Monday, August 03, 2015

My Stay in 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen's Former home, Bath

(Ignore the blonde wig - it is a long story!)
Early this month, July 13th-15th to be precise, I had a delightful sojourn in the city of Bath, and thanks to 'Bath Boutique Stays', I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at 4 Sydney Place, in the very house where Jane Austen lived with her family from 1801-1804!  I had such a lovely time, and I can't deny it felt pretty special to be actually spending time in a house where Jane herself had lived, to be walking in the very same rooms that she did, and to be gazing out of the window at a view that she would have recognised. 


The view from the top floor
 






 

And even better, I am pleased to say that anyone can share my experience, as the house is now available to visitors! 

 


The entrance hall



'Bath Boutique Stays' acquired the property when it went up for sale 3 years ago, in order to give Austen fans the opportunity to stay here, and to avoid it falling into the hands of investors who may not know their Austen from their Brontë! So the new owners have turned 4 Sydney Place into four holiday suites:- Emma's Garden Apartment on the ground floor, Cassandra's 1st Floor Apartment, Mr Darcy's 2nd Floor Apartment and the Penthouse at the top.






The garden




I stayed in Emma's Apartment which has the added bonus of access to the garden (although the typically English summer weather (wet!) wasn't quite good enough for me to make the most of that!).






The bedroom

 It is a fine suite of rooms, and what struck me straight away is the size of it! Georgian townhouses in Bath really are deceptively spacious, with such high ceilings!   The bedroom (formerly Mr Austen's library and study) has two large, comfy, single beds (although an extra double sofa-bed can be provided I believe),






The living room




and this leads into a vast, light and airy sitting room with two huge Chesterfield sofas and a long wooden dining table by the picture windows.










The kitchen
The showeroom


The accommodation is completed at the back with a compact, well-equipped kitchen and a shower room.

 




With the lovey Lucy Bennett



First impressions were very pleasing; everything was clean, tidy and uncluttered, and there was a local, organic candle burning away in the front room, which was a nice touch. I felt very welcomed by the lovely Lucy Bennett, (yes, that is her real name!), who showed me around the apartment and told me about the house, its history and how it would have been in Jane's time. She really knew her stuff, which impressed me!








The rather disappointing safe!





She explained that Emma's apartment contained the room which had been Jane's father's study and she showed me an old, secret safe which had been discovered during the refurbishments. Unfortunately, their hopes of finding a new, unpublished Jane Austen manuscript were dashed when they  opened it - to reveal it contained a single monkey nut! 

 




 

Cassandra's apartment
Lucy also showed me the Penthouse and Cassandra's Apartment, between visitors, and they both looked lovely too. Unfortunately Darcy's Apartment was occupied, but hopefully I will be returning before too long and would like to book a stay in there next time, particularly as it is this apartment that contains Jane and her sister Cassandra's actual bedroom. Lucy and other members of the team are extremely welcoming and knowledgeable, and they are always on hand to answer queries, offer advice and sort out any potential problems, which is a real bonus! 

 

Facilities throughout the property are excellent. There's a good information booklet explaining the ins and outs of the property, and recommending things to do and places to eat nearby. The kitchen offers a supply of charming 'Jane Austen blend' teabags, quality coffee, chilled milk and of course is well-equipped with crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, oven, microwave, fridge, freezer etc. and even a maid to wash the dishes for you - well, the modern equivalent, I should say, a very welcome dishwasher; no one wants to wash up when on holiday! There is a discreet (19th century?) television and free wifi in the property, as well as plenty of cosy towels and luxury bath products too! Just outside the apartment in the entrance hall is a bookshelf stocked with JAFF books for you to borrow, more helpful information leaflets on Bath and, which I rather enjoyed, an extra large bowl of very tasty sweets - pear drops! 

 

The Holburne Museum
During our stay, we visited the local recommended deli for a very delicious English breakfast. We also tried the local pub in the evening - literally less than a 2 minute walk round the corner! - which is very friendly and welcoming, and offers some well-cooked, traditional pub favourites.   Just across the road from 4 Sydney Place is the Holburne Museum, which has a great cafĂ© and some interesting exhibitions - apparently, Jane used to take breakfast there sometimes too!  Sydney Gardens and Henrietta Park are very close, which offer a quiet, leafy afternoon stroll with your parasol, (even in the rain!). 

 

4 Sydney Place
4 Sydney Place is in such a good location!  You are on the edge of central Bath: just a 7 minute level walk up Great Pultney Street and you are in the very heart of the city. It is ideal if you don't have a car, however, if you do come by car, Bath Boutique Stays have parking permits available to rent and will help you find a suitable place to park nearby, but chances are you won't need to drive anywhere, as the city is all within easy reach by foot.  Sydney Place is on a road that gets quite busy at peak times, but noise didn't seem to be an issue - and for the evening, the windows have shutters to put across which block out any potential road noise. 

 

One thing I found very amusing was the number of photos I possibly 'bombed'! I felt like royalty! With Emma's apartment being on the ground floor, the living room looks right on to the pavement and frequently, passers-by would stop and take a photo of the house, the front door, and the historic plaque saying "Jane Austen lived here, 1801 - 1805". (Spot the mistake there! It was actually until 1804! I wonder who organised the plaque? It's quite old).





As well as pedestrians, every 30 minutes a tourist bus or coach would drive past and I could see all the heads turn towards me at once, presumably when the tour guide announced that they were passing Jane Austen's house and pointed it out!  I really felt like waving regally to everyone - well, actually, what I really wanted to do was to dress up in costume and stand near the window - to give people an extra  Regency experience or just a bit of a shock! I didn't find it an intrusion at all, however, I just thought it was rather good fun! 

 


 

Overall, I had a very enjoyable time with Bath Boutique Stays and can thoroughly recommend them to you for your next visit to Bath! And if you mention my blog, you will receive a complimentary bottle of Prosecco for your stay!  This small independent company also manage other holiday properties in Bath, but if you're like me, it is probably Jane's house that would most appeal. I'm already planning my own next stay at 4 Sydney Place




Check out availability here!


 



 
 

Your affectionate friend,
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47 comments:

  1. What a beautiful place, and what an experience! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. This sounds simply lovely! Did it feel strange, though, that there were modern conveniences (ie: Wifi, dishwasher) in the former home of Jane Austen?

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) Yes, it did feel rather strange!

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  3. I am soooo going there next time I go to Bath! Delightful and charming place! Thanks for the recommendation!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) Yes you must go!

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  4. I absolutely loved every minute of our visit with you at 4 Sydney Place, a meal at the pub, our time in Sydney Gardens (that is where we were, right?) and it was amazing to be where Jane walked. Thanks so much for inviting me! I need to come back and book my own room--I'm with you; Mr. Darcy's suite is a must.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I loved meeting you as well, and yes it was Sydney Gardens! it was a wonderful day!!

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  5. That looks gorgeous! We stayed somewhere in Sydney Place on our visit last year and enjoyed it but we'd have definitely stayed at Number 4 if it had been open then. It would be fantastic to stay in the house that Jane actually lived in. I will definitely be talking to my husband about another visit soon and telling the Occasional Austen Days group about this place. Thanks for the recommendation, Sophie :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) Yes you must stay there! :)

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  6. Wonderful review, Sophie, but then I expected no less from you. It does look a lovely place! I hope to stay there one day myself. I had been following its renovation and opening so was thrilled when I heard you were going to be staying and writing a review.

    Thanks so much for sharing your visit with us. I now want to go visit and stay in one of the rooms more than ever! The feeling of knowing that Jane lived there would have to be an awesome experience. Glad to hear you recommend it so highly!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I hope you stay there one day as well. It is a wonderful experience!

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  7. Ahh it just looks perfect! To be in the same room as Jane sounds unreal... you are so lucky! It seems to be such a wonderfull place!

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  8. What a lovely review, Sophie. Not only would I love to visit Bath to walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen, I now want to follow your footsteps to 4 Sydney Place as well. I do believe the Darcy room would also be my most desired. Well done, Sophie (and Bath Boutique Stays).

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) It was an amazing experience!

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  9. Fantastic blog Sophie. Thank you so much for coming to stay with us here at 4 Sydney Place, we look forward to seeing you again here soon and any other Janeites who come to stay at Jane's former home.

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    1. I had such a wonderful time and I can't wait to return!

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  10. Ha ha ha--you totally should have dressed up and waved to the tourists. "OMG IT'S JANE'S GHOST!"

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  11. I absolutely loved this! I wish I could go so bad. One day hopefully I will. How exciting it must have been when those people discovered that safe. Even if there wasn't much in it. I look forward to when you can stay in the Mr. Darcy room. Thanks so much for sharing all of this with us.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I hope you get there too!

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  12. I enjoyed reading about 4 Sydney Place immensely in this post, Sophie. I also enjoyed the wonderful photographs you took to accompany the post. What a lovely place this would be to stay should one ever find oneself in Bath!

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  13. You are so lucky to have stayed here Sophie and the apartments look beautifully appointed. To be able to walk in the footsteps of Jane herself and actually stay in the house must have been one of the ultimate pleasures. I am so jealous! You have set the scene so beautifully, it is the closest to actually being there! Thank you.I must stay myself sometime!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I hope you get there before too long!

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  14. Oh Sophie, what a wonderful write up! Your photos and wonderful descriptions of the beautiful Bath Boutique Stays is quite the advertisement. The building and rooms are beautiful, cozy, and are filled with Regency Era charm. What a magical experience that must have been for you! Knowing that one would literally be walking in Jane Austen's footsteps and seeing the places and scenes that she did, is indeed a magical thought! Thank you for bringing your experiences to life right before my very eyes! You already know that I wish with all my heart to one day travel there and experience these things for myself. Now I have a wonderful travelogue created by you, and know that you will continue to create for me, and countless others, a plan for our own Austen experiences and adventures! I'm so grateful for you and for your Laughing With Lizzie Facebook page. I always learn and experience so much visiting your page that this little gal here from the Pacific Northwest of the USA would never have the opportunity to do otherwise. Many, many thanks!!! Donna Huff

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I really, hope you get there sometime! it was an wonderful experience!

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  15. Great Blog post, Sophie! Loved the photo bomb story!

    I agree totally, Bath Boutique Stays does a fantastic job of looking after Jane Austen's former home!

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  16. hank you so much for sharing the information on 4 Sydney Place. When I finally make it to England again, in about 7 years, I plan to stay there, where Jane lived.

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  17. Thank you so much I went to a place with you I would not be able to go myself. God bless

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  19. Sophie, what a lovely review of a most wonderful place ! I will certainly try it on my first visit to England. You must be my guide ! :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) I will certainly be your guide!

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  20. Wow what a great time you had and a gorgeous place!!! :D definitely putting on my "places to go" list! :)

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  21. Okay, I seriously need to go to Bath and try that place!!! I can't even express how jealous I am right now ;) It's simply gorgeous and it must have been such an amazing experience! Thank you so much for letting us all know :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) It was wonderful! you must go!

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  22. What a delightful post to come home to!!! Thanks, Sophie! You must have had such a wonderful time. Isn't it fantastic that we could actually sleep under the same roof as Jane? The apartment sounds exquisite and can't wait to see for myself what it's like, one day. I loved the bit where you said you would have liked to wave regally at the passers by, or better still, stand in the window in full costume and give people a shock :D I think they would have been over the moon to see a real-life Regency lady in Jane Austen's former home. Glad you enjoyed your trip and hope you'll go back there soon.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! :) It was tempting - maybe next time I will!

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  23. A great post and pictures Sophie! How great to be able to stay in Jane Austen's former home. The apartments all look lovely, but I agree staying in Darcy's apartment would be like the icing on the cake!

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  24. I know I'm a bit behind the times with this comment. Just been doing a bit of clearing out in my inbox and realised I hadn't popped in to read your review Sophie. Having read this, and seen all the fun you had recently in Bath, staying there again, I'm somewhat (make that a lot) envious of you.

    It's been many years since I was in Bath and nearly went to University there in the 1970s. Sadly, I didn't like the course on offer there and ended up in Yorkshire instead, meeting my future husband there. I loved the look of the city itself though and have often wished to go back. It's a bit of a trek from Yorkshire though!

    Your review is just lovely and the photos really enhance it.

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"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible", therefore, I would dearly love for you to comment and let me know what you think!

Thank you for stopping by at Laughing With Lizzie and I hope you will take the time to visit again before too long!