A nine day Festival of events celebrating Jane Austen and the Regency period gets underway today.

Running until June 24 in and around the Hampshire market town Alton and nearby village of Chawton, it marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of two of Jane’s famous novels – Northanger Abbey and Emma.

The Festival boasts a fantastic line-up of activities and events, including Regency period dancing, music, dining, theatre, exhibitions, talks and discussions, curatorial and garden tours, guided themed walks, a vintage fair and even Victorian cricket!

Chawton is home to the Jane Austen’s House Museum and her brother’s former home, Chawton House, also open to the public. Jane spent the last eight years of her life here and produced six novels. Alton is the place where she shopped, banked, collected and delivered post, visited her friends and caught the stagecoach to London.

The festival begins with today's Regency Day in Alton – packed full of historical delights such as carriage rides, Regency costumes, market stalls, music and dancing, soldier re-enactments and other entertainments. The celebrations continue with a Regency dancing workshop with instruction from Hampshire Regency Dancers.

Throughout the day on Sunday Chawton will be staging a Vintage, Antique, Collectors and Craft Fair, offering a plethora of interesting and unusual items to browse and buy. There is a morning guided walk around Chawton village with local historian Jane Hurst, followed by an opportunity to learn more about the restored English Landscape-style gardens of Chawton House with a guided garden tour by Garden Manager Andrew Bentley. Afterwards enjoy afternoon tea in the historic tearoom. There will also be a talk by the last Austen descendent to grow up at Chawton House, Caroline Knight (also Jane’s 5th great niece) – a witty and engaging presentation exploring her childhood surrounded by four centuries of family history.

In the evening a Regency Choral Evensong will take place at St Lawrence’s Church, Alton, where Jane’s brother and other family members preached and several nieces and nephews were christened.

There are so many more events. More information available at http://www.janeaustenregencyweek.co.uk.