January 11, 2014

Jane Austen and Bath

2013 marked the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice and after I visited the Jane Austen Center in Bath last summer, I wanted to finish all 6 of her novels before the end of the year. I managed to fulfill this commitment during the last week of 2013 and today I want to revisit my trip to Bath.

I was staying at the Club Quarters at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Although the room was small, this hotel's clever use of space made my visit very comfortable. I really appreciate the complimentary wifi and the proximity to Covent Garden cannot be beat.

After breakfast at Paul with very bitter coffee and a ham and cheese croissant, I headed to London Paddington to catch my train to Bath Spa. An hour and half later, I have arrived in Bath! Take a look at this thousands year old hot spring, the Roman Baths.

After spending over an hour inside this historical site, visits tend to end with a taste of the purified water from the preserved hot spring. I didn't try it myself, but I was told that the 2000 years old water tasted horribly metallic.

With our Joint Saver ticket to the Roman Baths, I could not miss out on the included admission to the Fashion Museum. This is a museum located in the Assembly Rooms, which used to be a major gathering place for holding social balls.

Stepping through the entrance to a temporarily exhibition with dresses from the 60s and 70s by Laura Ashley to celebrates the brand's 60th anniversary in 2013.

The museum was also celebrating its 50th anniversary with Fifty Fabulous Frocks featuring 50 unique dresses. The final stretch with the evolution of fashion in the 19th century was fascinating. The displays change several times a year, and I highly enjoyed my visit.

The museum's Dress of the Year list.

Next up is a tour at the Jane Austen Center, which started off with a 15 minutes introductory talk about the author's background and her writing career. The visit was then followed by an interactive walk through the period displays and films. I really like this display explaining the meaning behind different ways of holding a fan. If you are a fan of Jane Austen, the apartment nearby on 25 Gay Street where her family used to live is available for overnight stays!

Finally, I finished the day with a very brief visit to the Bath Postal Museum. Did you know that the first Penny Black stamped mail left from Bath on May 2, 1840, 4 days before the official launch date? This stamp changed the mail system from payment upon delivery with prepaid postage. Although this museum is tiny, the history behind the creative advances in mail delivery is worth a visit!

We took a break from walking and kept dry from a downpour in West Cornwall Pasty Co.. I originally planned to visit the Thermae Bath Spa to experience its natural hot spring, but the receptionists had one of the worst attitudes I have ever encountered. Needless to say, I decided to keep my money and headed back to London early.

I have had this boxed set for years and I am glad to have finally removed the shrink wrap and dived into the books. I didn't find the plots to be exceptionally creative, but her writing style and the subtle emphasis on the interaction of social classes made for very enjoyable reads.

Do you know about the Austen Project to modernize Jane Austen's novels? Can you imagine 200 year old novels updated with social media? The first in the series, Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope is out and I am more than curious to check it out!

Contact Details:
Club Quarters
61 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London

Roman Baths
Abbey Church Yard, Bath

Fashion Museum
Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath
Jane Austen Center
40 Gay Street, Bath

Bath Postal Museum
27 Northgate Street, Bath


  1. Looks like you had a very fun trip :)

    I've read the novels, but my favorites are the BBC movies of the novels. Such a guilty pleasure.

    1. I really enjoyed my visit! I always feel that I should make time to read more classic novels.