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History & Ancient Sites

The Fascinating History of Bath, England

England’s southwest is known for its natural beauty, and one town in particular has breathtaking, man-made glory. Visit Bath, England, and experience the pairing of rolling green countryside with some of the most exquisite architecture in Europe. Showcasing its fascinating background, the Roman and Georgian periods are most prominent, you’ll find a world of things to do in Bath for a unique addition to your England travels.

The Roman Baths

Visit the grand Roman baths.  Entry includes a guide or audio tour of this ancient site with hot mineral springs.  You’ll see the Temple Courtyard and may choose to drink a glass of natural spa water.  At dusk, torches are lit, and the statues are eerily beautiful—it’s an irresistible feature.  Treat yourself to the nearby Thermal Bath Spa for a long, hot soak in the same waters.  Their rooftop pool provides incredible views of the city’s historic skyline.  

The Gothic Bath Abbey

The Bath Abbey is a parish church and a former Benedictine monastery.  Founded in the 7th century, and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th century, with heavy restoration in the 19th century, it is an absolute gem.  The medieval abbey church served as a sometime-cathedral for a bishop.  The Benedictine community there was dissolved in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  It is one of the largest, and best, examples of Perpendicular Gothic Architecture.  The church is cruciform in design and seats 1,200 people.  Today, it’s an active place of worship and hosts civic ceremonies, concerts, and lectures.  Walk into the cellars and dip into the heritage museum.

The Regency and Georgian Periods

Some of the most extraordinary buildings in Bath were built during the Regency period, 1811-1820. Stroll through the Royal Crescent, and be amazed by the splendor.  A full circle of Bath’s buttermilk-colored townhouses, with three stories above-ground and two below-ground, is a feat of symmetry.  If you want the full, Georgian (1714-1837) experience, see how the homes were set up by visiting No. 1 Royal Crescent.  Then, consider going to the Royal Crescent Hotel for afternoon tea.

Two Stunning Elements

The spirit of Bath is reflected in two stunning elements—architecture and water.   The Roman Baths are the best example of this feature.  Another is Pulteney Bridge.  Constructed in the 18th century, it was engineered to connect Bath with the other side of the Avon River.  Marvel at the bold, sturdy arches built in moody, grey stone. The bridge is also a building, with neat rows of windows showing the shops within. See the bridge glow against an inky, night sky.  Some of the best views are from Paradise Gardens. 

Museums and Centers

The Museum of “Bath at Work” on Julian Road provides insight into industries of the past.  Explore creative workshops with the help of an audio guide.  Fans of “Pride and Prejudice” will want to visit the Jane Austen Center—discover the details of the author’s life.  There’s also Sally Lunn’s Museum, a small, bun-themed historical exhibition; the Fashion Museum; and Bath’s Old Orchard Street Theatre—a theatre, museum, and also a Masonic Lodge.

Give yourself time to explore Bath and revel in her various eras.  Roman baths and mineral waters still bubble from taps used 2,000 years ago.  The wonder of bridges excites.  Fabled, buttery-toned stones, and local foods and music are yours for the asking.  Bath is an excellent addition to any England vacation and just a short drive from Stonehenge.  Enjoy!