The Assembly Rooms may be something to marvel at in themselves, but it may be lesser known that this historic event space also hosts the Fashion Museum, home to holds a world-class collection of contemporary and historic dress. Originally opening as the Museum of Costume in 1963, the initial exhibition was founded by Doris Langley Moore; designer, collector, writer and scholar, who gave her famous private costume collection to the city of Bath.
It wasn’t until quite recently in 2007 that the name was eventually altered to the Fashion Museum, now owned by Bath and North East Somerset Council and managed by the Heritage Services division. Every year the exhibition space hosts a series of fashion-themed events, workshops and talks for all ages, welcoming thousands of visitors through its doors; a mixture of tourists, specialists, students and locals.
On visiting the museum you’ll encounter everything from historic period gowns to the front-line of designer fashion, with over 160 manikins recording the story of fashionable attire over the last 400 years. Not only will you gain an education, but you can also enjoy some interactive fun with friends and family as well, with a designated wardrobe full of frivolous designs that you can try for yourself.
After all that you may find yourself ready for refreshments, in which case you can also visit The Assembly Rooms Café and Garden for a warming morning coffee, or light lunch in historic surrounds. The informal self-service menu offers handmade cakes and freshly prepared sandwiches, alongside an array local ales and ciders, with all tea and coffee Fairtrade or ethically sourced. There is also a shop with a wide range of gifts and accessories, ideal for a souvenir.
Note: if purchasing a ticket for the Fashion Museum, you will also gain free entry into the adjoining Assembly Rooms and Cafe.