The Jane Austin Centre is a captivating family attraction that relates the life and times of the landmark 19th century authoress. It is signposted across Bath and just 15-minutes’ walk from the railway station. The family attraction is located in a Grade II listed Georgian pile on Gay Street, where the novelist resided in 1805, not far from Queen Square and The Circus.
The Jane Austen Centre exhibition provides ticket holders with illumination about the environment in which Austin lived, as well as her work, while guides are on hand to give 15-minute introductory talks, alongside a video presentation revealing the locations around Bath that influenced her writing, not least in Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. There are also period pictures and documents, while ticket holders to the family attraction can view displays of contemporary urbania, period costumes, maps and books, and exclusive film footage. There is a wealth of descriptive material about the living conditions of the people of Bath too, showing how they existed two centuries ago.
Designed with the assistance of the Jane Austen Society and other experts, the Jane Austin Centre’s exhibition furnishes ticket holders with an educational and fascinating insight into turn of the century Bath, with the focus on the early 1800s when she lived in the city. Further, there are nods to Austin’s continued popularity and source of movie material, with large photo posters of characters such as Mr. D’Arcy (in the shape of Colin Firth) flanking the entrance to the family attraction. Worth the price of a ticket alone for many ladies!
A family day out to the Jane Austin Centre should take in the chance to dress in period costume and pose for a professional photographer, whose services can be pre-booked (detailed at the Jane Austin Centre website). In addition, the 2007 Costumes from ITV’s Persuasion display features dresses worn by Sally Hawkins while playing Anne Elliot, and 2008 ushers in more of Andrea Galer’s award-winning design work, with the unveiling of Romance and Reality. It includes costumes trimmed with hand-made lace from the BBC TV drama Miss Austen Regrets, along with professional set-dressings, period music, holograms and a new film. Adult groups are provided with an introductory talk in the classical Georgian room, before being guided around the exhibition, enhancing a trip to the family attraction.
The Jane Austin Centre Shop boasts a vast range of books, DVDs, CDs, cards, stationery, lace and needlepoint for ticket holders to buy, as well as a tea room serving confectionaries, rounding out a fascinating family day out.
Address: 40 Gay Street, Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2NT
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 443000
Opening Times: April – October, daily, 9.45 – 17.30 (late openings July & August)
November – March, Sunday – Friday: 11.00 – 16.30. Saturday: 9.45 – 17.30