Hampshire will celebrate the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” in special style this year, when it marks the bicentenary of Keats’ Ode To Autumn – said to have been inspired by the scenery the poet saw on a daily basis during a stay in Winchester, in 1819.

Winchester still offers its visitors an ideal base for autumnal walks directly from the city centre into the South Downs National Park. Visitors can also follow in the footsteps of John Keats, by following a walk in his honour outlined on the VisitHampshire website.

The 200th anniversary of Keats’ Ode is the perfect time for visitors to experience for themselves the same landscape and autumn colours he saw – and to take full advantage of some of the anniversary events and activities that have been planned. These include poetry trails, exhibitions, workshops and competitions for all aspiring and professional poets.


For more ideas on what to do in the county, read: Hampshire: Cricket, Dockyards and the D-Day Story.


In 2016, Winchester Poetry Festival commemorated the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare with an all-day reading of his sonnets. Now, in 2019, the 200th anniversary of Keats’ Ode, the annual Festival will stage a two-hour reading of a selection of his poems and letters as part of Heritage Open Days on Saturday, September 14. The event will be held in the café area of the Winchester Discovery Centre and will be free to take part in and to attend.

The Keats celebrations will also help to introduce visitors to Hampshire to its best-known author, Jane Austen whose grave can be found inside Winchester Cathedral – one of the many venues in Hampshire which marked the 200th anniversary of her death in 2017.

From Winchester, it’s a short drive to Chawton, and a chance to see Jane Austen’s House Museum and Chawton House.

Autumn is also the time when Hampshire celebrates its local food and drink at events such as Winchester Harvest Weekend on 5 and 6 October 5. Wine Festival Winchester, meanwhile, takes place on 29 to 30 November this year.


For more information on what to do and where to stay in Hampshire, click here.

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