Visiting the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England

A woman stands with a Jane Austen wax figure while visiting the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England

Why Does Jane Austen Have Such a Cult Following?

After all. Her stories are full of whiny bitches and passive aggressive drama. It’s not like the women do anything fun like lose their virginity to the hottie at the bar, or smoke joints. There’s never any police chases or gang violence. So, what gives?

Because Jane Austen is a bad ass bitch. 

Jane Austen was a bad bitch, for sure, Glinda.

She made daring statements within her writing. Austen’s opening line of Pride and Prejudice is renowned:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

She’s poking fun at the fact that higher society was obsessed with socially advantageous marriage during the Georgian era. In other words, marry for the sake of improving your situation, not a silly thing like love.

Jane Austen is famous for developing a unique point of view in writing. She uses a third person point of view through the eyes of one character. In plain speak? Even though the story is mostly told through one character, that character telling the tale has insight into the whole of every other characters’ lives. 

Jane Austen featured female characters who went against the norm and lived their truth. Ideals for women which certainly weren’t in vogue at the time.

Most people don’t know that Jane Austen used to perform this trick for royalty at family dinners. This was her first claim to fame.

Austen and Bath

Another huge reason for the adoration of Austen? The settings within her novels are what we all secretly dream about. 

The UK’s next top model striking a pose in front of Bath Cathedral. I call this pose, camel knees.

They take place in England during the Georgian/Regency era. Austen frequently transports us to 19th century balls. Women dress in beautiful muted colors of ball length gowns and long evening gloves. Men appear in their most dashing suits or formal Regency military attire. Men say things to young women like, “May I have this dance?” Speak of which, the dances are all choreographed and respectable. There was no twerking in the time of Austen. 

The author takes us to a time of dressing up for afternoon tea and delicate yet delicious pastries. Through her work we wander through whispering green blowing in the wind and the quiet bubbling of brooks and rivers. She walks us through quaint farms and flower gardens. People are often polite to one another and formal. However, gossip and betrayal are conducted discreetly through society’s important social circles.

Bath is such an idyllic little city

Save for the gossip and betrayal, so much of these images can be found in Bath, England. At least two of her novels are set there.

A long shot of Bath Cathedral in Bath, England. There are people gathered on the street.
Bath is exceptionally beautiful. You feel like you’ve stepped into the pages of a Jane Austen novel! Obviously a great location for the Jane Austen centre.

Jane Austen Centre Walk About

Austen set plenty of her writings in Bath. She lived there, and the environment influenced much of her writing.  Therefore, the Jane Austen Centre came into existence.

Before you even enter the museum, you have the opportunity to greet some statues outside. Afterwards, you buy your tickets in the gift shop.

A woman in white pants and a blue checkered tank top stands next to a statue of Jane Austen while visiting the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England
Hanging with some real characters while visiting the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England

Following the purchase, you are ushered into a beautiful room to watch a short video on the life of Jane Austen. After which, a guide in period costume gives guests so history about Austen and her family. 

Guests are given the opportunity to look at several portraits which are thought to be Jane, but cannot be proved. There is only one portrait of Jane that exists, done by her sister. Therefore, even experts aren’t sure what she looks like, which means she might very well look like half unicorn and half ice cream truck. 

When you visit the museum, there is a life sized wax figure of what Jane Austen is thought to look like.  If it truly captures be likeness, she has a plain type of beauty that I think any reader of her works would come to expect. 

Striking a pose with famed celebrity, Owen Wilson

There are plenty of exhibits to learn about the life of Austen in Bath. You can also see excerpts from letters and novels written by Austen. You are also able to see outfits and artwork from the time of Austen!

Playing Dress Up and Make Believe

The best part of the experience is the opportunity to dress up in Regency era clothing and pose with the arrogant hunk himself…MR DARCY

You can also try your hand at quill writing as Austen would have done in days long ago.

A woman sits at the writing desk at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England
Writing with quill and ink gives me an even greater appreciation for Jane Austen! This shit wasn’t easy!

Shop til you Drop

For any Jane Austen fan, the gift shop is a mecca of anything related to the author and her works that you could possibly need or want. There are bedding sets, jewelry, totebags, cocktail recipe books – all inspired by Austen and the era in which she lived and wrote. Many of the items have quotes from her characters. I got myself a tote bag that says, I love Mr Darcy. I also got Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett Christmas ornaments!

Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet Christmas Ornaments

Tea Party

We only had a few hours in Bath as this stop was part of a full day tour of England. So, we did not get to enjoy tea time. However, the centre offers afternoon tea in its Regency Tea Room. Wait staff dressed in period costumes provide a fun and elegant high tea experience complete with a choice of a plethora of treats and 15 options of loose leaf tea.

Courtesy of: Jane Austen Centre

Not only did I learn about Jane Austen on my trip to England. I followed Shakespeare’s ghost as well! Click here to read about it!

20 thoughts on “Visiting the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England

  1. What a lovely and enchanting town in England. I haven’t been to Bath, but I read many of Jane Austen’s books when I was in primary school. It is so interesting now to see her town through your eyes.

  2. Dressing up like you’re in the Jane Austen era looks SO fun! I visited Bath once and I would love to return. Pinning your post for future travel plans!

  3. What a lovely town in England. I have heard about Bath but not known about Jane Austen center. I haven’t read the books of Jen Austen, but reading about her through your post makes interesting Tale of her.I would like to read books of her. That trying your hands at Quill writing seems fun.

  4. I went to Bath when I was younger, but need to go back now I can maybe appreciate it more. I do like Jane Austen. I like classics but more so the controversial ones and like you said not ones where the woman just needs to find a husband but has no personality to her name. The museum looks dinn, you own the classy broad look!

  5. I went to Bath in January as a part of a day trip to Stonehenge. I didn’t have more than a few hours, so my friends and I went to Sally Lunn’s for a bite. I had no idea that the Jane Austen Musuem is in Bath as well! I do want to go back to Bath at some point, so I’ll make sure to visit it!

  6. Bath is such a beautiful town. I love visiting every now and then. It does feel like stepping back in time. Will need to add the Jane Austen Center to my itinerary next time, sounds like a very interesting yet fun afternoon.

  7. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels, yet I didn’t know about this museum. That also makes me think that they should have more museums about Authors. And, I love the gifs you have put in this article. Dressing up like you’re in the Jane Austen era looks like a lot of fun. I enjoyed this piece.

  8. This is a lovely experiential post, and you got me with Jane Austen. I enjoyed reading her books, and also the movies, which made me appreciate more the classics, and learning about the etiquettes. I will definitely visit this museum and follow your recommendations.

  9. I confess I’m not a fan of Jane Austen’s books but I do acknowledge that she was a hugely influential and daring writer of her time. The museum sounds like such a great way to get to know more about Austen and her life. The dressing up and afternoon tea activities appeal to me the most.

  10. How lucky you are to visit Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I too like her third person point of view through the eyes of one character. And OMG the gossip and betrayals in her stories so well conducted through society’s important social circles! I have this sudden urge to pick up one of her novels now.

  11. Oh my goodness! That is so interesting that they aren’t 100% sure what she looked like. I love that tidbit. This sounds right up my alley – I’d love to visit. She’s such an icon!

  12. I had no idea about Jane Austen Centre in England but I know her and I am a fan. I love her style of writing and her story plots are refreshing. Anyway, thank you for sharing about this and would love to visit someday.

  13. Bath is a lovely place. I went only once and unfortunately missed out on the Jane Austen Centre but we had the afternoon there. Now I know about the centre, I would love to go back and have tea there!

  14. Totally a fan of the Jane Austen bold statements. Whatever she said, and translated in her narrations are true to the core! Didn’t know there is a Jane Austen Centre in Bath. Definitely going to visit it when I travel there

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