The Bennetts

12 Unforgettable Experiences for Jane Austen Fans

Do you love Pride and Prejudice and wish Jane Austen had lived to write even more novels? Or do you long to immerse yourself in her world like the character in Shannon Hale’s Austenland? If so, then here are twelve unforgettable ways to expand your enjoyment of all-things-Austen.

 

1. Attend the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England

 

Image Via Anne Rogers Photography

Image Via Anne Rogers Photography

 

The festival, held every September, draws hundreds of Jane Austen fans to one of the biggest gatherings of Regency reenactors in the world. You too can visit Bath, where Jane Austen lived for five years, and parade through its streets in costume with people from all over the world, or join the hundreds of onlookers along the parade route. The ten day festival also offers theatre performances, walking tours, dances, workshops, readings, and more.

 

2. Attend the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky

 

Louisville

 

Is England too far away? Then make plans to attend the tenth annual Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, Kentucky instead. Held each July, the festival features an Austen author, Regency style show, emporium, afternoon tea, workshops and a Grand Ball.

 

3. Join the Jane Austen Society

 

Image Via Jane Austen Society

Image Via Jane Austen Society

 

Jane Austen societies exist in many countries, for example The Jane Austen Society of North America, and most have local chapters that would warmly welcome you. Monthly meetings offer fabulous speakers and allow you to socialize with people who share your passion for Jane. You can also travel to JASNA’s Annual General Meeting, a three-day literary conference featuring informative talks from Austen scholars, as well as workshops, dancing and more.

 

4. Dress Like Jane Austen

 

Image Via Anne Rogers Photography

Image Via Anne Rogers Photography

 

Experience the realities of life in petticoats, stays, and empire waists by acquiring your own Regency gown or gentleman’s suit. Less expensive versions may be found via Etsy or Ebay, or you can contact an historical seamstress like mattisonline.com to have your dream garments custom made for you.

 

5. Dance like Jane Austen

 

Image Via Jane Austen Society

Image Via Jane Austen Society

Balls play an important role in Jane Austen’s novels, as they were a key element of the social life of the early 19th century, when dancing was one of the few ways young people could spend time together and, gasp, hold hands. Find an English Country Dance class offered near you, or attend a ball through your local Jane Austen society. Historical sites like a North West Company Fur Post also offer dances inspired by a similar time period.

 

6. Host a Tea or Visit a Tearoom

 

Bingley's Tea

 

While daily afternoon teatime was a Victorian invention, tea was very popular (and expensive) during the Regency period. It was served after dinner, at balls, and when guests came to call. In the Austen household, tea was kept under lock and key. Jane was in charge of the key, making the morning tea and toast, and purchasing tea directly from Twinings. Nowadays, tearooms can be found in many towns, or you can host your own with ideas from Teatime magazine. You can even buy Jane Austen inspired teas at bingleysteas.com.

 

7. Tour England’s Must-See Spots for Austenites

 

Image Via Chawton House Library

Image Via Chawton House Library

 

Travel to beautiful England and see places that were important to Jane. Visit Jane Austen’s House Museum, the Chawton House Library, her birthplace of Steventon , the Jane Austen Centre and Assembly Rooms in Bath, and her grave at Winchester Cathedral.

 

8. Read Austen’s Novels, Letters, and Biographies

 

Image Via Penguin UK

Image Via Penguin UK

 

Once you’ve read the six published novels, you can read her other works including the novella, Lady Susan, and her incomplete novels: Sanditon and The Watsons. Also peruse her 150 surviving letters for a unique insight into the novelist’s daily life. Lastly, try one of the excellent biographies available, like: Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin

 

9. Watch All of the Mini-Series and Movies Based on the Novels

 

movies

 

Pick your favorites (or enter a lively debate over the “best” versions with fellow Austen fans). Don’t forget less traditional adaptations like Clueless which is based on Emma, Bollywood’s Bride and Prejudice, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern-day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in the form of YouTube vlogs.

 

10. Read Austen-Inspired Fiction

 

Image Via Author

Image Via Author

 

When you run out of JA books, read some of the fabulous Austen-inspired fiction available from present-day authors like Katherine Reay, Julianne Donaldson, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen, as well as classic authors like Elizabeth Gaskell and the incomparable Georgette Heyer.

 

11. Spend Some Jane Austen

 

Image Via Inspired by Life ... and Fiction

Image Via Inspired by Life … and Fiction

 

Acquire one of the new £10 notes featuring our beloved Jane, or one of the new £2 pound coins from the Royal Mint. For extra credit, donate £10 to Jane’s Fund, a fund set up to help restore and protect Austen’s home. #BringJaneHome

 

12. Write Like Jane Austen

 

Image Via Jane Austen Society

Image Via Jane Austen Society

Learn to write with a quill and ink, or try an easier option: download the Jane Austen font. Who knows, it might inspire you to write the next Pride and Prejudice, or at least a charming Christmas letter. #

 

Featured Image Via intofilm.org