Literary Travels: Exploring the bookish in Bath, England
Exploring the Bookish in Bath
Having just returned from an amazing couples weekend away in Bath, also known to the Romans as Aqua Sulis, I have been treated to some seriously unique, beautiful, and inspiring literary locations that not only stock books for sale, but that have been instrumental in the creation and understanding of some of today’s favourite classic stories. From the Roman myths and how Bath has helped us understand the ancient civilisation which worshipped deities such as Minerva and Ares, to the town which inspired the classic works of Jane Austen, Bath is both an intellectual, aesthetic, and historical treat I was not prepared for.
So, I thought in the spirit of everything still being fresh in my mind I would share some of my favourite Literary Locations in the incredible Bath, England with you!
1) Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights.
I was excited, having heard great things about Mr B’s Bookish Emporium of Reading Delights, to get to take a look for myself. This little diamond of a bookstore easily scored the number one spot on my list of favourite things I got to do this weekend.
The shop itself is fairly unimposing, in my opinion how a good bookstore remains a hidden treasure, but the selection that lies within is anything but ordinary. As well as having a non-traditional organisation system, the store treats visitors to funky displays featuring Baths and other assorted furnishing. The staff are amazingly well read, and have no trouble talking to you about their favourite reads, as well as what they are looking to read next and why. From the looks of their website, Mr B’s also has tons of cool events with authors according to their website, including but not limited to something extremely special- Something they call- A Book Spa
The website describes a Book Spa as the following-
“Tailored book recommendations (with added cake)
A Mr B's Reading Spa is the ultimate indulgent bookshop experience and the perfect gift for booklovers. Over drink and cake, you'll chat about your reading likes with one of the knowledgeable and book-obsessed Mr B's team members. Then your bibliotherapist will hand-pick a teetering stack of books and introduce you to them, before leaving you to decide which ones to take home (and remember, your Reading Spa includes a £55 book voucher!)”
How cool is that????
For more information about Mr B’s Emporium of Reading delights check out their beautiful website right here- https://mrbsemporium.com/
2) The Jane Austen Centre
One of the highlights of Bath for most Bibliophiles is the fact that its most bookish claim to fame is arguably the fact that Jane Austen both lived and centred much of her work (most notably Persuasion and Northanger Abbey) around or in Bath. The centre has a Regency Tea Room and comprehensive gift shop and is situated in an original period property.
One of my biggest regrets for my time in Bath was that I was too physically tired from dealing with my EDS to make it up the hill to see the centre itself, but the feel of Austen’s work is truly alive within the city as you will often see people walking around dressed in full Austen-Era attire, as well as the fact almost all the local bookstores have Austen exclusive sections.
For more information about The Jane Austen Centre go to- https://www.janeausten.co.uk/
3) George Bayntun
Are beautiful bindings and rare, antique volumes more your thing? Discover the Book-Shop Bindery that dates back to 1829, and all the gorgeous hardback treasures within its walls. The bindery also restores books for clients all over the world and is worth the visit for the shop’s interior feel alone.
The shop regularly hosts exhibitions of rare bindings, as well as being home to some truly unique volumes, so make sure to check them out- or learn more on their website- http://www.georgebayntun.com/
4) The Roman Baths
It’s no secret that many bookworms are ancient history buffs, so it’s a no brainer that when in Bath, you actually go to you know… The Roman Baths. The Baths themselves, as well as the attached Pump Rooms are featured in tons of Georgian Literature, among which is a personal favourite of mine- Evelina by Frances Burney.
The Goddess Minerva is represented by owls- another bookworm favourite- and the museum attached to the baths gives you tons of back information about the deity and the way in which Roman citizens lived their lives around the stories in which they featured. The entire Bath museum does a fabulous job telling the story of the city, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to find a curated collection of both history and fiction Books in the attached gift shop.
To discover the ancient story of The Roman Baths- check out their website or drop in during your stay- https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/
5) Topping and Company Bestsellers of Bath
This stunning little bookstore has a whole range of bookish delights inside, but one of the most awesome things about this store is that they do Signed Paperback subscriptions for both fiction and non-fiction! They also have an awesome selection of first editions, some of which you can get signed, and the bookstore runs a podcast called Book Shop Conversations which you might want to check out if podcasts are your jam!
If you are looking for a particular book, signed, or in first edition, this store is a great place to start! Discover their selection at- https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/books/
To conclude- if you’re a booklover or professed bibliophile, Bath is a must visit for sure! The variety of bookstores, historical and cultural sights to see, and the general sleepy town atmosphere will make you feel right at home. Not to mention, the entire town is downright gorgeous! However, when there’s this many amazing bookish nooks to discover, that really is just a convenient if not appreciated perk!
I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll find your way to Bath at sometime in the future, it really is an amazing place, and all the better for its bookish wonders!