Enjoy Britain’s only natural thermal waters as the Celts and Romans did over 2000 years ago. Thermae Bath Spa is a day spa where you can bathe in the warm, natural mineral-rich waters and choose from a range of spa treatments designed to ease the body and soothe the mind.
As well as the world-famous Roman Baths, there is a fascinating and diverse range of museums and specialist collections. Everything from Penny Black postage stamps through to rare oriental ceramics, the kitchen where Sally Lunn first created her delicious Bath bun to the basement where astronomer William Herschel stored the horse dung he used in making the moulds for his telescope lenses.
Ever since Bath got itself caught up in the whirl of social gaiety, folk have flocked here to drink more than just the water. Now, in the 21st century, the city stands as an established reveller’s playground, with pubs and bars to cater for every type of thirst.
It’s not just the architecture of Bath that turns heads – our many parks and gardens are filled with beautiful trees and shrubs as well as some quite dazzling floral displays, and provide a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the high street. A quick rundown of the city’s main parks proves that there’s more to life than just swings and roundabouts.
It is well known that the range and concentration of shops in Bath make it a paradise for anyone in need of a Iittle retail therapy. But not so many people know that when it comes to the treasures of yesteryear, the city is quite simply in a field of its own
If your time is limited we would recommend that following places are worth considering during your stay:
Bath Abbey stands at the heart of the city of Bath. During the past twelve and a half centuries, three different churches have occupied this site, An Anglo-Saxon Abbey Church dating from 757, pulled down soon after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Next, the massive Norman cathedral begun in about 1090 was larger than the monastery could afford to maintain and by the end of the 15th century had fallen into ruins. Finally, the present Abbey church, founded in 1499, ruined after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 by order of Henry VIII and subsequently restored. Bath Abbey is now an active parish church. In 1999 it celebrated its five hundredth anniversary.
Designed by John Wood II son of the architect of the Bath Circus, The Royal Crescent comprises of thirty houses. Like a half-Colosseum, this structure uses a gigantic order of engaged Ionic columns on high bases. The idea of blocks of town houses like this and the Circus was very influential.
Bath owes its origin and its name to the springs which produce about five hundred thousand gallons of water a day at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The fashionable spa was dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, from which the city took its Roman name, Aquae Sulis.
Although the Roman Empire disintegrated in the 5th century, the Bath waters maintained their reputation for healing throughout the Middle Ages and the baths were still in use during the Renaissance. However by the middle of the 18th century, Bath enjoyed a rebirth as a fashionable resort, with Richard “Beau” Nash as arbiter of Bath society. In the morning visitors met in the Pump Room to drink the requisite three glasses of water and to socialize to the sound of music; later, below the Pump Room, they waded in the King’s Bath (see below).
For centuries Bath has been a centre of fashion, attracting visitors to its spa and social diversions. The Assembly Rooms is one of Bath’s finest Georgian buildings and is still central to the city’s social life. Very appropriately it also houses the Fashion Museum, formerly Museum of Costume, and its internationally renowned collection of fashionable dress.
The Jane Austen Centre is a new permanent exhibition which tells the story of Jane’s Bath experience – the effect that living here had on her and her writing. Jane Austen is perhaps the best known and best loved of Bath’s many famous residents and visitors. She paid two long visits here towards the end of the eighteenth century, and from 1801 to 1806 Bath was her home.
Opened in 1992 by the Bath Preservation Trust, the Building of Bath Museum was designed to celebrate the development of Bath’s 18th century architectural legacy, through exhibitions, original research, publications, and through educational activities. Well worth a visit.
Built in 1482 this is the oldest house in Bath. Baker Sally Lunn lived here in 1680 and buns are still baked and served baring her name. Excavations in the Cellar Museum show remains of Roman, Saxon and Medieval buildings, together with an ancient kitchen. Excellent for morning or afternoon tea with one of those famous Sally Lunn Buns.
The Star Inn is one of the cities oldest Hostelries and was first licensed as a public house in 1760 when the entrance was in Guinea Lane. Set amongst the splendour of Bath’ world famous architecture the pub provides a welcome escape from the bustle of city life.
The Heritage Vaults Museum occupies cellars which belonged to houses that once stood alongside the Abbey. These houses were pulled down in 1833 and the cellars were abandoned until opened up as the Abbey’s museum in 1994. Bath Archaeological Trust excavated the whole floor area before the museum opened. A graveyard was found as well as traces of the Norman cathedral and its cloister walk dating from he 12th century.
Buy a ticket and hop on and off the bus for the next 24 hours. Each bus has its own guide well versed in the history and background of Bath. A highly recommended trip that will provide you with a background of Bath before you start exploring in depth.