Jane Austen Regency Picnic at Houghton Lodge Gardens on Sunday 9th July
To mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death this year, Houghton Lodge Gardens will celebrate with a Regency-inspired picnic. The day will explore Regency culture and elegance with a wonderfully immersive menu of events.
The atmospheric day will be packed full of historical themes and delights in Houghton Lodge Gardens' magically beautiful setting. A riverside marquee will host Hampshire Regency Dancers, who are celebrating their 15th anniversary. They will perform dances such as The Waterloo Waltz Cotillion and The Lord Wellington named after England’s famous battles, and the aptly-named summer dance, Strawberries and Cream. Visitors are encouraged to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps and join in the fun!
Janet Johnstone from Jane Austen’s House Museum will give fascinating talks about The Chawton Years, and cover the last eight years of Jane’s life, describing how the ladies lived at Chawton Cottage and the gardens she enjoyed spending time in. The Sarah Siddons Fan Club Theatre Company will perform Lady Betty’s Picnic, in which Mr Plaw, (who is originally thought to have designed Houghton Lodge in 1793) has persuaded Lady Betty, the Marquis of Lansdowne and servants to visit Houghton Lodge, in the hope that he can persuade them to invest in a Cottage Orné themselves. Lady Betty is accompanied by an aspiring writer she has taken under her wing called Jane Austen.
Though not compulsory, visitors on the day are invited to truly immerse themselves in the fun and novelty of dressing in the beautiful outfits of the Regency period, that Jane, her friends and family may have worn. Bring your own delicious picnic to eat by the banks of the River Test, hailed ‘the most romantic river in England’. Or indulge in a pre-ordered Regency Picnic Hamper from the gardens' tearoom, Honesty at Houghton Lodge Gardens. The hampers, each serving two, are priced at £30 and feature delightful delicacies such as pickled cucumber sandwiches, pigeon, rabbit and quail egg gala pie, coronation chicken sandwiches and cream tea.
Throughout the day there will also be Regency games such as Battledoor and Shuttlecock as well as a children’s heritage trail.
Houghton Lodge Gardens will be in full bloom and bursting with colour in July. During your visit explore the flower borders, orchard, woodland walk and grotto, kitchen gardens, orchid house and topiary garden - not forgetting the gorgeously romantic water meadows and resident alpacas Tom, Dick, Harry and Herbert. The architecturally stunning Houghton Lodge is one of the finest and earliest surviving examples of a Cottage Orné – a genre of picturesque Gothic architecture that flourished for about 25 years from 1790. Today, the house is Grade II* listed and arguably one of the most beautiful privately owned historic houses and gardens in Hampshire.
Entrance is from 11.30am for the first talk and heritage trail. Regency Dancing in the riverside marquee will begin at 12.30pm.
Visit www.houghtonlodge.co.uk/regency-picnic for more information and tickets.
Pre-order Regency Picnics from Honesty at Houghton Lodge Gardens firstname.lastname@example.org call 01488 668 325