Back in October my parents and my sister-in-law came for a visit. We spent the weekend a few hours south of Birmingham in and near Bath and then spent a few days around our home. My sister is a big Jane Austen fan so one of our first destinations was the Jane Austen Center.
I liked learning a bit more about her life and about the Regency Era. This chart on The Language of the Fan caught my interest. Although I have a hard time imagining it literally being put into practice! With my societal bias it seems so melodramatic. Towards the end of the exhibits visitors can try on Regency Era clothes. For some reason I really wanted to get a picture of Daughter in one of the hats. She wasn’t too excited about this bonnet – I’d put it on, she’d pull it off. I’d put it back on her, she’d pull it off… you get the idea. This was as good as it got initially. She did wear it for a split second when we were all dressed. Look at the shock in my mom’s face upon seeing her leave the bonnet on her head! haha
She had a little more fun with the top hat.
We completed our visit with some peppermint tea and crumpets. Delish and oh-so-proper!
Derek joined us that evening after taking the train down from Birmingham and we stayed in a lovely little cottage a little ways outside of Bath. The next morning we headed back into Bath to see the actual Roman Baths.
We were surprised by how much the Roman empire built so far away from Rome; temples, luxury spas, burial grounds, etc. It was also pretty cool to see steam coming off of the main pool in the open air.
Pushchairs aren’t allowed, but they had metal framed backpacks and soft carriers (like an ergo) to borrow. Handy! Although we still ended up letting Daughter walk part of the time and be her typical social self. And at one point I was carrying her and a man dressed in Roman garb addressed her saying, “Oh, you must be very important to have your slave carry you like that!” haha! Yes, yes, that is how I feel sometimes.
Following our tour of the baths the girls went to Bath’s Fashion Museum in the Assembly Rooms.
While my mom is a brilliant seamstress she doesn’t care much about current styles so she wasn’t necessarily ecstatic to follow me to the museum. But since it was really more of a fashion history museum we all enjoyed it. Plus, we arrived just in time for a free tour – getting background information on some of the most interesting and oldest dresses. Like the oldest known fully intact dress (from the 1600s), or a feathery one worn by the ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn, or some insanely wide court dresses from the 1700s.
Our next stop: Stonehenge!Stonehenge is fantastic, especially as so many other prehistoric sites like that are basically non-existent, but it is kind of disappointing that you can’t walk right up to the stones. I completely understand why, but I think it affects the experience.When we were there everyone got an audio guide (part of your entrance fee) explaining the known and speculated history of Stonehenge. We were excited to see Merlin while listening to the part about his
possible connection to the site! ha!
Whatever the truth, and even from far away, it’s a pretty cool place.
Near Stonehenge is another stone circle, Avebury. It’s much bigger in terms of the area within the stones, but sine the stones aren’t right next to each other it has a completely different feel. We took advantage of the opportunity to get up close and personal with history.
To conclude our trip we had dinner at a nearby pub (it’s a good one, particularly if you’re cold and a bit worn out ; ) and then drove back to Birmingham.
Having visitors is such a good excuse for us to get out and explore!
*I still think Castlerigg is my favorite stone circle.
*There is a brand new visitors center that has opened since we were at Stonehenge. Good thing Derek and I are English Heritage members! We’ll have to go back soon.
* Some funny Jane Austen Quotes.