Known for Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen has left her mark on readers worldwide. If you’re passionate about literature and plan to visit Bath, this time of the year is ideal with the return of the Jane Austen Festival.
From the 8th to the 17th of September, the festival celebrates the life and works of Jane Austen, one of the most appraised authors in literary history.
For ten days, the festival complements the charm of Bath, where Austen enthusiasts will wander the streets set for the occasion. We gathered a few interesting facts about this remarkable event.
The Birthplace of Jane Austen
Bath holds a special place in the writer’s life and heritage, as she lived in the city from 1801 to 1806. It was during this time that she wrote some of her most notable novels, including Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. The festival recreates the Regency era that inspired Austen’s timeless works.
It started over twenty years ago
The first festival occurred in 2001 with just a few attendees at the Jane Austen Centre over a weekend. It then evolved into a ten-day programme, attracting several thousands of Austen enthusiasts and travellers, now participating in various events and activities.
Elaborate Regency-era Costumes
One of the extraordinary aspects of the festival is the costumes worn by participants. Attendees dress up in Regency-era attire, showcasing their dedication to the period that Austen depicted in her novels. From flowing gowns and bonnets to elegant waistcoats and top hats, the participants love recreating the fashion of the early 19th century.
The Grand Regency Costumed Promenade
The highlight of the festival is undoubtedly the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade at the start of the festival. Hundreds of participants gather on the streets of Bath, dressed in their splendid Regency outfits, and parade through the city. This magnificent spectacle provides a glimpse of Austen’s time, as the streets of Bath are transformed into a scene from one of her novels.
A Variety of Events
You’ll find something to your taste with the various events and activities organised for Austen fans of all ages – from tea dances, musical performances, and theatrical productions to lectures, guided Bath tours, and workshops. There’s something for everyone to delve deeper into the Regency era.
The Jane Austen Festival also embraces a spirit of fun and creativity. In 2009, it set a world record for the largest gathering of people in Regency costumes, with more than 400 participants. This delightful achievement showcases the festival’s dedication to creating an authentic experience for attendees.
If you’re in England at this magical time, visit Bath to dive into the Austen world. One of our memorable day tours from London can take you to Bath and further, to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and more.