The county of Somerset is blessed with bountiful charms but none greater than Bath; one of Europe’s most elegant and historic cities. It is blessed with beautiful architecture and Georgian streets and enjoys UNESCO World Heritage City protection, the same classification as Florence and Salzburg.
After their invasion of Britain in AD 43, the Romans soon occupied the place they called Aquae Sulis, attracted by the large natural hot spring. Vestiges of their tenure can still be found at the stunning bath and temple complex right in the center of town. From July to August the baths open late and are lit only by torchlight.
Regarded as the social heart of Bath for more than two centuries, the adjacent Pump Room is a striking, neo-classical
the salon where hot Spa water is on offer. It has a pleasant restaurant with classical music played by the Pump Room Trio or resident pianist.
The River Avon runs through town and the famous shop-lined Pulteney Bridge arches over its stream. The river and canal system are a popular attraction, offering narrowboat trips, boat hire, cycle towpaths and walking trails.
One of the oldest houses in Bath was the home of Sally Lunn, who in the 1680s began selling her now famous, rioche-type buns from her door.
The Circus – one of the most recognizable landmarks in Bath, is a perfect circle of 33 Palladian-style houses, designed in 1754 by John Wood, who died before their completion. His son designed the even more iconic, pale gold, Bath Stone houses on Royal Crescent. They were originally intended for visiting gentry. Today you can visit No. 1 Royal Crescent for a look at one of these homes. It’s like stepping back to the 18th century.
The imposing Guildhall and Banqueting Room, designed in 1776 by Thomas Baldwin, is close to Bath Abbey, in the heart of the city.
In many ways, the city might be considered as a veritable living museum. But there are several notable, individual museums.The Building of Bath Museum – housed in a striking Gothic
The Building of Bath Museum – housed in a striking Gothic chapel, dating from 1765, has exhibits detailing one hundred years of architectural innovation in Bath. It is an excellent introduction to the city.
Down the road from Pulteney Bridge lies the Holburne Museum of Art housed in a grand 18th-century Georgian building that was originally a hotel.
Beckford’s Tower, (now restored as a museum), has been a Bath landmark for more than 170 years. Perched on the summit of Lansdown Hill, on the northern outskirts of town, the tower’s belvedere offers superb, panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside but be prepared to climb 154 steps!
Three miles south of Bath is the American Museum – home to one of the finest collections of Americana outside of the USA.
Not far from Bath, attractions include Castle Combe – a perfect English village and the National Trust’s 17th-century mansion house at Dyrham Park – backdrop for many period dramas on film or TV.