Strictly Jane Austen

Discover Jane Austen's Bath

‘Jane Austen was a happy visitor to the city where marriages were made and fortunes lost and where le beau monde was an inspiration for the novels time has made famous’, writes Diana White, historian, author and guide on our Two Day Festive Jaunt to Jane Austen’s Bath. We asked her to tell us more. 

Bath skylineBath skyline, image courtesy Visit Bath

1799 and Jane Austen is staying at 13 Queen’s Square, Bath with her family. From her bedroom window Bath gleams creamy white in the sun and the pavements are bright with elegantly dressed people. The fine pastry shops, such as Mollards, are filled with visitors enjoying the sugared cakes and biscuits, drinking hot chocolate and gossiping, while Sydney Gardens is thronged with people taking advantage of the public breakfasts and famous Sally Lunn buns. Jane loved Sydney Gardens. She loved the pageants and firework displays, the illuminations glittering in the bushes and the winding paths leading through groves of flowering shrubs. She loved walking beside the canal, watching the boats plying their trade up and down to Reading and Bristol, thinking perhaps of her two naval brothers Frank, and the handsome Charles.

Canal Sydney Gardens Bath Jane AustenSydney Gardens, image courtesy Visit Bath

The Theatre Royal is another favourite haunt of Jane’s. She would walk through the colonnade, down the cobbled street where the old theatre was and afterwards, having seen a Shakespeare tragedy sweetened by a happy ending and followed by a comedy, perhaps her supper was a dish of oysters, or a pie bought from the pie shop by the Abbey.

Theatre Royal Bath Jane AustenTheatre Royal, image courtesy Visit Bath

Bath is also famous for its shops and Jane has a long list of commissions from family and friends. She makes her way along Milsom Street, Old Bond Street and Abbey Churchyard – streets made famous in her novels, searching for the muslins and hat trimmings her sister Cassandra wants, excited by the challenge of finding a bargain and wondering how she will find room in her trunk to take all her purchases home.

Hat ribbon Jane Austen

Retrace Jane’s steps with Diana White on our Two Day Festive Jaunt to Jane Austen’s Bath 2021. Find out more here

You can buy a copy of Diana’s fascinating book here