Jane Austen Regency Picnic at Houghton Lodge Gardens on Sunday 9th July

In honour of Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary 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 called ‘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 and rabbit 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 Ornée – a genre of ‘picturesque’ Gothic architecture that flourished for about 25 years from 1790.

Event Programme:

11.30 am Arrival

11.40am The Chawton Years – A Jane Austen talk with Janet Johnston in The Orangery

12.30pm Hampshire Regency Dancers performance and participation in riverside marquee                  

1.00pm Picnic

2.00pm ‘Lady Betty’s Picnic’ A Performance by Sarah Siddons Fan Club Theatre Company.

2.45pm Hampshire Regency Dancers performance and participation in riverside marquee  

3.00pm  The Chawton Years – A Jane Austen talk with Janet Johnston in The Orangery

4.0pm Hampshire Regency Dancers performance and participation in riverside marquee  

5.00pm Event and gardens close

Tickets to the Houghton Lodge Regency Picnic are £12.00 per adult, £4.00 children (under 16) and family tickets (2 Adults 2 Children) Under 3 Free. 

To purchase tickets click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/houghton-lodge-gardens-regency-picnic-tickets-34539600876

Alternatively contact The Marketing Collective on 023 80001655

Entrance is from 11.30am for the first talk and heritage trail. Regency Dancing in the riverside marquee will begin at 12.30pm.

Pre-order Regency Picnics from Honesty at Houghton Lodge Gardens catering@honestygroup.co.uk  call 01488 668 325

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