Bath

Picture of wade_view We started this trip to England with several days in Bath. While there we stayed in the Marshal Wade house which occupies the top two floors of an 18th century building directly in front of the abbey. This is the view out the window. The Marshal Wade house is a Landmark Trust property - something we had first come across in Verona, Italy about twenty years ago (yikes). Here we finally managed to actually stay in one of those properties. We quite enjoyed the experience and as long as you aren't really into perfectly flat floors and right angles, it's a fantastic location.
Picture of abbey_from_baths Another view of the abbey, this one from atop the Roman Baths. The baths - and in particular the thermal spring located under the center of Bath is the reason the town is here as well as its namesake. Since our rooms had a view of the baths we saw it at various times of the day and we can definitely report that it's worth visiting in the morning. There was generally no line for the first hour or so it was open. By mid-afternoon the line to get in stretched out of the square and down the street.
Picture of roman_bath There is a spring fed pool which runs into an impressive colonnaded bath area. Perhaps more impressive are the gymnasiums and changing rooms with suspended floors so that warm coals could be kept underneath them to heat the tiles.
Picture of spring Here is part of the spring itself. Underground in the baths there is a much stronger smell of sulphur and other minerals. There are also remnants of the original Roman forum and some of the temple buildings.
Picture of coins The museum is one of the better ones we've been too. It's worth noting that they have a separate audio tour for kids (our child is now an audio tour fanatic). One of our favorite exhibits was the series of Roman curse tablets - small bits of metal which were engraved with curses against fellow citizens and then thrown into the springs. They are predictably and amusingly petty. Here is part of the coin collection proving that the human urge to throw coins into fountains is not of modern origin.
Picture of circus Once you get away from the very center of Bath, just about everything else in town is Georgian / Regency period architecture. Uphill from the city center is the Circus - basically just a circle of townhomes with a nice greenspace in the middle.
Picture of royal_crescent Nearby is the slightly more famous Royal Crescent - yes it's a crescent. If these stately curved homes kind of all look the same, well that's pretty much Bath. The home at one end of the Royal Crescent is open as a museum.
Picture of gardens The Bath parade gardens lie between the abbey and the Avon River. There are a lot of restaurants and shops around the center and it's a very walkable city (albeit with a few larger hills).
Picture of assembly_rooms Jane Austen lived in Bath. If you didn't know that, don't worry, the city of Bath will make sure that you do before you leave. It actually gets to be a bit excessive. We visited the Jane Austen museum here which was well... maybe a bit underwhelming. More impressive are the Bath Assembly Rooms (written about in Austen novels) which have been restored after World War II to their original appearance. There are three of them, this is the ballroom.
Picture of bath_bun There is also a tea room in the back of the assembly rooms where we had this Bath bun (foreground). It's the local specialty pastry, whee. Below the assembly rooms is the fashion museum which is actually quite interesting. They ask that no pictures are posted on social media (is this social media?) so you'll just have to go see it for yourself. It's Regency-heavy but goes up through modern times, for some definition of modern.
Picture of bath_hills As we've already mentioned, Bath is rather homogenous in terms of architecture. Here you can see an entire hillside of variations on a theme. It's not clear to us if color is actually banned in Bath or not, but it is certainly frowned upon.
Picture of weir There are boat tours upstream from Bath. There is actually a lock around this weir in the center of town although we aren't sure if it is ever used. Those are the parade gardens again on river right and there's also a park area on the left bank as well as the Bath rugby grounds.

Back to Trips