Every year, on a Saturday morning in early September, the streets of Bath are transported back in time to an age of Regency splendour.
The Jane Austen Festival parade is a memorable stop within the calendar of Bath’s multitude of social and entertainment events. While the parade and the Austen festival’s many events were much missed over two years due to the Covid Lockdown, it was wonderful to see it all back in full action this year.
The crowds gathered as usual in front of the Holborne Museum and after a very sombre and respectful silence to mark the Queen’s recent passing, the parade began in earnest. Led by His Majesty’s 33rd Regiment of Foot the parade followed the regiment complete with drummers and pipers out the main gates of the Holborne down Great Pulteney Avenue.
The weather stayed dry and beautifully summery and it was wonderful to admire the range and imagination of costumes that coloured the streets of Bath. From typical flounce sleeved, wide necked A-line dresses to elaborate layers of Regency evening dress with high waists and close fits. The men came in a multitude of styles as well from standard serious dinner wear to bright loud regency soldier costumes complete with high leather boots. Even babies, children and furry friends were not left out.
It was a splendid view to see the streets of Bath as they might have been during the reign of King George III when Austen herself wandered the streets and parks of Bath and its surrounding villages.
The parade processed past Pulteney Bridge, around the Guildhall building on to Cheap Street, Union Street and Upper Borough Walls. There was a quick detour down Beauford Square (the site of many Bridgerton scenes) before finally culminating at Queen Square. There, the Regiment assembled in front of the memorial while other parade members continued to file in.
There was also a beautiful performance of several outdoor Regency square dances by a very accomplished and enthusiastic group of youngsters accompanied by a fiddler and a drummer to keep time.
Every now and then a reminder that we lived in the modern age still when a camera or mobile phones were whipped out by parade participants to capture the event.
WE are certainly looking forward to seeing the parade again next year. For more information on The Jane Austen Festival visit the Jane Austen Centre website who organise the Festival every year.
More Photos from Jane Austen Festival in Bath
Click on the images below for a closer look.