‘Oh who can ever be tired of Bath?’ | On a walking tour of Bath
You may well be tired upon entering Bath – late in the week with many miles under your belt and hills along the way, but you will never tire of Bath. Our Bath day trip is always a high point in our Cotswolds cycle tour as, following a morning’s cycle ride through the beautiful South Cotswolds countryside, we bike right into the heart of the spa city to explore the town that inspired much of Jane Austen’s writing.
Bath’s Regency Architecture
This year marks two hundred years since the death of Jane Austen; a celebrated writer and icon of her gender, best known for her book Pride and Prejudice. Much of her writings were a pointed and brilliantly comical commentary of the British gentry. As a thriving spa resort for high society, Bath provided the perfect location to inspire a study of the cultural and social particularities of such high-class groupings. It was the place to be if you were a part of fashionable society. Many of Baths most characterful buildings such as the Assembly Rooms or the Pump Rooms are brilliant examples of grand Georgian Architecture and form the perfect backdrop to Bath’s high-flying social life. You can still take high tea and enjoy fine dining in the Assembly Rooms today!
Our Bath walking tour takes you up to the striking Royal Crescent and Bath’s famous Circus, giving you a flavour of high society life during the Regency era. It was in the late eighteenth-century world of Bath that Jane Austen set two of her novels: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.
Jane Austen’s Bath
Austen lived in the city for five years between 1801 and 1806. The Jane Austen Centre in Bath is dedicated to describing Jane’s time in the city and demonstrating the impact it had on her writing. While Austen herself seems to have had a complicated relationship with the place, her characters enjoy Bath as a city in vogue and full of excitement. Famously, in Northanger Abbey Jane writes of her young character Catherine’s excitement at arriving in Bath:
‘Catherine was all eager delight; – her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already’.
Bath is as vibrant now as it was then and we aim to make our guests as delighted as Catherine on their first visit to this beautiful spa city!
Walking Tour of Bath’s Roman Spa
While there is much to see and enjoy of Austen’s Bath, the city is perhaps more famous for its ancient Roman Baths, from whose central location the city radiates outwards. Our visit to Bath includes a tour of this magnificent spa, which dates back to AD 60. What the Romans believed to be the work of the Gods, we now know to be Bath’s natural hot springs bubbling up to the surface. Bath’s eeighteenth-centuryheyday was in large part built on the attraction of these waters as Bath is the only place in Britain where water acts in this way. The Romans capitalised on the unusual spring, taking advantage of the area’s foundations to create a system of heated rooms and baths filled with this water. The Georgians also held these waters as special, believing them to hold healing properties; flocking to bathe in and drink the waters, hoping to cure all sorts of ailments, and this trend in one form or another has continued today – though not in the original baths!
These Roman baths are still recognised as exceptional, though perhaps not the work of gods. Their historical importance as well as their remarkable preservation has been recognised globally, gaining them a classification as a World Heritage Site in 1987 . The Roman Baths are one of three World Heritage Sites we explore during our tours – the others being Stonehenge and Avebury, and Blenheim Palace.