Arrivals & Departures Celebrating Jane Austen's bicentenary in Bath and beyond

Photo of Gemma Nisbet

Pride and Prejudice fans, take note: 2017 is a year of Jane Austen in England as her fans commemorate 200 years since her death.

“Oh! Who can be ever tired of Bath?” wrote Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. And the historic city, where Austen lived from 1801 to 1806 and set two of her published novels, is marking the bicentenary of her death with a selection of special events.

Among them is this year's Jane Austen Festival, which takes place in September (tickets went on sale on July 1). The festival gives Austen fans the chance to dress up in Regency clothing and learn period dance, find out more about the author and her works at talks and guided walks, and even meet the director of the 1995 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (yes, that's the one with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy).

It will also celebrate the bicentenary of Northanger Abbey, which was published after Austen's death, with a reading of the novel at a local bookshop over the course of the festival and a theatrical production. 

Outside of the festival, Bath will celebrate all things Austen with everything from a commemorative Jane Austen 200 ale available at Bath Brew House in July, themed photo tours, a commemorative flowerbed at Parade Gardens that's designed to look like an open book, and even a gold-plated Jane Austen bust that is on display at various spots around Bath over the coming months.

Visitors can also download a free In the Footsteps of Jane Austen audio walking tour created by Bath Tourism Plus, which includes the highlights of the city alongside extracts from Austen's novels and letters, and visit the Jane Austen Centre, which provides an insight into Regency life and Bath's impact on Austen's life and work.

About two hours drive from Bath, the Jane Austen's House Museum in Hampshire, where the author lived for the final eight years of her life, is also marking the bicentenary with special exhibitions, workshops, talks and more.

Austen is also to appear on the new £10 note, which will be launched on the 200th anniversary of her death on July 18 at Winchester Cathedral, where she is buried. Visitors to the UK will be able to get their hands on the new notes when they go into distribution in September.

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