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Top 5: Ways to celebrate Jane Austen

With 2017 marking the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Lucy Maddox scopes out ways to celebrate the literary legend

Rain Jane

Jane Austen is buried in Winchester’s landmark cathedral and to mark the anniversary of her death, Winchester City Council has commissioned the Rain Jane trail: 12 Jane Austen quotes that will pop up on pavements in 39 locations across the city centre — but only when it rains. It’s part of a larger campaign to get people walking in all weathers and the fact that these quotes will disappear after being worn by the footfall acts as a tribute to an author whose own life was cut short (she was only 41 years old when she died).


Winchester Cathedral. Credit: Michael Brace

Sitting with Jane

Though born in Steventon, Hampshire, Austen spent the last eight years of her life in Chawton, which is often a magnet for fans. To remedy this, Destination Basingstoke — her local town for half of her life — is overseeing the Sitting With Jane sculpture trail, which includes 24 unique, book-shaped benches in various locations in and around the town. There’s also a dedicated website and app to guide you round.  The trail is on from 17 June-31 August, after which the sculptures will be auctioned.


In the Footsteps of Jane Austen

Austen was also once a resident of Bath (1801-1806), following her father’s death, and Bath Tourism Plus has created a free audio walking tour of the city. It takes in all the main highlights and includes extracts from her novels and letters to help walkers step back in time and experience Bath in all its historic Georgian delight.


Brighton Pavilion. Credit: Juan Diego Godoy Robles

Jane Austen by the Sea

To join in with the celebrations, The Royal Pavilion will highlight Austen’s relationship with Brighton and explore what the city was like in the early 19th century when it was featured in novels such as Pride and Prejudice. The display will include King George IV’s personal bound copy of Emma and rare historic images of Brighton. Jane Austen by the Sea is free with Royal Pavilion admission and runs from 17 June 2017-8 January 2018.


Jane Austen Festival

Austen enthusiasts in Bath will gather to celebrate her life and work in true style at the Jane Austen Festival from 8-18 September. The Grand Regency Costumed Charity Promenade on 9 September is a chance for participants to dress in full 18thcentury regalia and channel Sense and Sensibility’s Marianne Dashwood. In the wake of the elaborate procession, there’s a 10-day programme of over 70 events.


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