**Update following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March on the latest restrictions**
After much careful consideration and in response to the latest Government advice, we have decided that the House, Collection and the Old Kitchen Tea Room and Gardens will close until further notice. Although we hoped to keep Chawton House Gardens open to visitors and run a takeaway refreshment service from the Scullery of the Old Kitchen Tea Room, the safety of staff and visitors is of paramount importance and we have thus taken the decision to close these fully.
During this period of closure and uncertainty, we have enabled online advanced booking for annual tickets. Please click here to purchase your ticket, once we re-open you will be able to show your booking confirmation in exchange for a date-stamped ticket so that you can gain entry to the House and Gardens for a whole year.
By doing this at this time you are helping to see us through a period of limited income, and help sustain Chawton House for future generations.
There are a number of ways in which Chawton House will continue to play an important role over the coming months, and these are detailed below. Further new initiatives will be announced in the coming days and weeks.
How else can you still be part of Chawton House?
Over the coming few days and weeks, we will introduce new ways of enjoying all that we do at Chawton House from the comfort of your own home. Here are the first two, and after all, Jane Austen did write, “there is nothing like staying home for real comfort.”
The University of Southampton’s free online course, Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity, is now open. It is produced in partnership with Chawton House, using our collection and parts of the MOOC were filmed here. Now is the perfect time to sign up.
And if you had always wanted to find the time to work your way through the Chawton House Novels Online, then why not delve into the transcripts on the Chawton House website
We have decided to cancel all of our events until the 30th April. People who have booked tickets for these events will be contacted in the course of the next week, with details of refunds. We hope to re-arrange as many of these events as possible for later in the year.
This has been a very difficult last few days: saying goodbye to volunteers and staff we will not see for weeks, worrying that everyone will stay safe and well, and making sure that we can come through this period in a strong enough financial position so that we can re-open later in the year and take advantage of all the opportunities we know will come. It is particularly frustrating because we have only just completed a wholesale re-presentation of the House with the creation of new Women Writers Galleries and a changing programme of displays, as well as opening an extraordinary temporary exhibition: visitor feedback has been fabulous and we were enjoying showing off all that Chawton House has to offer. The team – staff and volunteers – have responded with amazing resilience and creativity in a very short amount of time to make sure that this should just be a stumble in the road for Chawton House. We receive no public funding at all to run the House, Library or Gardens and last year we generated 60% of our income through general admission, events, The Old Kitchen Tea Room and private hire. Donations from visitors and supporters make an enormous difference to how we can operate, and we remain enormously grateful for this generosity. You can donate to Chawton House by contacting our general enquiries numbers, or contacting Jane Hammond by post or email at email@example.com
And other places for fresh air and a culture fix…
Our neighbours at Jane Austen’s House have closed at the same time as we do, but do keep an eye on their website and social media feeds for interesting content to keep you entertained. Gilbert White’s House and Gardens in Selborne is another another wonderful place sharing interesting stories and beautiful images online to their supporters.