Jane Austen Regency Week takes place in Alton, Chawton and Selborne from this Saturday (June 17) for nine days of music, dancing, walks, talks, tours, workshops  and so much more.

It gets off to the usual flying start on Saturday with Regency Day, when Alton High Street is closed to traffic so visitors can enjoy the stalls, entertainment and horse and carriage rides in safety. 

This year the horse and carriage rides will run to a timetable so the horses will not get too tired. 

Following a dance workshop in the afternoon, the Regency Ball takes place in the Assembly Rooms in the evening. 

The Regency Ball at the Assembly Rooms is always a sell-out highlight

The ball is sold out but there are still tickets for the country dance, also at the Assembly Rooms, on the following Saturday.

Much of the attention on Sunday is on Chawton with a walk and events at both Jane Austen’s House (below) and Chawton House, including a picnic hosted by Caroline Knight, Jane Austen’s five-times great niece, but focus returns to Alton later for tea at the Allen Gallery and the wonderful Regency Choral Evensong held annually at St Lawrence Church – which dates from the from the 11th century – with its celebrated choir and organist leading the music.

Monday begins with the House of Embroidered Paper at the Assembly Rooms, followed by the ever-popular tour of the 17th-century Wyard’s Farmhouse – the home of Jane Austen’s niece – with tea in the garden, and later still a talk at the 16th-century Chawton House which Jane Austen called the Great House.

Snowdrops on the lower South Lawn at Chawton House.
Snowdrops on the lower South Lawn at Chawton House (Claire Lewis)

There are more talks and workshops on Tuesday, including the opportunity to make a reticule.

The day starts with a Garden Tour at Chawton House. Later there is a teatime discussion about Sense and Sensibility at the Friends’ Meeting House, also dating back to the 17th century. 

In the evening St Lawrence Church hosts a new event with a talk about Mr Collins and music provided by members of the St Lawrence Choir. 

A walk round Alton, followed by tours and workshops in both Alton and Chawton and concluding with a walk from Chawton to Farringdon, is the order of the day on Wednesday, with more tours in Chawton on Thursday morning.

There is a drop-in session at Alton Library and a bonnet workshop at the Community Centre in the afternoon and a talk at the Allen Gallery in the evening. An organ recital will be held at St Lawrence Church on Thursday lunchtime with music provided by the resident organist, and the choirmaster on trumpet.

Church of St Lawrence, Alton, January 25th 2012.
The Church of St Lawrence (Alton Herald/Paul Coates)

Jane Austen Regency Week moves out to Selborne on Friday with a workshop and tour at Gilbert White’s House during the day and back to Chawton in the evening for cocktails at Chawton House and late opening at Jane Austen’s House.

The guided walk is also of Chawton in the morning of Saturday with a tour at Jane Austen’s House in the afternoon but the action returns to Alton for a country dance in the evening.

The final day, on Sunday June 25, features a garden tour at Chawton House in the morning, another walk from Chawton to Farringdon in the afternoon and the Regency Supper, the traditional closing event, at Jane Austen’s House in the evening. 

For more details of all events and how to buy tickets consult the website www.JaneAustenRegencyWeek.co.uk or phone Alton Community Centre on 01420 85057.