Must-Dos for Jane Austen Fans
Release your inner Janeite with our top suggestions for your Regency-style stay…
1. Stay in a House Fit for Jane Austen
Whether you check into the luxurious five-star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa to stay behind one of Bath’s most iconic facades, or book into the Francis Hotel Bath to experience Regency-style lodgings similar to those that Jane Austen lived in, Bath has the perfect accommodation for your city break.
2. Find Mr Darcy at the Netherfield Ball
Pop the Jane Austen Festival on your calendar and prepare to celebrate Jane Austen with all manner of events from the spectacular Regency Costumed Promenade to concerts, etiquette workshops, dancing lessons, day trips and more. And if you can’t wait until September, meet your very own Mr Darcy at the annual Regency Costumed Summer Ball.
3. Visit the Jane Austen Centre
For a snapshot of Jane Austen’s life in Regency era Bath visit the Jane Austen Centre. Come face-to-face with Jane Austen as you examine her waxwork, learn more about her life from costumed guides and the exhibition, and go for a twirl in the traditional empire line dress. Upstairs you will find the Regency Tea Rooms, where you can sit down to ‘Tea with Mr Darcy’, served by staff in full Regency regalia.
4. Explore the Assembly Rooms
You can't have a Jane Austen-themed visit to Bath without stepping inside the impressive Assembly Rooms to marvel at the grand interiors. Mentioned in two of Jane Austen’s novels, the Assembly Rooms were a hub for fashionable Georgian society and the backdrop for the many evening balls where young ladies would hope to meet an eligible man.
5. Take the Waters
During the Regency era, visitors, such as Jane’s brother Edward, came to Bath to cure their ailments by ‘taking the waters’. As well as drinking the water in the Pump Room, bathing in the waters was also very popular, just like today. Thermae Bath Spa is the only day spa in the UK where you can bathe in natural thermal waters, with a stunning view of the city from the rooftop pool.
Regency visitors also used to drink up to eight pints a day of the spa water, considered to be beneficial to your health – you can still sample a glass of spa water, which contains 43 minerals, at the Pump Room today.
6. Promenade through Town
Promenading was a very fashionable thing to do during the Regency era as it was a good way to be seen by other members of high society. Promenade through the Georgian streets of Bath to experience this popular Regency activity whilst taking in all the iconic sights.
Begin at Gravel Walk, the Lover's Lane of Jane Austen's day and the setting for a touching love scene in Persuasion. As you stroll along Gravel Walk, look out for the discreet door into the Georgian Garden, which has been sympathetically restored to how it would have appeared in Jane Austen’s time.
Follow the Gravel Walk to the Royal Crescent, where Jane would often walk on Sundays after church. For a behind the scenes glimpse into Georgian life visit No.1 Royal Crescent, a museum which has been decorated and furnished just as it might have been during Jane’s life.
7. Indulge in Afternoon Tea
During the Regency era, tea drinking was very popular and Jane would have taken tea in the Assembly Rooms. Nowadays, afternoon tea is the perfect way to celebrate Jane Austen during your stay. Used as a filming location in the ITV adaptation of Persuasion, the Pump Room is the perfect place to indulge in afternoon tea. Sit back and listen to The Pump Room Trio or pianist play as you tuck into a three-tiered afternoon tea filled with scrumptious delights.
Alternatively, sample a taste of time gone by at Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House, where the top floor is known as the Jane Austen room. A young Austen wrote of enjoying a Bath bun, and nowhere is more known for this than Sally Lunn's!
8. Theatrical Highlights
For a more obscure Jane Austen experience book a tour around the Original Theatre Royal, where Jane Austen would have watched Sarah Siddons, one of the finest actresses of the era, perform. And if you share Jane’s passion for the theatre, be sure to visit the Theatre Royal Bath. Dating from 1805 the Main House offers a year-round programme of top quality drama, including West End productions, opera, comedy, dance and request Sunday concerts.
9. Take the Air
Jane was a keen walker and frequently escaped the city on country walks. Follow in her footsteps on a Walk to the View! Promenade down grand streets, stroll through public gardens and meander along the picturesque canal. As you amble through the meadows of Bathwick Fields, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the city.
10. Explore ‘Meryton’
Explore the picturesque streets and quaint cottages of Lacock, the village which provided the setting for Meryton in the 1995 BBC television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.
Join a Mad Max Tours or Lion Tours for a full or half day trip from Bath taking in Lacock and Stonehenge. Or spend a little more time in this quintessentially English village by visiting Lacock Abbey, a family home with medieval monastic roots.