10 locations every Jane Austen fan should visit in Bath
PUBLISHED: 10:52 26 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:52 26 September 2017
During the bicentenary year of Jane Austen’s death learn more about the novelist and her books by retracing her steps and discovering her favourite Bath haunts
Jane Austen’s first real experience of Bath was when she went to stay at No. 1, The Paragon in her aunt’s home, the first time for a visit and the second for the purpose of house-hunting in Bath.
You can stay at The Paragon Georgian Townhouse, which is the building right next door to where Jane Austen resided in 1797 and 1801.
This luxury self-catering accommodation allows you to have complete use of your very own Georgian townhouse. Sit back and relax and take in views of Bathwick Hill and Sham Castle from the huge Georgian bay windows.
Jane Austen’s Home
Jane Austen stayed in five different properties during her time in Bath. If you are looking for the commemorative plaque head to 4, Sydney Place, Jane Austen’s family residence from 1801 to 1804.
The property is also where Jane reputedly wrote Northanger Abbey whilst gazing out of her bedroom window at Sydney Gardens, the place for the fashionable people of Bath to meet and be seen, an outdoor space notorious for its balls, supper parties, concerts and musical breakfasts.
Sydney Gardens, formerly ‘The Pleasure Gardens’, were laid out with the purpose of being a commercial pleasure garden, built behind the Sydney Hotel (now The Holburne Museum), which was intrinsic to Bath’s social scene. Jane Austen was an avid walker and enjoyed walking these gardens throughout her time living in Bath.
The gardens are still open to the public and feature tennis courts, flowerbeds and a replica of the Temple of Minerva, making it the ideal spot for a stroll or a picnic. There is also a path that leads down to the Kennet and Avon Canal.
The Pump Room
The Pump Room was where high society used to go for afternoon tea and to be seen about town. A favourite haunt of Jane herself, it also features in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
The Pump Room Restaurant today is still a hugely popular place for afternoon tea or lunch. You can also have a glass of Bath’s very own thermal waters straight from the fountain, for which many visitors travel from afar to benefit from its many healing properties.
The Assembly Rooms were used for public concerts, assemblies and public balls. Many eligible men and women would gather and dance the night away providing them with an ideal stylish backdrop to court. Jane Austen featured the Assembly Rooms in Persuasion and attended some of the balls herself, drawing upon her own experiences for her writing.
Today the rooms are used for various events from catwalks to weddings. The Fashion Museum is also located there, where visitors can look at exquisite Georgian dress and try on a corset and bonnet.
Learn about Jane Austen’s life and the time she spent in Bath at the Jane Austen Centre. Let the costumed guide talk you through her history and works before exploring the exhibition, trying on regency costumes and writing your own Austen inspired letter with a quill.
Before you leave take a seat in the Regency Tea Room and tuck into a restorative afternoon tea.
Fresh from six sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, a monthly residency in London’s Leicester Square and a BBC Radio 4 special, Austentatious is bringing their improvised comedy play to Bath (Sunday November 5).
Marvel as a cast of comic performers conjure up a brand new ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on a title suggested by the audience. Performed in period costume with live musical accompaniment, this Regency treat is guaranteed to delight Austen novices and Janeites alike. Tickets from £14.
Join Simon Mark on a Jane Austen tour for the opportunity to photograph the author’s various lodgings, the places mentioned in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion and beautiful film locations. And what’s more, you don’t need an expensive camera to produce astonishing photos – so bring out the smartphone.
Bath’s Golden Girl
A gold-plated statue of Jane Austen, made by local artists Timothy Richards and Robert Grace, has gone on tour in Bath. See her first at Combe Grove Hotel where she will be delighting visitors in the Drawing Room.
Flowerbed in Parade Garden
Jane Austen novels still make a blooming good read 200 years after her death. To celebrate this, Parade Gardens have constructed a commemorative flowerbed, designed to look like an open book and quill.
Enjoy the flowerbed from the Grand Parade or enter the gardens and relax in a deckchair with an ice cream. £1.50 or free to Discovery Card holders.
In The Footsteps of Jane Austen
Download the free audio guide from visitbath.co.uk to join Jane Austen in a journey through the city of Bath. With highlights of the city and extracts from Jane Austen’s novels and letters, the guide brilliantly describes Bath as it would have been in its Georgian heyday.
Wait! There’s plenty more to do, see (and eat) in Bath...