Have you read Pride and Prejudice? Emma? Persuasion? Even if you’re not familiar with the author’s novels, you’ll no doubt have seen at least one of the film adaptions of her works: perhaps the blockbuster movies 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Sense and Sensibility', or 'Emma'. Award winning actors such as Colin Firth, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant and Gwyneth Paltrow have all starred in the films, which were based on the novels of the English author Jane Austen who died 200 years ago in 1817.
Whilst Jane was born and died in Hampshire, England, she lived for some years at no less than four addresses in the World Heritage spa city of Bath. Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are set mainly in Bath and many of Austen's storylines include references to the city where the gentry of the day went for rest and recreation. For example: "They set off in good time for the Pump-room ..." The Pump Room is an excellent choice even today to linger over lunch or 'high tea'. Another: "We walked along the Crescent together for half an hour." The Royal Crescent is the jewel in Bath's 18th century architectural crown and a 'must' for travellers wanting an iconic photo-stop.
Many more of the places mentioned in Austen’s books actually exist and can still be seen - if you know where to look. Today Bath remains a great place to visit, shop and enjoy 'the waters' as they did in Austen's day.
Stage adaptations, exhibitions, readings, costume parties and more are taking place in 2017 to commemorate the bicentenary of Austen's death, many of them in Bath. If you’re a true fan, you’ll want to be here from September 8-17th, to take part in the Jane Austen Festival, which celebrates the author’s life and work.
Why not take a walk in the steps of Jane Austen with me, ToursByLocals guide Mike, and learn more about the places that inspired her fiction?