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Celebrating Jane Austen in the Heart of Bath

A party and celebrations - held over six days in spring & autumn 2025

“One cannot have too large a party. A large party secures its own amusement.”

The Charge to Join Our 250 Jane Austen Celebrations & Merriment

7th -12th April

5 nights 6 days Monday-Saturday: £2200 per person
Single room supplement £825

You may wish to add additional nights before or after the celebrations:

  • Sunday 6th April: £150pp sharing a room.
  • Sunday 6th April: £270 single occupancy.
  • Saturday 12th April: £195pp sharing a room.
  • Saturday 12th April: £360 single occupancy

13th-18th October

5 nights 6 days Monday-Saturday: £2200 per person
Single room supplement £825

You may wish to add additional nights before the celebrations or at the end:

  • Sunday 12th October: £150pp sharing a room
  • Sunday 12th October: £270 single room occupancy
  • Saturday 18th October: £195pp sharing a room
  • Saturday 18th October: £360 single room occupancy
  • 5x nights B&B at 5* Gainsborough Bath Spa
  • Afternoon Tea at the Gainsborough
  • Celebratory Dinner with 1x glass of fizz and 1x glass of wine or non-alcoholic drink
  • 1x evening buffet
  • 1x evening canapes
  • 5x evening glass of fizz
  • 7x talks with Jane Austen experts
  • Day visit to Jane Austen House Museum, Whitchurch Silk Mill and Chawton House
  • Entry to No.1 Royal Crescent Museum
  • Private coach transfers for excursions to Steventon and Lacock
  • Bath walking tour with Jane Austen expert
  • Countryside walk with Jane Austen expert (weather permitting)
  • Regency dance workshop with caller, piped music and dance helpers
  • Embroidery workshop

It’s such a happiness when good people get together.

The Celebrations Include:

You will spend five-nights at this fabulous boutique hotel.

The award-winning Gainsborough Hotel is the perfect setting for our celebrations. Nestled in the heart of the city, just moments away from some of the most significant sites in Jane Austen’s life and times, it offers luxury accommodation, historical charm and an exceptional on-site thermae spa.

Occupying two 18th century Grade II listed buildings with distinguished Georgian and Victorian façades, The Gainsborough is deeply entwined with Bath’s illustrious past and stands as a tribute to the city’s enduring legacy as a centre of culture, refinement and relaxation.

Retaining significant evidence of Bath’s illustrious history well beyond its façade, The Gainsborough Bath Spa’s name pays homage to the famed portrait and landscape artist, Sir Thomas Gainsborough, who lived in Bath between 1759 and 1774 and was a central figure in Bath society.

  • Should you wish to extend your stay over the weekend, we can arrange accommodation for Saturday night.

  • We can also assist with airport transfers / and public transport guidance.

A relaxed interactive talk on ‘Jane Austen’s Fiction’ with John Mullen, Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London.

A talk on ‘Reintroducing Jane Austen via The Lady’s Magazine’ by academic and author, Professor Jennie Batchelor, Head of Department at York St. John University.

Evening talk with Dr Leigh Wetherall Dickson, Associate Professor at Northumbria University on ‘Gaming, Gambling and the Games Austen’s Characters Play.’

Talk from best selling writer Gill Hornby about her celebrated novel ‘Godmersham Park’.

Talk from Sarah Jane Dowling, author of ‘Fashion in the Time of .Jane Austen’ and ‘Pastimes and Pleasures in the Time of Jane Austen’.

Talk from Architectural Historian, Dr Moira Rudolf.

A talk from author Zoe Wheddon on ‘Jane Austen, Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of The Revd George Austen’

Private visit to No1 Royal Crescent Museum

A guided walk of Bath with a Jane Austen expert

A day visit with an expert guide to the Jane Austen House Museum, Whitchurch Silk Mill and Chawton House

A visit to the charming village of Lacock with an expert guide

A Regency dance workshop with a caller, piped music and helpers

An embroidery workshop with expert needlewoman and historian Alison Larkin. (All materials will be provided.)

A walk in the countryside outside Bath just as Jane herself enjoyed

A celebratory Jane Austen dinner on the final day

A welcome reception on Day One and a sumptuous Afternoon High Tea Day Four.

You may wish to pay homage to the refined customs of the times and immerse yourself even further into Jane Austen’s world by taking part in these experiences dressed in period costume.

You may bring your own costume/s, or we can help with hire and arrange for a costume (or several different costumes) to be delivered to the hotel in time for your arrival. (Please note, there is an additional fee for this service. Please email to enquire.)

John Mullan is Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London. He has published widely on eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature and, in 2009, was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize.
In his work, John has been a longtime champion of the achievements of Jane Austen and the impact of her writing. He is probably best known to Austen fans as the author of ‘What Matters in Jane Austen?’ (Bloomsbury, 2012). This provocative title has led to many speaking engagements at the Jane Austen Festival, the Hampshire Regency Festival and other events worldwide.
He has also contributed many articles to the Guardian that commemorate milestones in nineteenth-century fiction and his assessment of ‘Emma is a particular eye-opener. He offered a fresh reading of the novel to celebrate the 200th anniversary of publication in 2015. He also published new editions of  ‘Sense and Sensibility’ in 2017 and ‘Emma’ in 2022, both for Oxford World’s Classics.
John’s other books include ‘Anonymity: A Secret History of English Literature’ (Faber and Faber, 2007) and, most recently, ‘The Artful Dickens (Bloomsbury, 2020). He is also a broadcaster and journalist, writing on contemporary fiction for the Guardian and is the author of ‘How Novels Work (OUP, 2006).
In April 2025, as part of our programme celebrating Jane Austen’s 250th anniversary, John will be revealing challenging and entertaining analyses of Austen’s work and influence. He is also open to all questions about her life and writing.
Professor Jennie Batchelor, Head of Department and Professor of Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Studies at York St. John University, is an academic, author and speaker who has written and edited several books on women’s writing, eighteenth-century dress and early women’s magazines. She also gives public lectures, writes articles and guest blogs on these subjects and can regularly be heard on podcasts, the radio and  – occasionally – on TV. Her most recent books include ‘The Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832) and the Making of Literary History’ (2022) and ‘Jane Austen Embroidery’ (2020, written with Alison Larkin). She is Patron of the Jane Austen Society Kent Branch and previously worked at Chawton House.
Jennie’s journey to Austen shares characteristics with many fans and readers. She first fell in love with Austen when she was nine years old, having seen the 1940 version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ on film starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. Then, for her 10th birthday, she received an illustrated edition of the complete novels.
In 2002, Jennie had the chance to work on her post-doctoral fellowship at the Chawton House Library in Hampshire. This pivotal centre of research and scholarship helped to shape Jennie’s approach to writing about Austen and her contemporary culture and society. She is now widely published on Austen’s life and her pursuits of domestic arts – especially needlework.
Jennie will be revealing the remarkable influence the Lady’s Magazine had on Jane Austen.
Gill Hornby, a talented writer and sister to renowned author Nick Hornby, has carved her own niche in the literary world with her captivating storytelling and keen insight into human nature. Born and raised in England, Gill developed a love for literature from an early age, inspired by the works of classic authors such as Jane Austen.
Drawing upon her deep appreciation for Austen’s novels, Gill embarked on her writing journey, infusing her own stories with the wit, charm, and social commentary reminiscent of Austen’s beloved works. Her novels skillfully weave together intricate plots, vivid characters, and subtle humor, inviting readers into richly imagined worlds filled with warmth and authenticity. In her writing, Gill pays homage to the timeless legacy of Jane Austen while carving out her own unique voice and perspective.
Gill’s debut novel, ‘The Hive’, garnered widespread acclaim for its insightful exploration of friendship, community, and the complexities of modern life. Set in a small English village, the novel follows the lives of a diverse group of women who are brought together by their children’s school activities, revealing the intricacies of their relationships and the power of female solidarity.
In her subsequent works, including ‘All Together Now’ and ‘Miss Austen’, Gill continued to demonstrate her talent for crafting compelling narratives that resonate with readers on a deeply emotional level. ‘All Together Now’ delves into the world of choral singing, exploring themes of harmony, passion, and the transformative power of music, while ‘Miss Austen’ offers a fictionalised account of the relationship between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra, shedding new light on the life of the beloved author.
Gill’s writing is characterised by its depth of emotion, keen observations of human behavior, and evocative prose, earning her a dedicated following of readers who are drawn to her insightful storytelling and richly drawn characters. With each new novel, Gill reaffirms her status as a literary talent to be reckoned with, earning critical acclaim and solidifying her place in the pantheon of contemporary authors.
Beyond her work as a novelist, Gill is also a respected journalist and commentator, contributing articles to publications such as The Times and The Telegraph.
Dr Leigh Wetherall Dickson is an Associate Professor at Northumbria University. In December 2006, she joined Northumbria as the Leverhulme Research Associate for the three-year project ‘Before Depression: Representation and Culture of the English Malady, 1660-1800’, and since then has become a full-time lecturer in eighteenth and nineteenth-century English Literature. In 2015, she enjoyed a Chawton House Fellowship, living alongside the Austen-Knight homes and working in the library at the great house. Her publications include an edited collection of the ‘Works of Lady Caroline Lamb (2009) and the provocatively titled ‘Disease and Death in the Eighteenth Century’ (2016).
As a child, Leigh was a precocious reader who loved Austen. However, she did not fully engage with the study of her novels until years later when she discovered the works of Lady Caroline Lamb. These seemingly dissimilar women, one the daughter of a clergyman and the other the aristocratic mistress of a famous poet, helped to shine a light on the variety and excitement of the Regency period.
Leigh was astounded to find that Austen and Lamb both engaged with the Regency “as an extraordinarily self-conscious moment of change and speculative uncertainty,” that “is made fascinatingly distinct by a restless energy all of its own.” She was particularly interested in the relationships between fashion, gambling, and sociability.
Leigh will be giving a fascinating interrogation of the Regency through the prism of Austen’s characters and the games they liked to play.
A native of Jane Austen’s Hampshire, Zoe Wheddon brings sympathy and insight to her biographies dealing with real-life characters that moved in Austen’s orbit. Her passion for research into the novelist’s life and times allows her to shine a light on Austen’s background and her many influences.
Zoe’s first Austen-related biography, ‘Jane Austen’s Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd’ draws attention to Martha, an often-overlooked figure, and highlights the life-changing importance that this friendship held for Austen. Published in 2021, it was described by historian Lucy Worsley as a “glorious celebration of the author and her friendship” with companion and housekeeper Martha.
The relationships in Austen’s inner circle deserve some scrutiny and greater understanding because of the role they play in her fiction. Zoe’s mission as a writer is to look beneath the surface and interpret the evidence on record to draw an intimate portrait of the novelist’s world.
Zoe’s second work, ‘Jane Austen Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of the Revd. George Austen’ was published in 2024. This book weaves together a father-daughter biography with, according to writer Natalie Jenner, “palpable affection’ and ‘illuminating detail.”  Austen expert, Professor Devoney Looser, reflects on how George Austen’s influence is “often understated”. “That’s why,” she adds, “‘Jane Austen Daddy’s Girl’ is such a brilliant book, weaving archival evidence into an illuminating, enjoyable read.”
Fans and readers feel that they know Austen so well thanks to her tone and narrative style. She draws us in, and we believe we can identify the real person, the friend, the daughter through her fiction. Zoe sifts the information and shows us why we encounter the author the way we do. As Devoney Looser remarks, “Zoe Wheddon’s father-daughter biography is a welcome wonder of both research and storytelling.”
Dr. Moira Rudolf is an expert Walking Tour Guide in Bath. She originally qualified as an Art Historian with a degree from the University of Manchester before going on to study Architectural History at the Courtauld Institute. She gained her PhD on the Work of Thomas Harrison of Chester [Architect] 1744-1829; the man who introduced the Greek revival to the Northwest of England.
Moira’s particular passion is for the eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture of Bath, and her expertise is second to none. She made the city her home in 1999 and has led tours ever since, appearing regularly at the Jane Austen Festival. On a visit as a five-year-old child, the surroundings of the city drew her in and the works and wit of Austen have only added to her fascination and desire to share her interests with audiences.
Moira, who likes to meet her groups dressed in period Regency costume, bases her walking tours on various themes. In the ‘Jane Austen’s Footsteps’ guided walks, for example, she contrasts Austen’s two ‘Bath’ novels ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’ and brings the author’s view of the city to life, while in ‘Jane Austen and the Pleasure Garden,’ she explores the social scene. Using her collection of historical illustrations and prints, she takes visitors back in time to the site of firework displays, concerts, and The Sydney Tap public house using her research to reveal the hidden histories of the city.
Sarah Jane Downing is a historian and writer who has looked in depth at women’s dress and fashion from the Tudor period through to the Regency. Recently she co-founded the Historical Cosmetics Society to study and share information on how people have enhanced their looks over the centuries. Her current research takes her into every corner of the textile and cosmetic world, and she writes about these topics for Selvedge magazine. Her books include ‘The English Pleasure Garden 1660-1860’, ‘Fashion in the Time of Jane Austen‘, ‘Beauty and Cosmetics 1550-1950′, and ‘Fashion in the Time of William Shakespeare’.
As a teenager, Sarah Jane spent “every moment out of school – and sometimes in – in a whorl of romantic and historical novels.” She soon discovered Jane Austen and, while her friends mooned over the fictional heroes, Sarah Jane was more interested in getting to know the heroines, imagining what it would be like to – literally – walk in their shoes. What were their fashions and footwear like – how high, how beautiful? What else would they wear?
Screen adaptations were also key influences, particularly the 1995 BBC adaption of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and the 1996 film of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ with its portrayal of the Dashwood sisters.
A retired teacher, Alison Larkin lectures and conducts workshops on historic embroidery. She is particularly interested in work on domestic articles, dress, and costume from the Georgian period. She is also co-author of ‘Jane Austen Embroidery’ (2020) with Professor Jennie Batchelor. She is a devoted fan of Jane Austen, especially ‘Mansfield Park’ and ‘Persuasion’, and loves the adaptations for the costumes.
Alison Larkin’s life is steeped in her experience with embroidery. She learned from an early age and returned to the craft to de-stress when she was a college tutor.
When she took redundancy from full-time teaching, she started to work on embroidery full-time, beginning with a huge challenge – a project to recreate a waistcoat which had originally been stitched for Captain Cook by his wife Elizabeth. The original was never completed as Cook was killed in Hawaii, and the project was to make a replica, and complete it, for exhibition in the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby. This took Alison into Georgian embroidery and she soon realised that there were few people researching this aspect of the history of embroidery or textiles. Believing that we will lose the skills if we are not careful, Alison now adapts  Georgian techniques and materials and finds corresponding twenty-first century equivalents.
Alison will be leading needlecraft workshops, teaching participants to decorate items with authentic designs beloved by Austen and her family.

Come Join the Celebrations!  Confirm your Booking:

The programmes for our 2025 Jane Austen Spring and Autumn Celebrations

Monday 7th April
Arrive and welcome with tea/coffee
Please aim to arrive by 2pm. Check in time is usually 3pm. You can store luggage securely at the hotel until this time. 
4pm –  ‘Jane Austen’s Fiction’, a relaxed, interactive talk with Professor John Mullen. Tea /coffee will be served.
Books available to buy from Mr B’s Emporium, an award-winning independent book shop close to the Gainsborough Hotel.
6pm – a glass of fizz followed by a relaxed buffet supper during which you will have the chance to chat with local Jane Austen expert(s).
Tuesday 8th April
Morning – a Strictly Jane Austen walking tour of Bath, followed by a visit to No1 Royal Crescent Museum
Free time for lunch. (Please note, lunch is not included in the programme price.)
2pm – ‘Reintroducing Jane Austen via The Lady’s Magazine’, a talk with Professor Jennie Batchelor
3-6pm – an historic embroidery workshop, ‘Stitching a Sprig’, with expert needlewoman, Alison Larkin. You will learn the basics of Georgian embroidery styles, using stitches and techniques common during the early 19th century. (All materials will be provided.)
Early evening glass of fizz and relaxed chat with local Jane Austen expert(s), followed by free time.
Wednesday 9th April
10am-5pm – A full day visit by private coach to the Jane Austen House Museum, Whitchurch Silk Mill and Chawton House accompanied by an expert guide. (Please note, lunch is not included in the programme price.)
7pm – ‘Gaming, Gambling and the Games Austen’s Characters Play’, a talk with Leigh Wetherall Dickson.  A glass of fizz and canapes will be served.
Thursday 10th April
10am-2pm – visit to the village of Lacock by private coach with an expert guide. (Please note, lunch is not included in the programme price.)
3-4:30pm – join in a Regency Dance Workshop with a caller, piped music and dance helpers.
4.30pm – afternoon tea in the hotel restaurant
6:30pm – a talk with author Gill Hornby. A glass of fizz will be served.
Friday 11th April
10-11am – ‘Beauty and Cosmetics in the Time of Jane Austen,’ a talk with Sarah Jane Downing
11.30am – join Dr Moira Rudolf for a talk and – weather permitting – a guided countryside walk of the sort Jane Austen enjoyed. If it is fine, Moira will talk for approx. 30 mins and then accompany you on a two-hour walk. If wet, she will give a longer talk lasting about 1hr.
Evening – a relaxed glass of fizz with a local Jane Austen expert, followed by a celebratory Jane Austen dinner and glass of wine in the company of local Jane Austen experts.
Saturday 12th April
10am  –  ‘Jane Austen, Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of The Revd George Austen’, a talk with Zoe Wheddon. Coffee/tea will be served.
11am – check out of the hotel
If you wish to spend some time in Bath, luggage can be safely stored at the hotel.
Monday 13th October
Arrive and welcome with tea/coffee
Please aim to arrive by 2pm. Check in time is usually 3pm. You can store luggage securely at the hotel until this time. 
4pm –  ‘Jane Austen’s Fiction’, a relaxed, interactive talk with Professor John Mullen. Tea /coffee will be served.
Books available to buy from Mr B’s Emporium, an award-winning independent book shop close to the Gainsborough Hotel.
6pm – a glass of fizz followed by a relaxed buffet supper during which you will have the chance to chat with local Jane Austen expert(s).
Tuesday 14th October
Morning – a Strictly Jane Austen walking tour of Bath, followed by a visit to No1 Royal Crescent Museum
Free time for lunch. (Please note, lunch is not included in the programme price.)
2pm – ‘Reintroducing Jane Austen via The Lady’s Magazine’, a talk with Professor Jennie Batchelor
3-6pm – an historic embroidery workshop, ‘Stitching a Sprig’ with expert needlewoman, Alison Larkin. You will learn the basics of Georgian embroidery styles, using stitches and techniques common during the early 19th century. (All materials will be provided.)
Early evening glass of fizz and relaxed chat with local Jane Austen expert(s), followed by free time.
Wednesday 15th October
10am-5pm – A full day visit by private coach to the Jane Austen House Museum, Whitchurch Silk Mill and Chawton House accompanied by an expert guide. (Please note, lunch is not included in the programme price.)
7pm – ‘Gaming, Gambling and the Games Austen’s Characters Play’, a talk with Leigh Wetherall Dickson.  A glass of fizz and canapes will be served.
Thursday 16th October
10am-2pm – visit to the village of Lacock by private coach with an expert guide. (Please note, lunch is not included in the programme price.)
3-4:30pm – join in a Regency Dance Workshop with a caller, piped music and dance helpers.
4.30pm – afternoon tea in the hotel restaurant
6:30pm – a talk with author Gill Hornby. A glass of fizz will be served.
Friday 17th October
10am – ‘Past times and Pleasures’ pleasure gardens fashions and culture’, a talk with Sarah Jane Downing
11.30am – join Dr Moira Rudolf for a talk and – weather permitting – a guided countryside walk of the sort Jane Austen enjoyed. If it is fine, Moira will talk for approx. 30 mins and then accompany you on a two-hour walk. If wet, she will give a longer talk lasting about 1hr.
Evening – a relaxed glass of fizz with a local Jane Austen expert, followed by a celebratory Jane Austen dinner and glass of wine in the company of local Jane Austen experts.
Saturday 18th October
10am  –  ‘Jane Austen, Daddy’s Girl: The Life and Influence of The Revd George Austen’, a talk with Zoe Wheddon. Coffee/tea will be served.
11am – check out of the hotel
If you wish to spend some time in Bath, luggage can be safely stored at the hotel.

Dr. Gabrielle Malcolm, Creative Director for the Events

Dr Gabrielle Malcolm is a writer, artist, film maker, script writer and academic. A leading authority on the Victorian author, Mary Braddon, she was appointed Visiting Research Fellow in English in 2012 at the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University, where she has been instrumental in developing the Mary Braddon Archive. In addition, she lectures in Literature & Creative Writing at City of Bath College. Gabrielle also researches and writes about Jane Austen in popular culture and global fan phenomena, and is the author/editor of ‘Fan Phenomena: Jane Austen’ (Intellect Books, April 2015). She has also created a Jane Austen Film Location Tour for Brit Movie Tours. There is not much she doesn’t know about that Colin Firth wet shirt scene! She is a regular speaker at the annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath and the Regency Week in Hampshire celebrating Austen’s life and work.

Did someone say Party!?

Join us in 2025 to celebrate Jane's Big Two-Five-Oh

Dates of Celebration: 7- 12   April  &  13 – 18 October

5 nights 6 days Monday-Saturday.