Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bath: Walking in Jane Austen's Footsteps

Walking in Jane Austen's Footsteps

A Tour of Bath

Monday September 16 turned out to be a bright and sunny day in Bath. I grabbed my beautiful copy of Jane Austen in Bath: Walking Tours of the Writer's City by Katharine Reeve and went out to walk as many of the walks as possible.

First stop up the hill: The Circus- a circle of Georgian terraced houses. The Circus designed by the famous Georgian architect John Wood and built by his son, John Wood, the Younger.  Jane Austen visited friends at No. 11.

The slope had to be leveled in order for it to be built. There are 33 houses in three terraces. The diameter of 318 feet matches Stonehenge. It is likened to the Colosseum turned inside out. The center of the plaza was intended to be paved but by 1801, the pavement was replaced by a reservoir of water for household use surrounded by shrubbery. By 1829, trees were planted over the reservoir. The trees stopped a bomb from burning the Circus during WWII.

The top of the circle features a carved frieze of 500 images from the arts and sciences, sea and agriculture. The traditional symbol of the acorn is represented by giant carved finials.

Then back up to The Royal Crescent. No. 16 Royal Crescent was home to the Duke of York, second son of King George III. I cut through the gravel walk back down to Gay Street. No. 16 Royal Crescent was home to the Duke of York, second son of King George III.

I headed down Gay Street to see where the Austens once lived. Then I went down to the unfashionable end of town where the Austens were forced to live after Rev. Austen died. I continued along to Westgate buildings where Anne Elliot’s impoverished, widowed friend lives.  I looped back to the center of town cutting through the little square where the Cross Bath is. The Cross Bath goes back to Georgian times and was a fashionable spa. I stopped for a picture of the entrance to the King and Queen’s Baths so popular in Jane Austen’s time. 


  1. Sounds fun, though it's a shame that the centre didn't go into more depth (good to know in case I visit some time...). I would have imagined Lady Catherine's Cream Tea to be rather more controversial - perhaps laced with poison for those she felt were not sufficiently worthy to eat it.

    Speaking of period costume, have you come across the historical costume exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London? It's quite small, with only one or two examples from each decade of the late 18th-early 20th century, but still worth a look. I know they have far more dresses in storage which you can, however, find on their website.


  2. Thanks for finding me. I didn't visit the V&A this trip but I did visit the Fashion Museum in Bath. I'll be blogging about that soon.

  3. I love your pictures! I went to Bath in September 2012 and want to go again soon! I just set half my latest book in Bath, too. :)


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