Men and women dressed in Regency costumes for the Jane Austen Festival 2012.

The sun was shining down on Queen Square Lawn as crowds of men and women from around the world gathered on a Saturday morning dressed in Regency costumes for the opening event of the Jane Austen Festival 2012 hosted in the beautiful Georgian city of Bath, England.

For centuries the city of Bath has been known as a “place to take the waters”  for one’s health. The spa town served as a place of retreat where socialites traveled far and wide to enjoy a little R&R and get the scoop of the latest gossip, find a potential husband, attend balls and evening concerts.

The Roman Baths

The Royal Crescent

The festival kicked off with the Grand Regency Costumed Promenade asspectators took out their cameras to snap a picture of the over 500 participants in Regency costumes, the town crier leading the parade, a line of red courts and drummers all marching down Milsom Street.

Attendees posing for pictures, meeting new people, and sharing their love of Austen

The town crier leading the annual parade through the streets of Bath

Over 500 Jane Austen fans of all ages participated in the parade

The twelfth annual Jane Austen Festival promised the nine-day celebration would be the busiest ever with over sixty events such as concerts, theatrical performances, talks, and walking tours, throughout the day and night.

Bath served as inspiration for the observant Austen, as she was was a regular guest from 1801 to 1806 and set two of her novels in the spa town,  Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

In Northanger Abbey  Austen writes: “They arrived in Bath, Catherine was all eager delight; her eyes were here, there everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through the streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.” 

The Jane Austen Centre and Regency Tea Room

Stop by the Jane Austen Centre on Gay Street and travel back into Jane Austen’s time.  At the front of the door visitors are welcomed by a friendly gentleman dressed from top to bottom in Regency costume. Meeter Greeter, Martin Selter, has entertained visitors here for the last five years and is possibly the most photographed man in Bath.

The waiting room for the introductory talk and exhibition

The Jane Austen Centre is complete with a ground floor exhibition room where visitors learn English ettiquette and about the life of Bath’s most famous resident. After walking around the exhibition visitors can have enjoy “Tea with Mr. Darcy”  upstairs at the the award-winning   Regency Tea Room.

Sally Hawkin’s original dress in the 2007 film version of Persuasion

Jane Austen Walking Tours held every Saturday and Sunday

Take a walk in Jane Austen’s footsteps by joining one of the friendly Jane Austen Centre Walking Tour Guides and discover   the Bath Austen lived and breathed.

No. 25 Gay Street the building with the blue door and flowered windows

After the death of her father Jane, her mother and sister rented a set of rooms in No. 25. Austen lodged in   a number of buildings around Bath such as No. 4 Sydney Place, No. 13 Queen Square and on Trim Street.

The Assembly Rooms

The Assembly Rooms were the heart of Bath’s night life with concerts, dances, card games, exchange gossip, and where young people look for marriage partners.

The Pulteney Bridge

The city of Bath has changed very little since Jane Austen’s time decorated in the cobblestone streets and Georgian buildings, and travelers can relive the Bath Austen once knew. For more on Jane Austen and other British period literature turned into films, take a look at at The Most Famous Estates in British Period Drama History.  

Get in touch with the author @alicperez.