If you are planning a visit to Bath, this is a great time to choose as the city comes alive with Jane Austen themed events and people promenading in period dress.
Surrounded by the Georgian architecture of Bath, it really can start to feel like you have stepped back in time more than 200 years. All our Bath rental apartments and self-catering holiday cottages are within a 15-minute walk of the historic city centre so you will never be far from the action.
If you want to get involved in the festival, you will find the full programme of events for the Jane Austen Festival 2018 here: http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/festival-programme/
If, however, you simply want to soak up some of the Jane Austen Festival atmosphere while exploring Bath’s Georgian streets don your bonnet and follow our…
Jane Austen Festival inspired tour of Georgian Bath
The Royal Crescent
Arguably Bath’s most iconic Regency building, this sweeping arch of 30 terraced houses was designed by John Wood the Younger and completed in 1774. Built in a grand Palladian style featuring 114 columns along the façade, it is a great place to start any Jane Austen Festival inspired walking tour of the city.
Head along Brock Street to reach The Circus which consists of three curved segments of Grade I listed townhouses forming a circle. It was designed by John Wood the Elder – whose genius was responsible for much of Bath’s Palladian style Georgian expansion – but completed by his son. The stonework on the façade features many different symbols and emblems. Fascinated by the Druids, Wood studied Stonehenge and designed the Circus to be the same diameter.
Take a short diversion from The Circus to admire the Assembly Rooms, which were the epicenter of fashionable society in Bath during the Georgian era. Designed by John Wood the Younger and completed in 1771, the building was designed as a society meeting place for dancing and music and is mentioned by Jane Austen in both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Appropriately, the building now also houses the Bath Fashion Museum on the lower ground floor.
Amble down the hill to another of John Wood the Elder’s Palladian style creations, Queen’s Square, which is also home to the Jane Austen Museum. Viewed from above the Circus and the Square joined by Gay Street form the shape of a key, a masonic symbol. Jane Austen enthusiasts should also note that the author lived at 25 Gay Street for several months in 1805.
Head across to Milsom Street via Trim Street, which was Jane Austen’s home in 1806. One of Bath’s premier shopping locations to this day, Milsom Street was built in 1762 by Thomas Lightholder and has been a busy thoroughfare since Georgian times, featuring in both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.
The Pump Room
Continue straight down Milsom Street, then along Union Street and you will come to the Pump Room. Built between 1789 and 1799 as a place where visitors to the famous spa town could ‘take the waters’ believed to carry healing health boosting properties, the Pump Room soon became a fashionable meeting place for Bath’s high society. It remains a popular meeting place to this day housing an elegant restaurant where visitors can enjoy an afternoon tea and still sip on the natural spring waters with musical accompaniment provided by the Pump Room Trio.
Walk around the Bath Abbey towards the river to get the best view of Pulteney Bridge, one of only four bridges in the world to have shops running its full length on both sides. Designed in 1769 by Robert Adam, who took inspiration from the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the bridge was designed to join Bath with a ‘new town’ on the other side of the river. If you’re in need of a sit down, stop for tea and cake in The Bridge Coffee Shop and look down at the river flowing below you.
Holburne Museum and Sydney Gardens
Cross the bridge and pass through Laura Place then on up Great Pulteney Street, admiring the architectural beauty of Thomas Baldwin’s designs built between 1788 and 1794 to form the new town on the Pulteney Estate. Jane Austen lived in Sydney Place, just off Great Pulteney Street, which was used in the filming of the 1994 movie Persuasion. Standing proud at the end of the street is the Holburne Museum, originally built as the Sydney Hotel also designed by Baldwin. The Holburne Museum’s Georgian grandeur has made it a popular choice for filming and it was used in the 2008 film The Duchess, the 2004 adaptation of Vanity Fair and many more period works. The museum is worth visit with a permanent collection including works by Gainsborough, Zoffany, and Stubbs. Behind the museum, Sydney Gardens is the perfect place to escape the bustle of the city centre. One of Jane Austen’s past-times was to ‘take the air’ in Sydney Gardens after breakfast at the then beautiful Sydney Hotel.
Toll Keeper’s House
This one is a slightly less well-known destination on the Georgian walking tour of Bath, but worth a look all the same. Okay, okay, it is actually one of our beautiful Bath holiday homes and is a genuine Georgian toll keeper’s house, built in 1827 into the side of Cleveland Bridge. If you really want to experience Georgian Bath, book to stay at our Toll Keeper’s House, with its beautiful terraced garden overlooking the river perfect for al fresco drinks or dining to end a long day on the Jane Austen trail.