This year from the 9th – 18th September Bath is hosting the Jane Austen Festival. Founded in 2000 this will be the 16th Jane Austen Festival which Bath has seen, and as always the programme is filled with events for Jane Austen fans and fans of Bath alike. With this in mind, this week’s blog looks at a few of the different events which are going on as part of the festival that visitors both new and old to Bath might enjoy.
After the grand promenade on Saturday 10th; always a sight to behold – hundreds of costumed Austen fans marching through the Georgian streets of Bath, there are hourly (from 12:15, tickets £3) shows of a short theatrical version of Pride and Prejudice being shown in the Octagon Room at the Assembly Rooms in Bath. In the tea room next door will be the festival fair where you can have your silhouette cut and your palm read.
Also on Saturday and then again on Sunday are half-hourly (from 1:30) 90-minute Austen themed comedy walks to go on. They meet outside of the Assembly Rooms and are conducted by the award-winning Natural Theatre Company. Expect duels, scandal and a good laugh for £16.50.
There are plenty of events for those who are more interested in the history of Bath than in the novels which Jane wrote though.
On Sunday at 11:30am Dr Amy Frost is conducting a special tour of Beckford’s Tower (90 minutes, £8). On Thursday Bath Parade Guides are conducting a two-hour walking tour focusing on war and peace during the Regency and the impact it had on society (£9).
On Monday for those who’d like to go a little further afield there is a guided minibus tour to nearby Lacock, Castle Combe and Corsham which, as well as being used as film sets for Austen adaptations, have also been used for the likes of Cranford, Harry Potter, Poldark and Warhorse. They’re a beautiful visit in themselves too - Lacock village is all timber beamed houses, Tudor frontages and winding side streets. It begins at 2pm, lasts three and a half hours and tickets cost £30.
There are plenty more walking tours and talks scheduled which look at topics ranging from the discomforts of 18th century Bath (for that read death, disaster and chamber pots), the historic lido Cleveland Pools, ghosts, gardens, clergymen, what Regency ladies kept in their reticules, how to dress, what to do in a whole range of social situations, and, for those who can’t wait, Christmas during the Regency.
Full details of the festival programme are available at http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk and tickets can be bought from in person from Bath Box Office located in Bath’s Vistitor Information Centre (by the Abbey), and also online here http://bathboxoffice.org.uk/whatson/?s=jane+austen+festival