Many tourists are likely drawn to Bath to walk the streets that Jane Austen once did. Though she lived there only a short time Austen and Bath are inextricably linked so I found it quite amusing to learn that she was not a huge fan. She is also quoted as once saying ‘…Bath is pleasant enough, but beyond that, it is the most tiresome place in the world.’
I was not drawn to make a literary pilgrimage but to visit the Roman Bath. I was in Bristol visiting my cousin for the weekend who has been insisting we go since I moved here. We finally ventured via bus to Bath from Bristol and had a great day out.
I tend to avoid hop on hop off bus tours but decided to give one a go for our trip. It was a good option to get a lot of random facts about the city and its history but I’m unlikely to use them in future although now that I’ve been in London for this long I’d like to do one there.
The bus took a loop around the city showcasing points of interest, attractions and shops. We started our journey then decided to stop at the Roman Bath to ensure we had enough time to see everything. It was by far the highlight of the trip.
This attraction is well laid out in that it ushers visitors through one straight path allowing you to see everything and avoiding creating one congested area. The stunning view of the open bath with the other buildings in the back drop on the street is one that the Romans never experienced.
There once was a roof and the bath still has a working pump which provides energy for the bath today and the entire centre. At the end you can taste some of this water, I admit it wasn’t pleasant. Inside the bath houses a museum which tells visitors more about the settlement that was Aquae Sulis.
After learning about the Romans and the community they had we grabbed some lunch and ate in the nearby Parade Gardens. There is a small entrance fee but it was pretty, clean and pristine and very much worth the £1.
Following our lunch by the water we walked back to the starting point of the hop on off bus route which starts at the Abbey. Stunning as Bath Abbey was we skipped a visit, but if you want to go entrance is by £2.50 donation for adults.
We jumped back on the bus to bring us to the other parts of the city that we missed. This was also where we found out about the honey golden colour of the entire city which is known as bath stone.
From wiki: ‘Bath Stone is an oolitic limestone comprising granular fragments of calcium carbonate. Originally obtained from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mines under Combe Down, Somerset, its warm, honey colouring gives the World Heritage City of Bath, England its distinctive appearance.’
We were also shown new buildings which emulate the colour and style of the older buildings giving the city one cohesive look. This was interesting to see since London is such a mish mash of buildings. I know many people love the Shard but I can’t stand the thing (though I am slowly warming to it) and it looks out of place.
The Royal Crescent was another set of buildings that were a point of interest on the route. Thirty luxury terrace houses in the shape of a crescent moon built between 1767 and 1774. Nearby is a set of buildings built in a full circle called The Circus.
With the sun shining the golden coloured city was at its best. Of all the cities I’ve visited in England so far this is by far the prettiest. Although it is a bit expensive so do keep that in mind. Below was some of the few pops of colour building wise and was a welcomed break to all the bath stone.
I highly recommend a day trip here, for a compact city there is much to see. You could also combine a visit here with a trip to Bristol like I did but would have to extend it for the weekend. There is nothing tiresome about Bath, well except for the all walking you will do.