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“An OK visit”

The Jane Austen Centre
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$96.33*
and up
Stonehenge and Bath Day Trip from London
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$75.69*
and up
Bath and Stonehenge Day Trip from Oxford
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$19.95*
and up
City Sightseeing Bath Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Ranked #24 of 162 things to do in Bath
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Owner description: The Jane Austen Centre features a permanent exhibition that tells the story of Bath's most famous resident, the author Jane Austen. It explores the effect that living in the Georgian city had on her life and writing. There is a delightful Giftshop on the ground floor, which sells unique items bespoke to the Jane Austen Centre, and a delicious Regency Tea Room on the 2nd floor, which offers 17 varieties of leafed tea to go with our locally baked cakes. The Centre organises an annual Jane Austen Festival as well as walking tours of the city with an Austen theme. Costumed Guides will take you through the exhibition and be on hand to satisfy your quest for knowledge of all things Austen. You will get to taste some period-recipe food, dress up in Regency costume, and have your photo take with the world famous Jane Austen waxwork.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Reviewed October 23, 2012

A short visit that I thought was somewhat over priced at £7.45 each. A talk followed by a small exhibition and a gift shop. In my opinion it is all about money making. Suppose ardent Austen fans would enjoy this more than a casual visitor.

Thank Heather L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eleanor W, Manager at The Jane Austen Centre, responded to this reviewResponded November 7, 2012

Dear Heather L,
Thank you for your feedback about your visit. We are sorry to hear that you were somewhat disappointed and did not feel it represented good value for money. Our well-informed and enthusiastic guides aim to provide visitors with an accessible overview of Jane Austen’s background and valuable context for the exhibition. Our guides do welcome questions and relish the opportunity of sharing more about Jane Austen. We are always striving to improve our exhibition, and will take your comments on board.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,265 - 1,269 of 1,793 reviews

Reviewed October 22, 2012

Myself and my partner visited bath for a weekend, the main reason for choosing to stay in bath was, as a huge Jane Austin fan I was desperate to visit the centre. What a disappointment! With boring exhibitions that had no thought put into them at all, we had finished looking round within 25 minutes. We did however go on a walking tour of bath based on Jane's time in bath (which I think was organised by staff from the Jane Austin Centre, although you get your tickets from tourist information) which was excellent, very interesting and informative, I would urge all Jane Austin fans to do this rather than visit the centre, it's much better value for money, much more interesting and you will learn much more than you would from the centre.

2  Thank Shrek1983
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eleanor W, Manager at The Jane Austen Centre, responded to this reviewResponded November 7, 2012

Dear Shrek1983,
Thank you for your comments about the Jane Austen centre. We’re so glad you found your Jane Austen Walking Tour enjoyable. They are indeed run by us. We are sorry to hear that you were a little disappointed with your Centre visit, and did not feel it represented good value for money. Our well-informed and enthusiastic guides aim to provide visitors with an accessible overview of her background and valuable context for the exhibition. We are, however, always looking for ways to improve our exhibition, and will be sure to take your comments on board.

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Reviewed October 22, 2012

As with many educational opportunities, you get out more out of it if you ask questions and have a desire to discover and learn. The Jane Austen Center was more informative and less of a tourist trap than I'd expected. I went with my daughter, who is a big Jane Austen aficianado. A young woman, Sophie, gave an introductory talk and was very knowledgable. Afterwards, she answered all questions asked of her. The museum was compact, but informative, and a short movie was available to watch along the way. Moira, in the gift shop, was courteous and helpful, even though we were there at the very end of the day. We did have tea in The Regency Tea Room, which was much less pricey than many alternatives in Bath. We enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Thank tenniscat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eleanor W, Manager at The Jane Austen Centre, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2012

Dear tenniscat,
Thank you for your feedback. We are so glad to hear how much you enjoyed your time at the Jane Austen Centre and our tea room. I will be sure to pass your positive comments on to our guides Sophie and Moira too.

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Reviewed October 21, 2012

I would like to warn Jane Austen fans and innocent visitors to Bath against wasting their time and money at this so-called museum, which is nothing more than a cynical money-making scam, and frankly deserves to be closed down. I have asked the England Tourist Board to consider conducting an investigation into this establishment, whose behaviour borders on criminality, and brings shame to the city of Bath and England as a tourist destination in general. What would Jane Austen, with her fierce sense of right and wrong make of 'her' visitors centre? I am sure she would be furious!

Jane Austen hated Bath, and if you throw away your money at this museum you are likely to end up agreeing with her. The building itself has nothing whatsoever to do with Jane Austen, merely being situated on a street where she lived for a short while. And apart from a letter that we are told was written by Jane's sister, none of the exhibits are original or of any remote interest to the public - you could quite easily buy most of them in your local charity shop (which is perhaps where they were sourced). The 'exhibition' itself is an embarrassing shambles that looks as though it was planned and executed by a group of primary school children. And the staff are uniformly unpleasant.

The whole exercise is based on getting as many people through the exhibition and then back into the gift shop and tea rooms in as little possible time, and with the maximum profit for the proprietors. The routine was as follows. Upon entering the building we were first of all fleeced for a £7.50 entry fee and then herded upstairs to a 'waiting room' (decorated with a few photographs from the BBC production of Persuasion). When the 'guide' (complete in an 18th century costume that looked as though it had been borrowed from one of the shepherds at a school nativity play) appeared we were then made to sit down in a dull little exhibit-free room where we were given (like it or not) a rather shallow ten-minute talk about Austen's brothers and sisters. The talk told us no more about the subject than we could have looked up on Wikipedia. The only decoration in the room is a notice ordering parents to take their children out of the room if they start to 'get restless.' When the talk was over we were then ordered downstairs to the basement of the building where the 'exhibits' are. At this point my wife and I were told off by a dreadful middle-aged woman - yes, you in the pink dress my dear - (a 21st century Lady Catherine de Bourgh, perhaps) for loitering in the lecture room, thereby delaying the entry of the next group of visitors and disrupting the money-making schedule. Feeling thoroughly scolded, we made our way down to the dungeon-like exhibits room, which is worth describing in detail for its amateurishness and banality.

You enter the room through a little passage that is for some reason draped with tacky black satin sheets (perhaps this saves money on actually painting the walls), on which there are a few vaguely 18th century pictures (George III, a copy of the Jane Austen portrait that everyone knows) all of which you could find in your local Oxfam. This is followed by a collection of poorly made and in no way genuine pieces of Georgian costume, padded out with a few cheap props (some plastic fans that looked as though they had been recycled from old protractors, a desk festooned with 'playing cards' - not actual playing cards, but photocopies of playing cards cut out roughly to playing card size!) and a handful of display panels with a few lines of utterly uninformative text. At the end of these exhibits is a little cinema corner where you can sit and watch a 15-minute film, but don't bother, as it is only an advertisement for their tea shop and footage of a bunch of nonentities dancing at some ball in Bath. The next part of the exhibition is an opportunity for the lady visitors to dress up in 18th century costume, should they wish to fight over a couple of very tatty and badly made dresses that an extra in a crowd scene would be embarrassed to wear. If you can spot it, somewhere on the wall beyond this is a letter apparently written by Cassandra Austin, but in the final tiny room there is a letter from somebody much more important, in a much nicer frame and displayed in a much more prominent position. Yes, you guessed it - a letter from Emma Thompson! The exhibition is now over. It takes about three minutes to go round, and when you go through the exit you find yourself back in the gift shop, ready to part with some more money before popping up to the tea room to part with even more money. But don't worry, they will serve you 'real leaf tea'. Real leaf tea, in England! Is there no end to their generosity.

In the end, however, this is no laughing matter. It is is nothing short of a disgrace that the people who run this dive should be allowed to get away with charging so much money for so little. When you consider the hours of pleasure you can spend, often free of charge, at the many wonderful museums in this country the sheer cheek of this place is quite extraordinary. It wouldn't be worth going to even if it was free. It offers nothing to Jane Austen's legacy or the body of knowledge about her, and is an insult to her memory; it ruined our day in Bath, to such an extent that I really don't think I ever want to visit the city again. Wherever you decide to go in Bath - do not go here.

10  Thank Jeremy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eleanor W, Manager at The Jane Austen Centre, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2012

Dear Jeremy R,
The Jane Austen Centre, rather than a museum, is an interpretive centre aiming to give visitors a feel of what Regency Bath was like and an honest impression of Jane’s differing views of the city. Our well-informed and enthusiastic guides aim to provide visitors with an accessible overview of her background and valuable context for the exhibition. Our guides do welcome questions and relish the opportunity of sharing more about Jane Austen. We are sorry that the Centre did not meet your expectations on this occasion.

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Reviewed October 20, 2012

We named our daughter after Jane Austen so when we saw the house, we rushed the opportunity.
Introductory talk on Jane Austen - okay but go to Wikipedia and read about it for free.
the house - nondescript
Jane's connection with the house - nonexistent
the personal artefacts/memoirs etc of Jane Austen- totally missing- at least I can't remember any.
Felt so ripped off, I didn't try the tea rooms which seemed overpriced anyway on the piece of paper we were handed when the staff tried to up/onsell us as we walked out of the house..

3  Thank olderfolks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bathbluesman, Manager at The Jane Austen Centre, responded to this reviewResponded October 22, 2012

Dear olderfolks,
Thank you for your feedback about the Jane Austen Centre. We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed. Only three properties Austen stayed in in Bath survive, and they are privately owned. The Jane Austen Centre is the only place that celebrates the time Jane spent in city and the influence it had on her work. We are located up the road from one of these properties, in a building with identical layout. Our grade II listed Georgian townhouse is over 200 years old; this does unfortunately have some limitations.
Our well-informed and enthusiastic guides aim to give visitors with varying degrees of knowledge about Austen an accessible overview her background and valuable context for the exhibition. Our guides do welcome questions and relish the opportunity of sharing more about Jane Austen. While we do have some items from the period, very few of Jane Austen’s belongings survive. We are, however, always striving to improve our exhibition and will take your comments on board.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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