The Jane Austen Centre was established to pay tribute to arguably Bath’s most famous resident. It offers a snapshot of life during Regency times and explores how living in this magnificent city affected Jane Austen’s life and writing. As an avid “Jane-ite” as her fans are sometimes known, I put this attraction high on my to do list for my limited time in the city, especially as it is new since my last visit there.
I had some fears prior to my visit that the centre might romanticise Jane’s time in Bath. A country girl at heart, and impatient of the foibles that distinguished the polite society of her day, she was never really happy during her period living in the city, although she had enjoyed visits there when younger. Luckily, my fears were unfounded, and the introductory 15 minute film gave a really balanced view of her experiences in the city and the ways in which it had influenced her writing.
Apart from the film there is perhaps not a huge amount to be seen here, but what there is, is nicely exhibited and interestingly annotated. Displays include a beautiful restored silk dress of the period and other costumes, fans (and information on the meanings attributed to different poses with them), some typical pieces of furniture, shopping in Regency Bath, and a (very) small town garden.
There is a good gift shop with an excellent selection of books in particular (I was tempted but resisted as I didn’t want to have to carry too much, but will be returning online!) and upstairs a Regency Tea Room which I didn’t visit.
Admission costs a slightly pricey (in my view) £6.50 for adults, but I was offered a 10% discount as I had arrived too late for the last tour of the day. For children 6-16 admission is £3.50 and for seniors and students £4.95. You can also get a family ticket for £18 (two adults and up to four children); however I wouldn’t see this as a top attraction for younger children as the space is quite cramped for lively youngsters and the exhibits unlikely to hold their attention for long. The Centre is open every day in winter months 11.00 AM - 4.30 PM (Saturdays 9.45 AM to 5.30 PM) and in the summer 9.45 AM - 5.30 PM daily, with extended opening in July and August to 7.00 PM Thursday to Saturday.
Now, call me a Philistine if you like, but I've never been able to take to Jane Austen. I've enjoyed the film adaptations, and loved the BBC series of 'Pride and Prejudice' that was screened a few years back, but I've just never got on with her books. Determined to overcome my ignorance I headed to the Jane Austen Museum in the hope that learning more about her life might help me appreciate her work more.
The Museum is in a Georgian Townhouse, just a few doors down from where Jane actually lived for a few weeks. Your tour begins with a very interesting talk by one of the curators about Jane's life - her family, her work and the society she lived in and her attitude towards it. I was interested to learn that she quite disliked Bath, despite her strong association with the city. After the talk, you are free to make your way around the museum, which focuses on the places Jane knew in Bath (she lived here for about five years), and the places her characters visited in her novels. There are also examples of replica costumes, and information about Regency society. Entrance was just under £5.00.
I did feel that much of the exhibition required you to have read Jane's novels as there were so many references to characters about whom I knew nothing. Despite that, I did enjoy it, but I think a Jane Austen fan would probably get more out of the visit than I did.
So, have I warmed to Jane more since visiting the museum? Well, I'm certainly more interested, and I did buy a copy of Northanger Abbey in the gift shop on the way out. We'll have to see!
The Jane Austen Visitor Centre is on the same side of Gay Street as her 1805 residence, but a few doors away.
For Austenites, this is a MUST SEE.
With the help of the Jane Austen Society the Centre has been made into a replica of Jane's home. Docents give a presentation of Austen family history. A 15 minute video narrated by Amanda Root (from the film Persuasion) offers another perspective on Austen's life and work. On display are costumes from the period, household artifacts and copies of Jane's letter to her sister Cassandra. You can't miss the gift shop! Besides being the ticket office, it offers a surprisingly good assortment of Austenalia for fans of all ages.
The Jane Austen Centre offers you a glimpse of what life was like during the Regency times, Jane Austen's time, it really has an authentic period feel throughout the whole exhibition.
Here you can explores how living in this magnificent city affected Jane Austen’s life and writing.
Learn more about her life and view many of her treasures including some of her letters. Be sure to enjoy tea in the Regency Tea room on the second floor.
A must see for all Jane Austen fans and the staff are really friendly!
I was utterly surprised to find out that Bath was the place Jane Austen lived and inspired manyof her novels such as Northanger Abbey. The great Pultney Bridge is still preserved as how Jane Austen would have seen it.
The Jane Austin museum is not the author’s real home. It is a replica of where Jane used to live. It is a nice to visit for Jane Austin fans like my sister. You are treated to a story of her life and get to see a few costumes/dresses.
Or maybe it's Mr. Wickham? The Jane Austem museum is well worth visiting. My favourite exhibit was a letter written by the actress Emma Thompson, in the guise of Jane Austen herself, describing the BAFTA awards ceremony. At the entrance to the museum there is a picture of Colin Firth, no doubt intended to entice the girls to visit. The lady in charge of the museum told us that many people who visit here have never read a Jane Austen book - apperently their interest stems from seeing Mr. Darcy in Bridget Jones' Diary.
Jane Austen lived in Bath for a period of her life and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion both depicts Bath life at the time. Therefore, a museum centred around her life and works has been set up here. It also claims to have the largest stock of Austen literature on sale anywhere.
It's worth visiting the museum to get an insight into Jane Austen's life including the era she lived in at the time and how the era and its cultures influenced her writing.
Here, the famed novelist Jane Austen lived for a few years. She is celebrated with special events, such as costumed parties and afternoon teas. A must-see for any Austen fan.
Cool little place. It is not the home of Jane Austen but a replica. Her real home is currently occupied by a private owner.