The county of Hampshire is home to dozens of manor houses, countless woodlands and many quaint villages. Jane Austen, arguably Hampshire’s most celebrated inhabitant, drew her inspirations for her great works from this very region, proudly stating that she was ‘a Hampshire born Austen’, never failing to remember her roots. So much can be gained about novels from experiencing the environment of their author and so, without further ado, here are 3 must-visit locations for any great Jane Austen fan.

Austen’s birthplace of Steventon, a village 7 miles from Basingstoke, gave her a strong drive and passion for writing. When in residence at Steventon, Austen completed the first drafts of what would later be published as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. Her productivity in the rural countryside of Hampshire is incomparable to that during her time in the city of Bath, where she seemingly worked on just one piece that ultimately was left unfinished. From an early age, Austen was surrounded by environments that influenced her views of society and perceptions of social interactions, such as The Vyne, a former Tudor palace where Austen attended dances and balls in her youth. Now a National Trust site, The Vyne is open to visitors who may want to experience the ambiance of the halls that ushered Austen into adult society.

Chawton Cottage is the second stop of this tour – this home of Austen’s was the location of the writing of all six of her famed novels. Situated near Alton, the house now serves as a museum, allowing fans of the author to visit the very desk she wrote at, preserved in its original position in the house. Austen inhabited the cottage for eight years and Chawton Cottage was where Austen revised and made ready for publication the drafts she produced in Steventon, as well as writing Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion. Museum Officer, Rebecca Wood, explained the significance of the house for Austen’s work:

“The location of Chawton was hugely important for Jane’s writings. The setting of rural villages and the communities within them are central to novels like Pride and Prejudice and Emma.”

The museum opened in 1949 and remains open to the public today.

Finally, Winchester Cathedral is the resting place of Jane Austen, and her memorial stone is there, alongside the Saxon kings. Canon Roland of Winchester Cathedral described the future plans for commemorating Jane’s life in Hampshire:

“In 2025, we look forward to celebrating the 250th anniversary of her birth by installing a memorial sculpture for her in the Cathedral Close, as a happy focus for all who love her work.”

Jane Austen’s life and works are intertwined with Hampshire – as her county of birth, life and death, Hampshire played an incredible role in shaping Austen’s writing, which in turn, went on to shape the future of British literature as a whole.