Highlights

  • Tour of Jane's cottage, now the Jane Austen House Museum
  • Private dinner at Chawton House, a mansion owned by her brother Edward
  • Visit the homes of Austen family friends
  • Secrets of ladies corsets and clothing revealed by Regency expert
  • Visit to Selborne, home of 18th century naturalist Gilbert White

One of English literature's best-loved authors, Jane Austen, wittily observed preindustrial English society from a sheltered and gentrified family life in Hampshire. The literary walk of her lifetime takes us to many of her haunts, including the village of Steventon where her father was Rector, and the gentle rolling countryside that forms the backdrop to much of her work.

A walk through rich meadows and snug valleys, handsome estates and civilized landscapes intersperses two visits to Chawton, where Jane moved at the age of 33. These take us on paths she probably used, passing timeless cottages she would have known. The week closes in Winchester, once capital of the ancient kingdom of Wessex, where Jane is buried in the ancient cathedral.

Sunday Overnight: Oakley Hall Hotel

After arriving at Basingstoke, we rendezvous at Oakley Hall, an elegant 18th Century Manor House Hotel in the village of Oakley. Former owners of the house, the Bramstons, were good friends of the Austen family, who lived nearby. It is suggested that Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park is based on Oakley Hall and that Lady Bertram was based on Mrs Bramston.

Monday Overnight: Oakley Hall Hotel

Our first walk takes us to Steventon where Jane spent her first 25 years. We ramble in her footsteps, along paths close to the rectory and through the gentle rolling countryside that would have been so familiar to her. The Rectory itself was pulled down soon after her death but the 12th Century church where she worshipped stands unchanged. The Austens had a wide circle of friends whom she often visited; we see the homes of some of their closest friends such as Deane House and Ashe House, where Jane received a proposal of marriage. After a pub lunch, we visit the church where Jane's brother was vicar and then we drive to the start of a gentle walk through the woods on the estate to our visit inside the Vynne, a mansion built in the 16th Century and visited by Henry VIII on at least three occasions. It was home to the Chute family who were one of the most respected families and also part of the Austens' circle (although Jane was not particularly fond of Eliza Chute). Before dinner, we have a fascinating talk from a Regency clothing expert who will reveal secrets of corsetry and ladies costumes in Jane Austen's era.

Tuesday Overnight: Oakley Hall Hotel

We set off for the pretty village of Chawton where Jane moved in 1809. Our circular walk takes us along paths familiar to Jane and her sister and we visit her cottage, now the Jane Austen House Museum. After our pub lunch, we walk around the extensive grounds surrounding "The Great House, the fine Elizabethan mansion owned by Jane Austen's brother Edward. We pass the churchyard where Jane's mother and sister are buried and we return to our hotel for dinner.

Wednesday Overnight: Langrish House Hotel

Today our walk focuses on the pretty village of Selborne the former home of Gilbert White who was a fellow clergyman and contemporary of Jane's father and a famous 18th Century naturalist and author. Our morning and afternoon walks take us through one of Hampshire's famous "Hangers", beautiful beech-clad hills. After our lunch we visit White's house and extensive garden before resuming our walk, ascending via the famous zig-zag path from the village. We transfer to our hotel in Petersfield. In the evening we return to Chawton House, now renowned for its library collection which focuses primarily on women's writing from 1600 to 1830s, for a private dinner at the very table where Jane would have dined with her family.

Thursday Overnight: Langrish House Hotel

We start our day strolling through Chawton Woods, a favourite haunt of Jane & her sister Cassandra, towards Fourmarks Station where we board the restored steam train on the Watercress line. This train was first introduced to Hampshire by Jane Austen's brother. We have lunch in the village of Tichborne in a local coaching inn, and then our walk follows a beautiful river path towards Winchester.

Friday Overnight: Lainston House Hotel

We walk in Winchester through the streets of this historic city and onto the meadows south of the city. When we arrive at the Hospital of St Cross, England's oldest and most perfect Almshouse, we will receive refreshments in the form of the Wayfarers' Dole, a unique and ancient tradition established almost a thousand years ago. One of the Brothers will show us this spectacular collection of medieval and Tudor buildings before we continue along the river Itchen to our pub lunch. In the afternoon we continue our exploration of the city and finish with a visit to the Cathedral where Jane is buried. Our Farewell Dinner will be in our hotel, a grand 17th century country house set in 63 acres of parkland.

Saturday

The Wayfarers will provide a transfer from your hotel to Winchester Rail Station.
Easy
"It's seeing all the secret stuff!"
Terrain: Country byways, well-trodden footpaths, village lanes, low hills. 6-10 miles of walking per day.

TRIP DETAILS

6 nights from
$4,295.00
Double Occupancy
(Single Supplement $565.00)
Our Wayfarers friends Price is $4,080.00

Dates

From May 8 to May 14 (more dates)
Request booking
Arrival: Basingstoke Rail Station
Departure: Winchester Rail Station

Activities

Walk CultureBook Location VisitFilm Location VisitGarden VisitLocal expert talk
Jane Austen Country Map

Hotels - Where we stay

Oakley Hall

Oakley Hall

Built in 1795, Oakley Hall has a distinguished past. Formerly owned by the Bramston family, close friends of Jane Austen, it is mentioned fondly in Austen's letters to her sister Cassandra at the turn of the 19th Century. The character "Lady Bertram" was based on Mrs Bramston, who herself thought that Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice were nonsense. Ironically, she liked Mansfield Park! Jane Austen lived in the neighbouring village of Steventon until she was 25 years old, and during this time she wrote some of her most loved and remembered novels, including Pride & Prejudice.

She wasn't the only author to be inspired by Oakley Hall: Henry Fielding, creator of Tom Jones, also enjoyed lengthy stays at Oakley. This independent hotel is now owned by a local businessman who took over the running of this family business from his father over 20 years ago. The hotel recently underwent a massive restoration and refurbishment which has restored this Georgian building to its full glory. The rooms have Egyptian cotton linen, laptop safe, hair-dryer, DVD Player and high speed wireless internet, located within the main house or 19th century stable block. Relax and enjoy the complimentary hand made Hampshire biscuits, bathrobe, slippers and toiletries.

Langrish House

Langrish House

Set in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Langrish House is family owned and operated. Home to the Talbot-Ponsonby family for over 7 generations, Langrish House dates back to the 17th century. Nigel's father, Edward, inherited the house and the Langrish Estate in 1937 - aged 19. He was fascinated by machinery and started 'making things' in the stables. By the time the War came in 1939, he had a thriving and very busy factory making cockpits for Spitfires, and Munitions for the War Effort. During the War soldiers from New Zealand were billeted here and slept either in the house or in tents on the three large lawns. All the bedrooms are en-suite and individually decorated and enjoy beautiful views over the extensive grounds. They are luxurious and well appointed and all have television, phone, wifi, and tea/coffee making facilities.

Lainston House Hotel

Lainston House Hotel

A charming 17th century building in 63 acres of lush parkland with a 12th century chapel ruin and a pretty dovecote, Lainston House, once visited by Charles II, is just a couple of miles from the center of Winchester.The grounds include a sheltered South Terrace and a croquet lawn and, enclosed within a yew hedge, the beautiful Sundial Garden alongside an ancient, walled kitchen garden, which has recently been restored. No two of the 50 bedrooms are the same, each individually and comfortably styled, with features including four-poster beds, panoramic views, rain bar showers, roll top or spa baths and state of the art facilities. Each room has telephone, TV, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer and WiFi is available. Taking its name from the magnificent mile-long avenue of lime trees viewed from your table, The Avenue is an intimate, elegant restaurant. Chef Olly Rouse is an advocate of celebrating Britain and grows his own produce in the hotel????????s abundant kitchen garden, while exploring global tastes and techniques.

Start planning your trip

What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants