Spring at Chawton House

All through the Wilderness, the snowdrops are out in force and the daffodils are on their way as the Garden comes alive in colour. We have a jam-packed spring here for you all to enjoy; from flower- themed talks on the collection, to Gardens guided tours, from kids trails and half-term activities to a Spring menu in the Old Kitchen Tearoom – there is something for everyone at Chawton House. We have welcomed around 600 visitors over the last two Snowdrop Sundays, with our final one coming up on Sunday 18th February. In the House, visitors will see a special Library display of snowdrops in our botanical works by women, whilst our gardening team will lead a guided snowdrop walk at midday, and kids can enjoy a new Spring Flowers garden trail, seed planting and arts and craft activities.

March will see a focus on our beautiful Daffodils, and Chief Executive Katie Childs and Head Gardener Julia Weaver will lead Sunday “talk and walk” events sharing the best daffodils in the collection and gardens. You can also book forward to Blossom and Bluebells in April, leading into the Summer Roses.


Chief Executive Katie Childs says:

“We cannot wait to welcome visitors to the Gardens to see our spectacular swathes of snowdrops throughout the gardens. After a long January, there is such joy in walking through drifts of these beautiful flowers on a crisp winter day, and then warming up with coffee and cake in the Old Kitchen Tea Room. Whilst our Snowdrop Season is into its third year and the display more spectacular than ever, we are really excited that in 2024 we will also welcome visitors for Daffodils Season in March, and then Blossom and Bluebells from April leading on to the fabulous roses that we enjoy throughout the Summer. Since 2020, the Garden team and our volunteers, with help from Chawton Primary School and the Wednesday Volunteers Group, have done incrediblework to restore our Shrubbery, Wilderness and borders, as well as plant 16,000 spring bulbs. At Chawton House, there is no bleak midwinter – from February the gardens are a joyous riot of blooms. We can’t wait to share it with our visitors.”

Our current exhibition is Treasures of Chawton House, which will remain open until 6 May 2024, featuring some of the most precious treasures in the collection. In it, we tell stories from both Knight and Austen family history and explore some of our most exciting examples of early women’s writing with never-before-displayed objects, new acquisitions, old favourites, and items unique to Chawton House. The exhibition that follows on from Treasures builds on the popularity of previous craft-focused exhibitions at Chawton House (Stitch Off, 2016; Made in Lockdown, 2021). Chawton in Stitches will showcase the work of award-winning graduate of the Royal School of Needlework Emily Barnett, whose project takes inspiration from the gardens and collection at Chawton House. Her unique pieces are displayed alongside historic decorative arts pieces from the collection, printed advice on ‘feminine accomplishments’, and manuscript and scrap books compiled by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women. Together, this exhibition paints a picture of the ways in which artistic endeavour, from needlework and knitting to watercolour, has provided occupation, solace, community and skill for women from the eighteenth century to today.

We have now moved to Spring opening hours:
Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-3.30pm
These operating hours will continue until 27 March Easter opening.

Coming up at Chawton House

Online Talk: On Declaring Love, a Conversation with Fred Parker

14 – 28 February 2024 (Online)

In this pre-recorded online talk for Valentine’s Day, Deputy Director Kim Simpson talks to Professor Fred Parker about the perils of declaring love in the long eighteenth century.

Tickets: £4, available to purchase from our online shop.

February Half Term Fun

14-18 February 10:30am – 3:30pm

Bring the entire family together this February half term, with kids trails on offer Wednesday to Sunday, and Billiards Room activities on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. During half term, Chawton House is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-3:30pm, with last admission at 3pm.

The Old Kitchen Tearoom will also be open Wednesday to Sunday, serving delicious lunches and homemade cake. All trails and activities are included in the admission ticket to Chawton House.

Snowdrop Spectacular at Chawton House

18 February, 10:00 – 15:30

Discover Chawton House’s stunning Gardens during our Snowdrop Sundays in February as the grounds are carpeted with snowdrops! Throughout the day we will be running events for all the family, included in the price of admission.

Tickets: House & Gardens Day Ticket: £12.50, Gardens Day Ticket: £8.00, Annual Ticket: £25

(Adult Standard prices, visit website for more options)

Historic Garden Tours with Chawton House’s Head Gardener

15 & 22 February, 10:30 – 11:30 (approx.)

Join Chawton House’s Head Gardener Julia for a guided tour of the Chawton House Gardens and learn about their fascinating history.

From Elizabeth Knight’s completion of the formal garden in the early 18th century to Edward Austen Knight’s construction of the Walled Garden and Montagu Knight’s addition of the Library Terrace, you will discover how Chawton House’s gardens have been altered over the centuries to reflect the fashions of the time.

Tickets: £12 (Gardens entry) / £16 (House and Gardens entry) | Annual Ticket Holders: £4

House History Tours

21 February & 5 March, 10:30 – 11:45

Join one of our knowledgeable volunteer guides on a guided tour of Chawton House to discover our rich history.

Learn about the evolution of the Estate from Medieval stopping point to Elizabethan Manor. Discover our connection with Jane Austen and find out how we became home to a unique collection of early women’s writing.

Tickets: £12.50, £5 for Midweek Roast ticket holders.

Midweek Roasts

21 February & 5 March, 12:00 – 13:15 & 13:30 – 14:45

Escape into the warmth of the Old Kitchen and choose from two different roasts and a traditional English pudding, with a vegetarian option available. This is the perfect time to catch up with your loved ones over a tasty two-course lunch.

Tickets: £25pp, drinks available to be purchased separately.

International Women’s Day: Female Friendships (online event)

7 March, 20:00 – 21:30 GMT

In this exciting online collaboration with Jane Austen’s House, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Brontë Parsonage, join our four literary houses in an evening to celebrate female friendships. We’ll be looking at the influence these relationships had on the works and in the lives of some of Britain’s most loved writers.

Tickets: £6

Mother’s Day Lunch in the Great Hall

Sunday 10 March, 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Indulge in heartfelt celebration this Mother’s Day by treating the remarkable woman in your life to a delicious two-course lunch in the ambiance of our historic Great Hall. With a special menu created just for Mother’s Day, this is the perfect opportunity to bring the family together and celebrate that special someone.Tickets: Adults, £30pp. Children: £15pp.

Keep an eye on our What’s On pages for details of the forthcoming programme in March and April.