England, Bath Overview
Britain’s most celebrated spa town in the south west of England has an incredible history and a wealth of interesting architecture. A guided walking tour of the elegant city of Bath is the best way to appreciate the multitude of interesting attractions. Founded upon the Roman baths which made use of the natural hot spring waters, the city which developed was both fashionable and wealthy. Most of the delightful architecture which remains today is built of local Bath stone. Father and son, both called John Wood, were the main architects of the fine squares and crescents and their architectural heritage has been wonderfully preserved.
Some of the best known features of Bath are Robert Adam’s Pulteney Bridge which still has small shops along its length. The Royal Crescent is a perfect semi-circle of fine Georgian architecture. The Circus, the Assembly Rooms and Queen Square should all be included on any tour of the city. The old market hall, antique auction rooms and fine shops add interest to time spent browsing in this classy city.
The Roman Baths still have a functioning Pump Room. The beautiful Bath Abbey nearby is also worth spending time exploring. Other points of interest are the Jane Austen centre which depicts the life of this well-known classic author, the Postal Museum and the Museum of Costume. Americans will appreciate the American Museum, at Claverton Manor just outside the city of Bath. With period furnishings and folk art, it captures American domestic life between the 17th and 19th centuries in a most unusual collection.
The area around Bath is one of outstanding natural beauty. Castle Combe is said to be the ‘prettiest village in England’. Wander down the street admiring the colourful cottage gardens and enjoy tea on the lawn at the local Castle Hotel. The Mendip Hills nearby are full of local villages and lead to Cheddar Gorge, with a steep town running down the narrow streets. The River which now runs underground carved the gorge from local limestone hills leaving steep sided cliffs 450 feet high.