Bath, England is an interesting little town a little over 100 miles west of London. It was first inhabited by the Romans, who considered the thermal springs there to have healing powers. The Romans called it “Aquae Sulis”. In the 18th century, the town gained popularity as a fashionable spa and social center for the wealthier citizens of London. The town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some of the more famous residents of Bath include the novelists Jane Austen and Mary Shelley. Ms. Austin used the city as the setting for two of her novels – “Northanger Alley” and “Persuasion”. Mary Shelley wrote part of her Frankenstein novel in Bath.
Points of Interest in Bath
The Roman Baths
The thermal springs that feed the Roman Baths and other spas in Bath were first discovered around 860 BCE. The temple that surreounds this site was built around 60 AD, by the Romans in honor of Sulis Minerva. Sulis Minerva was actually a combination of both Roman and Celtic culture. Sulis was the Celtic goddess of healing, and Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom.
The origins of the Abbey date back to 675 AD when it was an Anglo-Saxon Monastery. The original monastery was destroyed by the sons of William the Conqueror on the 11th century. The current structure was started in 1499. It fell into disrepair when King Henry VIII ordered that Catholic Monasteries and Convents were to be closed in 1539. Queen Elizabeth permitted the restoration of the Abbey in 1573. The church still operates today.
The Pulteney Bridge in Bath was built in 1774, and it spans the River Avon, which connects Bath with Stratford-Upon-Avon. The bridge is unique in that the top of the bridge contains shops. This design has only four bridges in the world, including the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and bridges in Venice and Erfurt, Germany.
The Royal Crescent
Still a working hotel and private residences, the Royal Crescent in Bath is a really unique structure. It was built in the late 1700’s. The front lawn was constructed in a way to keep livestock from grazing too close to the building. The building stretches over 500 feet from one end to the other.
In the 1970’s, one of the residents in unit #22 caused quite a stir when she repainted her front door yellow, instead of the traditional white used on all of the other doors. Miss Wellesly-Colley had to get a special ruling from the Bath City Council, and to this day, it is the only door in the building that is not the traditional white color.
Prior Park Landscape Garden
Just outside the city of Bath is the Prior Park Landscape Garden. The park was developed in the 18th Century, the park now contains 28 acres. It is open daily, but there is a fee to visit the park. One of the unique features of the park is the Palladian-style bridge, one of only 4 in the world.
Getting to Bath, England
Several ways are available to get to Bath. Perhaps the most common is to take a day tour out of London, which is what we did. The tours generally leave Victoria Station and will last 10-12 hours. They are usually combined with a stop at Stonehenge or Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Another way to get there is to take a train from London. These generally take 1.5 – 2.0 hours.
Staying in Bath
Yet another option is to stay in Bath. There are several very nice hotels in Bath, some of which have their own thermal baths.
Ready to Go?
Contact me to talk about plans for visiting this historic part of England.