There’s no denying that here in South Wales we have devoured the wealth of new, and classic content on Netflix. In many ways they have been one of the entertainment saviours of lockdown.

We’ve all explored the diversity on the channel, from the Spanish series Money Heist and The Queen’s Gambit, to documentaries like Tiger King. But our big Christmas present from the channel last year, and the series which is still watched by many, is BRIDGERTON.

And as the JANE AUSTEN FESTIVAL is on right now in the City of Bath, we thought this would be a great opportunity to explore both.

The 20th annual Jane Austen Festival in Bath and runs through to the 19th September. In trying to describe the festival, it’s pretty simple really, it’s ten wonderful days of celebrating all things Austen in the beautiful city of Bath.

Things this year however, are slightly different. Currently events are being sold with social distancing in place, and all appropriate government guidelines will be followed.

The programme itself is enormous, as you can see below. If you’d like to download a PDF to save to your device, you can do so HERE.

 Friday 10th September 2021
4pm        – Theatre in Jane Austen’s time – talk
6pm        –  Pre-Festival Get together
 Saturday 11th September 2021
9am          – A very private public breakfast – food
9.15am    – In pursuit of Jane Austen – trip to Hants
11am       – Grand Regency Costumed Promenade
11.30am – Festival Fayre – in the Guildhall
12 noon  – Pride & Prejudice – short theatrical
1.30pm   – Austen Undone! – comedy walk
4pm          – Rummaging through the reticule – talk
4.30pm   – Absolute beginners pre-ball workshop
8pm          – The Festival Country Dance Ball
 Sunday 12th September 2021
9.15am   – Jane Austen’s Bath – driven tour
10am        – A very private public breakfast – food
10am       – Tour of Beckford’s Tower
11am        – Jane Austen and Bath – walking tour
1.15pm    – to Meryton & Highbury – driven tour
1.30pm    – Austen Undone! – comedy walk
4pm          – Rummaging through the reticule – talk
7pm          – Austen & the Art of Social Distancing
8.45pm     – Ghost walk of Bath – walking tour
 Monday 13th September 2021
9.15am    – In pursuit of Jane Austen – tour to Hants
10am        – Gambling – walking tour
10.30am  – As danced on TV – dance workshop 1
10.30am   – Space & place in P&P – Dr Amy Frost
1.30pm    – As danced on TV – dance workshop 2
4pm          – Jane Austen’s Ball – performance
8pm          – Take a dish of tea with Austen
 Tuesday 14th September 2021
9.15am    – Jane Austen’s Bath – driven tour
10am        – United at last! – walking tour
11am        – Prom to Pandemic – 20 yrs of the Festival
1.15pm    – to Meryton & Highbury – driven tour
2.30pm     – Pugs & Prejudice – with Freddie
8pm          – Princely Austen supporter becomes King!
Wednesday 15th September 2021
9.15am    – In pursuit of Jane Austen – tour to Hants
10am        – Quest for a bank balance – walking tour
12noon     – Building Austen’s Bath – walk
2.30pm     – Reading Austen post 2020
5.30pm     – Beastly Bath – walking tour
7.30pm     – Jane Austen & the Cheltonians
 Thursday 16th September 2021
9.15am   – Jane Austen’s Bath – driven tour
10am       – That noble hill – walking tour
10.30am  – Regency dance celebration – workshop
1.15pm    – to Meryton & Highbury – driven tour
2pm         – Jane Austen Embroidery – book talk
2pm         – Pre-Ball dance workshop
4pm         – Requiem for a rogue – writing talk
7pm         – Regency costumed Masked Ball
 Friday 17th September 2021
8am         – Day trip to Lyme Regis & Sidmouth
9.15am    – In pursuit of Jane Austen – tour to Hants
10.30am  – What would Jane do? – Julia Golding
12.15pm   – Anatomy of an Austen novel – talk
12.30pm – Theatre in Jane Austen’s time – talk
3.30pm   – Jane Austen writers’ panel – discussion
8pm         – Almost Austen: with Louise Geller
 Saturday 18th September 2021
9.15am   – Jane Austen’s Bath – driven tour
10am       – A very private public breakfast – food
10am       – What about the workers – walking tour
11.30am  – Offstage Austen with John Mullan
1.15pm    – to Meryton & Highbury – driven tour
2.30pm   – Listening to Miss Bates – John Mullan
8pm         – A Decent Proposal – Natural Theatre Co
Sunday 19th September 2021
10.30am  – Portico to Pigsty: Architecture – talk
12noon   – Mini-promenade from The Circus

If you’ve never been to the festival before, it is actually like stepping onto the set of a movie, or for those who have a thing for the ‘Duke’, the set of Bridgerton.

Take a look at the video of the Masked Ball from 2019 and you’ll see what we mean.

If you’d like to find out more about the festival, and perhaps make a visit over the bridge to this stunning city, just go here – JANE AUSTEN.

So why Jane Austen and Bridgerton? Well, the connection is the City of Bath itself.Those incredible backdrops and amazing homes, are all the real thing, in the City.

Her in South Wales, like the rest of the world, we were absolutely gripped by this costume drama, with a twist.

Bridgerton © Liam Daniel/Netflix

Created by Chris Van Dusen, the series is based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels and envelopes audiences in the world of Regency London high society.

Throughout the eight episodes, the likes of Julie Andrews, Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Jonathan Bailey and a truly brilliant cast, deliver gripping TV from start to finish. But the cast aren’t the only stars on the screen, it’s the breathtaking locations, and once lockdown is over, we’re certain we’ll be heading over the bridge to visit most of them.

Lonely Planet have come up trumps with their exploration of the locations, most notably, Royal Crescent – one of Bath’s most famous landmarks – which provides one of the series’ foremost locations.

If you’ve never paid it a visit it is a truly stunning piece of architecture, housing some pretty well-heeled and influential people we might add. Built between 1767 and 1775, Royal Crescent is a row of 30 terraced houses arranged in a crescent and overlooking Royal Victoria Park. Incidentally, No. 1 Royal Crescent’s exterior is used to film the Featherington family’s home, but in real life it’s actually a museum.

Royal Crescent © georgeclerk/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Modiste dress shop is actually Pickled Greens shop and café in Abbey Green. Both interior and exterior scenes were filmed there. To make it a little confusing shots of Covent Garden were actually captured in Abbey Green too.

A number of street scenes were shot on Bath Street, as well as Beauford Square, which is a square made up of cottages built in 1730. Not too far away there’s Trim Street, and one of the shop’s there was used to film.

The extravagant costumed ballroom sequences were partly filmed at the Assembly Rooms. We have been to many events there and can tell you it is the most beautiful building.

If you’d like to pay it a visit the address is Bennett St, Bath BA1 2QH.

That location was once the social highlight of Georgian Bath. Today the rooms are actually still in use for conferences and charitable events. Some of the ball scenes were filmed at the Guildhall, which boasts grand staircases and art, making it the perfect place to shoot a period piece such as Bridgerton.

Bridgerton © Liam Daniel/Netflix

So what about the beautiful city of Bath itself?

It laid its foundations in the Roman era, when the now-famous baths became a healing hangout for dignitaries of the time. Today (after lockdown), visitors flock to Bath for a relaxing weekend break that is steeped in Roman history, Georgian grandeur and culture. Another famous landmark is Bath Abbey. The medieval abbey celebrated its 500th anniversary in 1999 and is a fine example of gothic architecture.

Roman Baths © Juan Jimenez/EyeEm/Getty Images

A magnificent stained glass panel was added in the Victorian times and although this was destroyed by a bomb blast during World War II, it was meticulously recreated from the original plans. Other highlights are the fan-vaulted ceiling and a small museum with documents and objects recording the history of the abbey.

While Bath may have laid its foundations in the Roman era, many of its historical buildings sprang up under the reign of King George II. Georgian architectural highlights include the Royal Crescent, the Circus, North and South Parade, Pulteney Bridge and Queen Square, which was the first significant expansion beyond Bath’s medieval walls. At 1 Royal Crescent, you can take a tour of a three-story townhouse that is decorated as it would have been in the 18th century. King George ‘s second son, the Duke of York, once rented this home.

One of the most breath-taking monuments to the Georgian period is the Circus, a ring of 33 terraced houses that recreate the feel of the Coliseum in Rome. The Circus has 500 carvings that represent the arts and sciences of Bath. One famous tenant was painter Thomas Gainsborough, who lived at number 17 from 1765 to 1774. Gainsborough painted a number of portraits while living in Bath and you can see his work at the Victoria Art Gallery, among other artworks both antique and modern.

Other museums include the Museum of Costume, showcasing 16th century fashions to present day creations by designers such as Tom Ford, and the Holburne Museum of Art, which houses art treasures collected by Sir William Holburne.

Bath was also home to Jane Austen, who lived in the city with her parents and penned her first novel, Northanger Abbey, about local society. Her last novel, Persuasion, was also set in Bath. You can find out all about the author’s life and time in the Jane Austen Centre, located just a few doors down from the former Austen residence in Gay Street.

Once lockdown restrictions ease, Bath is well worth a visit, especially as it’s so close to us here in South Wales. If you’d like to find out more, take a look at the Tourist Board site here. BATH

We also think we’ll be doing a lot of Staycations over the next year, for some great suggestions, go here. 50 IDEAS.

Every episode of BRIDGERTON is available on Netflix now and is truly addictive.