Jane Austen’s secret Winchester unveiled for English Tourism Week

Press Release: 11/03/2013


To mark English Tourism Week Winchester City Council’s tourism service is offering two free tours that uncover some of the city’s lesser-known links to Jane Austen. The tours, guided by Winchester’s Official Tourist Guides, have been developed to tie in with the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice in 2013. Winchester Cathedral is also hosting a ‘Tea with Miss Austen’ event on the same day.

The tours, which leave Winchester Tourist Information Centre on Saturday 16 March at 1.30pm and 2.30pm, can be booked in advance by calling 01962 840 500 or emailing tourism@winchester.gov.uk . They focus on re-imagining Winchester as it was during Austen’s lifetime and uncovering several places with ‘secret’ links to her life. The route includes the site of a Georgian hospital in Parchment Street; St Lawrence’s Church, where her physician was buried; insights into a Christmas that the author spent in The Close; and a visit to the Cathedral to learn what it would have looked like in her day.

If you are taking the earlier tour, you may wish to round off the experience at Winchester Cathedral’s ‘Tea with Miss Austen’ event. This consists of afternoon tea at 3pm with a spoken-word performance by Chapter and Verse entitled ‘Jane Austen: a woman of her time and ours?’. Tickets are available separately from the Cathedral Box Office for £14.95 per person.

Winchester Cathedral, Jane Austen’s House Museum and Chawton House Library, are all reporting a renewal of interest in the author’s life due to 2013 being the 200th anniversary of the publication of her much-loved novel, Pride and Prejudice.

Ellen Simpson, from Winchester City Council’s ‘Visit Winchester and the Heart of Hampshire’ Destination Management Partnership, said:

Since launching our campaign to celebrate the anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice we have received an unprecedented number of media enquiries. As well as maintaining a steady presence in the national media we have been working with journalists from Japan, China, the USA and Eastern Europe. We’re expecting this interest to grow leading up to the anniversary of her death in 2017.

Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Winchester City Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning, Economic Development and Tourism, said:

English Tourism week is a great opportunity for destinations to showcase their must-see attractions. This special, one-off event underlines the fact that Winchester is the ideal base for any Austen themed- break. A fascinating itinerary reminds us why Winchester is a key destination for true fans of her work who would like to gain a deeper insight into the author’s life and times.

Places are limited. To avoid disappointment reserve a place on the tour by calling Winchester Tourist Information Centre on 01962 840 500 stating whether you would like to join the 1.30pm or 2.30pm tour. For more information about ‘Tea with Miss Austen’ see http://winchester-cathedral.org.uk/event/?id=278 or call Winchester Cathedral Box Office on 01962 857 275.