelchair access to all the ground-floor areas on site (unfortunately the age of the building prevents them installing a lift). Guide-dogs are welcome throughout the museum. If you require any further information, please call 01420 83262.
The Museum is open throughout the year though closes during the week for the first six weeks of the year.
2 January – 13 February: Weekends Only – 10.30am-4.30pm
14 February – 31 May: Daily – 10.30am-4.30pm
1 June – 31 August: Daily – 10.00am-5.00pm
1 September – 1 January: Daily – 10.30am-4.30pm
CLOSED: 24, 25 & 26 December
Last entry is half an hour before close.
Please note: In 2017 they will be closed for all of January and February, including weekends, while they prepare the House for the bicentenary commemorations of Jane Austen's Life.
Getting to the Museum
From London/NE, take the A3/A31 via Guildford/Farnham. Chawton is clearly signposted from A31/A32 roundabout nr Alton. Jane Austen’s House Museum is in the centre of Chawton village.
From the SW follow the A31 from Winchester towards Alton. Chawton is clearly signposted from A31/A32 roundabout nr Alton. Jane Austen’s House Museum is in the centre of Chawton village.
Free parking is provided in the public car park opposite the Museum beyond the pub carpark. Coaches must use the specially marked parking bays. Please avoid parking on the street.
Trains run regularly from Waterloo to Alton which is at the end of the line. The journey takes approx. 1 hour & 15 mins. There is a taxi rank outside the station.
From Winchester - Catch the 64 bus from the Winchester Bus Station. Ask for Chawton Roundabout. [Note: You will need to cross a couple of very busy carriageways to get to Chawton]. The 64 can also be caught from Alton Station. Timetable - Chawton Roundabout stop is between Four Marks & Alton Sports Centre.
From Alton - See above and the 38 Bus also runs through Chawton enroute from Alton to Petersfield. Timetable