This is a city overflowing with history and classic architecture – from Roman splendour to Georgian grandeur. It is, of course, most famous for its hot baths, which have been attracting visitors for nearly two millennia. This is the perfect city to rest those weary muscles, enjoy some spa therapy and take in the beauty of Bath.
It is believed that Bath was founded in 860 BC when its mineral rich mud was discovered to have healing properties. The Romans arrived in 50 AD and began building projects that would survive the following 2000 years.
Bath’s other name is Aquae Sulis. Sulis Minerva was a very rare goddess; a pairing of a Celtic and Roman deity. This goddess, believed to represent of wisdom and nourishment, was worshipped at the spas in Bath over 2000 years ago. A gilt bronze statue of her found in 1727 is can be seen there.
When the Romans left in the 4th century, their impressive buildings were neglected in favour of basic wooden huts. But the city would slowly recapture its past popularity, and during the 18th century, it became a popular tourist destination thanks to its newly developed pump room and stunning Georgian Crescents designed by John Wood and his son.
The Roman Baths are actually an amalgam of designs from throughout the centuries. Although founded by the Romans, subsequent development and extensions mean the original part of the bath is now below street level. We include a visit to the must-see Roman Bath House, Temple and Sacred Spring. Above these is the elegant Georgian Pump Room.
There are many great ways to explore Bath. And if you’re keen to know more about the heritage of the city then guided walking tours, audio tours or a sightseeing trip on an open-top double decker are all available. There are also boat tours that allow you to gain historical knowledge whilst cruising the river.
When visiting Bath you cannot help but be impressed by its awe-inspiring Georgian architecture, with much of the city built around 200 years ago. The most famous of these are the Royal Crescent and the Circus. Their classic design has withstood the test of time and helped define Bath’s rich heritage and cultural splendour. Be sure to visit No. 1 Royal Crescent, a lovingly restored townhouse which paints a captivating picture of Georgian life.
Another piece of great Georgian design is Pulteney Bridge. After 20 years of construction, it was finally completed in 1774. This striking bridge was designed by architect Robert Adam in a Palladian style and is one of only four in the world to have shops across its full span.
The author Jane Austen, perhaps most famous for Pride and Prejudice, lived in Bath. And the Jane Austen Centre is a wonderful attraction about the author’s life, novels and film adaptions as well elegant costumes from the era.
Bath Abbey has been a place of worship for over 1000 years but it has seen many reincarnations during its long history. What you can see today is mainly the Victorian-era Gothic vision of Sir George Gilbert Scott. Its stunning stone fan vaulted ceiling is an unforgettable sight and if you’re lucky you’ll get to experience a performance by the exceptional choir.
You’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere finer than Bath for afternoon tea. Whether enjoyed outside in the gardens of the Royal Crescent Hotel or in the tearoom of the splendid Pump Room, it’ll be one of the most memorable cups of tea you’ve had. And don’t forget it perfect accompaniment, the local speciality – a Bath Bun.
Bath also has a wide range of restaurants offering contemporary cuisine, international dishes and hearty pub meals. And the Marlborough Tavern is the perfect place to soak up from local flavour and enjoy a pint.
Bath is an unmissable experience, with its magnificent abbey, Georgian stone crescents and its ancient heritage. Cycle with us to this wonderful Roman spa town and be inspired.