A visit to Bath is like a journey back in time to the elegance of the Georgian period. This World Heritage Site is set in the picturesque countryside and is one of England’s most beautiful destinations.
Bath owes its importance to its hot springs which is quite unique in Britain. The Romans built a magnificent temple and bathing complex which still flows with natural hot water today. The complex deteriorated over time and it was not until the 18th century that the city was rejuvenated again. A beautiful Georgian city grew from Bath’s ancient roots and it was Richard ‘Beau’ Nash who played an important part in transforming the Bath into a fashionable centre of Georgian society. This was the period of England’s industrial revolution and there was a fair amount of wealth about. Beau Nash organized endless series of balls, games and entertainment to draw the rich and idle to the city.
Bath is a magnificent city and its key attractions like its world-famous hot springs, Roman Baths, splendid Abbey and Georgian stone crescents have attracted visitors for centuries. The best way to explore this interesting Georgian city is on foot. The city centre is free of traffic and the place is full of museums, shops and cafes.
The Famous Bath Bun
On the subject of cafes, don’t forget to make time to stop by Sally Lunn’s, a world famous tea and dining house and home of the original Bath Bun. Sally Lunn’s is the oldest house in Bath and here you can learn all about Sally Lunn, a young French refugee who arrived in England over 300 years ago. The brioche-like light and delicate bun which she baked became so famous during the time of Georgian England and up to this day there are copies of this bun all over the world. But the proprietors of Sally Lunn claim that no one has come close to their Bath Buns and the recipe is a trademark secret. Sally Lunn is in North Parade Passage, just opposite from the tourist office. They are open for morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
Bath’s Many Attractions
Most people will start their visit at the Roman Bath, but Bath’s other attractions are definitely worth seeing as well. If you have not been here before, then a good way to get an overview of the city is to do a complete circuit on a Hop-on Hop-off tour of Bath, before exploring individual places of interest in more detail.
We started our walk at the Pulteney Bridge. This bridge was designed by Robert Adams and was built in the 1700s. It is lined with shops, but tragically for us, they were not open during our time there.
From Pulteney Bridge, we headed south, down Grand Parade and then North Parade Passage, past Sally Lunn’s House, then up back up north past the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, at the centre of the old city. This beautiful abbey was believed to have been designed through divine intervention. Legend has it that God dictated the design of the church to Bishop Oliver King in a dream. The Bishop then went about re-designing a church that had been built in the 8th century – mme.
We got on to Barton Street and heading up north it meets up with Gay Street, at the end of which is The Circus. The Circus was unusual during the time as it departs from the usual Georgian square. Turning left into Brock Street, you’ll see the magnificent Royal Crescent. This is the most majestic street in Britain and on this arc are 30 houses built between 1767-74 by John Wood Jnr. Bath owes its elegant building designs to the brilliance of two architects, John Woods, elder and younger.
As you walk around the area, look at the plaques on the buildings as these may sometimes tell you which famous resident used to live in the house. No. 1 Royal Crescent is a museum and it is believed that the Duke of York probably lived there once. House no. 17 was once the home of Thomas Gainsborough, a famous 18th century painter. There is beautiful garden in front of the arc for the private use of the residents only.
Bath is absolutely worth visiting and if I were to live in England, this is the kind of place I’d love to live in.