All Aboard for Bath
For those of you looking to get out of the hustle and bustle of London life, why not climb aboard the rails and venture into the stunning landscape of SW England. Go for a day and you might stay for a week.
Our first day trip will be to the unparalled harmony and elegance of Bath‘s 18th Century architecture and ancient past.
To plan your trip take a look at the following sites:
– 1 1/2 hrs from London and approx. 100 pounds return
– 2 1/2 ro 3 1/2 hrs from London #403 bus (this site has all forms of transport)
Start your adventure with a visit to the tourism office in the courtyard of Bath Abbey. The very helpful staff will provide you with maps and tips on routes around the town.
When you first glance at the map you might think the Bath Citysightseeing bus (hop on – hop off) is the way to go. In truth, Bath is fairly small and everything is in easy walking distance. So save your pennies and explore the streets on foot.
Here are 5 of the top things to see. I have put them in an order that prevents too much backtracking (but then again backtracking can be fun too).
#1 The Roman Baths
Cost – 10 pounds (a little steep but worth it)
Time Allotment – 1 to 2 hrs.
The baths are a 100% must see, even with the cost, and for nothing else think of how cool your friends will think you are when you can say you paid to visit a 2000yr old bath tub! But seriously, this ancient bath-house is an amazing feat of engineering.
The baths are fed by the only hot spring in the UK, which pours out 250,000 gallons of mineral rich water a day naturally heated to 116F (46C). There is also a museum housed in the surrounding buildings that allow glimpses into Roman life and beliefs and along with the portable audio tour, it makes an excellent start to the day.
#2 Bath Abbey
Cost: 2.50pound donation
Time Allotment: 30min to 1hr
To get a real understanding of just how much history is around you, a visit to the Abbey and it’s Heritage Vaults will open your eyes. The Abbey itself was my favorite stop in Bath. Started in 1499, the architecture is so breathtaking that you have to take a minute to sit down and take it all in. The walls are lined with memorial tablets, some as old as 300yrs, giving an insight into the language and lifestyle of bygone eras. This is a working Abbey and the day I was there it was open for a short time to the public and then closed for a funeral. The Vaults below the Abbey are like walking into a 3D history book. You have to see it to experience it.
#3 Pulteney Bridge
Designed between 1769-74 by Robert Adam for his friend Sir William Pulteney, the bridge provides a stunning photo op as it looks over the triple horse-shoe weir that harnessed power for a pair of watermills on either bank. Not to mention the great shopping!
#4 Guildhall Market
Just down the way from Pulteney Bridge is traditional English shopping at its best. This market has been selling to the city for over 700yrs and is today housed in an 18th century building. Here you can find everything from cheese to second hand books. Its good for a wander even if you don’t buy anything.
#5 The Jane Austen Center
Dedicated to Bath’s most famous resident, the center provides a look into the city during Regency times and how it affected the life and writings of this novelist.
That, in a nutshell, is Bath! However, there is a ton more to see and do, I am sure your day trip will turn into a weekend. So come prepared, you never know what you will find!
A legend of Bath: (exert taken from “The Green Guide – The West Country of England” by Michelin Travel Publications)
“According to legend, in 500BC the leprosy-afflicted Prince Bladud had become a wandering swineherd; when his swine appeared cured of their skin ailments after wallowing in the mud, he plunged in himself – and emerged cured. He returned to court, succeeded to the crown, fathered the future King Lear and established his seat at Bath.”