Jane Austen alternative to Bath ?

Sep 12th, 2019, 07:47 PM
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Jane Austen alternative to Bath ?

We are 3 sisters planning a trip to London in May. We want to leave the city for a few days and visit a literary site. Would a visit to Jane Austen house in Winchester be a good alternative to Bath ? Any suggestions to get us out in a more rural area ?
SusieIowa is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 09:14 PM
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Sure. Head over to Hampshire and visit any number of Austen places:

Underhill is online now  
Sep 12th, 2019, 10:28 PM
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Can you elaborate, please. Do you want just Jane Austen sites or maybe several days seeing a variety of writer-associated places? To get around the countryside generally requires a car unless you do a tour. Is renting a car in the cards?
MmePerdu is online now  
Sep 12th, 2019, 10:30 PM
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If you can go to bath, I really do recommend it. Something about that town just made me think Austen. I really enjoyed it.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 07:15 AM
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No on the car rental. We want to use public transit - or possibly a short tour. We are seniors and we don't want the stress of trying to drive on the other side of the road.
We will have around a week in England. Planning on 3 days or so in London.
Then looking for a taste of the country and a taste of some of the great literature we have been reading all our lives. And to know we have left the Midwest and really in England.

Last edited by SusieIowa; Sep 13th, 2019 at 07:27 AM. Reason: want to add more.
SusieIowa is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 07:22 AM
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Thank you. The link is very helpful. Would love to communicate with anyone who has traveled there without a rental car.
SusieIowa is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 07:23 AM
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I have the impression that Bath is really crowded ? We would be going in May or June.
SusieIowa is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 08:15 AM
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I was not aware that Ms Austen's writings were inspired by Bath or that she was associated with it. There are numerous tours I believe you can take from locations such as London which include Bath as I recall.
Dukey1 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 08:33 AM
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I understand about wanting to stick to public transport, it's also my preference. But getting to places in the countryside in a short time frame like yours almost always requires a car. But May into June is when I travel to the UK, including several times to Bath & I haven't felt it was crowded.

If Bath sounds good to you, I too, recommend it. It's a beautiful, compact walkable small city and you could combine it with Winchester, even smaller & very pleasant & reachable from Bath in 2 hours by train.

For a taste of countryside there are walks in & around both on England's vast system of footpaths. You don't need to drive, they're everywhere. The Kennet & Avon Canal goes right through Bath, the towpath level & easy to walk.
MmePerdu is online now  
Sep 13th, 2019, 08:33 AM
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@Dukey1 - to become aware see: https://www.janeausten.co.uk/

@SusieIowa - Bath is likely to be crowded, but still worth visiting. Plus it is a base for other nearby places such as Wells (by bus).

Lyme Regis also has associations with Jane Austin, and is reachable by train plus bus.

You might look into https://www.rabbies.com/en/england-tours/from-london
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 08:51 AM
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>>We will have around a week in England. Planning on 3 days or so in London.<<

Is this any of your group's first time to London? If so, three days is absolutely no time. After jet lag you'll maybe get a teensy taste of a couple of areas of te city (totally ignore if you've been to London several times )

A couple of nights in Bath and the rest in London would be great -- and give you a good feeling for Austen, plus the city is gorgeous and the Roman Baths are a wonder.

Another option would be Oxford -- the gorgeous colleges, MANY author-connections, a short bus ride to visit Blenheim Palace.

If you opt for either Bath or Oxford -- Upon arriving at LHR I'd immediately take the express coach to which one you choose. Spend the first 2 nights (3 at most) there, then take the train in to LOndon and finish the trip there.
janisj is online now  
Sep 13th, 2019, 02:04 PM
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Bath is a perfect place to connect with Jane Austen! Stroll through the streets and shops of Bath and it will seem you must see a Jane Austen character at any moment. Jane lived in Bath for five years. Two of her novels are set in Bath. Visit the Pump room where she socialized in the afternoons and the Assembly room where she went to grand balls. Bath was a center of elite social life in England at the time. Visit the Jane Austen Center in Bath for more info on her life and connection with Bath.

Take a free walking tour that starts in front of the Pump Room daily. It will give you history, including the story of Nash, the “influencer” of the time, and take you by some of the historic architecture, like the Crescent and the magnificent Abby. Check the times. This was one of the best tours I have ever taken. Skip night tours or ghost tours, waste of time. Take an evening walk instead. The river and bridges are beautiful.

Allow plenty of time to tour the Roman Baths. This is a “don’t miss” sight. They are simply amazing!

If you want a good tour without a car, check out Mad Max tours from Bath. We did an all day tour that went to several Cotswold villages with time to walk around and have lunch. Ask what they do now. They used to have mini-vans and did several different tours, from half day to all day. Very reasonable prices too.

Stay two full days in Bath, you can tour Bath one day (Bath in the morning, Roman Baths in the afternoon) and do a Mad Max tour the second day.
You might guess, I love Bath!
Sassafrass is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 02:53 PM
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Ditto. Mad Max is great. If you want to take one of their tours, I'd stay the first three nights in Bath. Express coach to Bath. Day one fresh air and walk around, clear the jet lag cobwebs, take it easy the half day or less you will have. Then on day two really explore Bath. Day three take a Mad Max to Stonehenge and/or the Cotswolds and/or somewhere else. Morning four take an early train to London and spend the rest of your time there.
janisj is online now  
Sep 13th, 2019, 04:58 PM
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Cool. Happy to hear my trusted Fodorites recommending Bath & Mad Max (which I found on a google search - just havenít been active much on Fodors.)

We have a similar trip planned. Been to London several times and never outside of it. Work will have me stressed in London so I just want to get away - and neither my husband nor I want to drive (hence the tour which is not our typical MO). So we have 3 nights in Bath (rented a cottage through Bath Holiday Rentals); one day will be the tour and we may train to Bristol one day (thanks annhig!). Iíll be following this thread - thanks OP!

YankyGal is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 05:22 PM
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Actually Jane Austen hated Bath. It was where her father died. However it’s a well-preserved Georgian town, very walkable. So it gives you the feel of those times.
Mimar is offline  
Sep 13th, 2019, 11:58 PM
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I think Bath is one of my favorite England towns, just beautiful and full of wonderful Jane Austen (good and bad - hated places make for good writing, too) tales. The baths are incomparable. There are good restaurants, nice bus rides up into the surrounds, and just a very nice vibe.

Bristol also captured us on a recent trip when we went specifically for a concert. What a lively, youngish, springy city! We loved it.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 14th, 2019, 06:55 AM
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Here's my experience (with DD) about how we got to Chawton for the most wonderful Jane Austin day--via public transport and much walking! Skip down to Day 6
Tales of the Texas Two; or, Ladies in London

Bath is probably easier to get to and wonderful, but Chawton was an Austen highlight!

Winchester where she's buried is a wonderful town, too.
texasbookworm is offline  
Sep 14th, 2019, 07:43 PM
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Big thank you to all

Thanks to everyone. I see lots of helpful information here. And I am getting excited ! It will be first time for all of us to London and England.
SusieIowa is offline  
Sep 14th, 2019, 09:25 PM
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>> It will be first time for all of us to London and England. <<

Then you may want to recalibrate things a bit. You mention 'around a week' and '3 days in London'. How much total time do you actually have? For instance . . . if your trip is precisely a week/seven days home to home -- then you would only have 4.5 days free on the ground and the first day or so will probably be jet lagged. That is not much time for JUST London.

a 9-day trip home to home -- would net you 6.5 days free so you could squeeze in maybe 2 days in Bath or Oxford or Winchester. a 10-day trip = 7.5 days free / even better.

So very first thing you need to nail down is exactly how long the trip is.
janisj is online now  
Sep 15th, 2019, 02:31 AM
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I agree with janisj... I hope you mean you have a full 7 nights on the ground.. remember.. two nights only equals one full day when visiting a place..
Travel can be tiring.. London .. three days will just be such a small taste.. you will have to miss many sights..

I liked Bath.. and perhaps since I have never gone in july or august I never felt it was over crowded ( nice change from London for sure) .. I do associate it with Jane Austen as many of her books she uses it as a location setting ..
justineparis is offline  

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