the River Avon, the spa city of Bath boasts the finest
Roman remains in Europe, magnificent Georgian architecture
and excellent shopping facilities.
The Bath tourist infomation office has maps and details of exhibitions as well as what's on in the city.
settlement developed around several mineral-rich springs (rising
at 46ºC), which the Celts believed to have healing powers.
These were dedicated to Sulis, the Celtic goddess of healing
and sacred waters.
the Romans arrived, soon after their invasion in 43 AD, they
built a great temple beside the Sacred Spring, dedicated to
Sulis Minerva, a deity, a hybrid of Sulis and Minerva, the
Roman goddess of wisdom.
built grand bathing complexes around the hot springs, including
the Great Bath, and came here to relax and take advantage
of their reputed healing powers.
the 60's and 70's AD the town of Aquae Sulis (the waters
of Sulis), grew up around the hot springs.
the Romans left in around 410 AD the town was sacked by the
Saxons and did not revive for a considerable time. Although
the suite of Roman baths fell into disrepair, the hot springs
were still known about and used. A
Saxon monastery, established here in 781 AD, later became
one of the most powerful in England.
AD the abbey was the site of the coronation of Edgar, the
first King of England.
church, begun in 1499, was the last great Gothic church to
be constructed in England. With its 52 magnificent windows,
Bath Abbey soon became known as the 'Lantern of the West'.
grew up around the abbey in medieval times. Its economy was
largely based on the wool trade but during the Elizabethan
period the town began to revive as a spa and in 1590 Bath
was granted city status.
Bath's wool trade declined in the 16th and 17th centuries,
the town began to rely on the hot springs as its main source
trade received a boost in the early 17th century when Anne
of Denmark, wife of James I, came to Bath hoping to be cured
the 18th century onwards the Roman baths were gradually rediscovered
and became one of the city's main attractions.
not only became a spa but also a pleasure resort.
and gentry from all over the country came to take the waters
and to be seen. The fashionable visitors also spent their
money at Bath's shops, which were as good as London's and
much more convenient.
Austin, a resident here from 1801 - 06, describes life in
fashionable Bath in her novels 'Northanger Abbey' and
Bath expanded rapidly and it was at this time that the city
acquired its first purpose-built theatre, as well as the Pump
Room and Assembly Rooms. The city's popularity was boosted
by the efforts of its 'Master of Ceremonies', Richard 'Beau'
Nash (1674 - 1762), who established the Assembly Rooms as
the centre of fashionable life in Bath. Much of Bath's fine
architecture dates from this time.
John Wood the Elder (1704 - 54) built Queen Square and the
North and South Parades and began the Circus. His son, John
Wood the Younger (1728 - 82), completed the Circus and was
responsible for the Royal Crescent and the Assembly Rooms.
terraces had identical façades giving the buildings classical
symmetry and an impression of palatial size. The warm, honey-coloured
stone used in Bath was largely obtained from quarries owned
by Ralph Allen. To advertise the quality of his stone, Allen
commissioned John Wood the Elder to built a country house
at Prior Park.
Circus is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture
in the UK, designed by John Wood the Elder and built between
1754 and 1767. Originally known a the King's Circus, these
elegant buildings were part of the architect's grand plan
to recreate a classical Palladian architectural landscape
in Bath. Wood was also responsible for other buildings in
Bath, including Prior Park, Queen Square and the North and
South Parades, but the Circus is considered to be his masterpiece.
never saw the Circus completed as he died less than three
months after the foundation stone was laid. His son, John
Wood the Younger, was left to finish the project. With three
curved segments of equal length, the Circus has three separate
entrances. The buildings have uniform facades and display
three orders of Roman architecture ( the Doric, Ionic and
thought that the Circus was Inspired by the Colosseum in Rome
but John Wood the Elder was also influenced by Druids and
circular area of the Circus has almost the same dimensions
as Stonehenge and the 30 houses of the Circus match the 30
includes 525 pictorial emblems representing the arts and sciences
and a number of Masonic symbols. Originally the central area
was an open piazza but in 1800 this was transformed into railed
garden. During the air raids of 1942 several of the Circus
buildingswere destroyed but where later reconstructed.
Royal Crescent was designed by John Wood the Younger and
built between 1767 and 1774. The curving terrace of 30 town
houses was designed with 114 Ionic columns - the highest point
of Palladian architecture in Bath. Created as lodging houses,
the buildings had a uniform facade but varying interiors.
Number 1 is a museum maintained by the Bath Preservation Trust.
Numbers 15 and 16, at the centre of the Crescent, form the
Royal Crescent Hotel. The Royal Crescent stands on a hill
overlooking the Royal Victoria Park.
area of lawn in front of the building, owned by the Royal
Crescent residents, is separated from the Royal Victoria Park
by a ha-ha.
Until the late 18th century Stall
Street was crammed with small shops, hiding the spa buildings
from passers-by. Sedan chairs had to negotiate narrow
lanes and passages to reach the baths. Bath Corporation commissioned
Thomas Baldwin to create a more gracious city centre.
On one side of Stall Street he built an elegant colonnade,
providing access to the Pump Room and entrance to the main
bath. Bath Street, on the other side of the street,
cut through to the smaller baths.
19th century Bath began to become less popular as a spa and
during World War II was subjected to three intense German
air raids in 1942. More than 19,000 buildings were damaged
or destroyed and 400 people were killed. The Assembly Rooms,
the south side of Queen's Square and houses in the Royal Crescent,
Circus and Paragon were all burnt out.
historic buildings have since been reconstructed.
Bath is a centre of arts and culture with many attractions,
museums, exhibitions, concerts and performances throughout
the year. The highlight is the International Festival at
Bath, beginning in May, a month-long celebration of music,
arts and other fringe events.
of shops here , with many "speciality" shops, try
Shire's Yard at Milsom Street, the indoor arcade, linking
Milsom Street and Broad Street, offers a wide range of goods,
from designer fashion, shoes and accessories to chocolates
try the City Sightseeing Tour, operated by the Bath Bus Company,
which offers regular guided bus trips of Bath covering most
of Bath's attractions, You can get on and off at over 20 stops
along the route.
walks are available for visitors, including tours offered
by the Mayor of Bath Honoury Guides. These free 2 hour walks
leave from the Pump Room by the Roman Baths, Monday - Sunday
at 10.30 am and Sunday to Friday at 14:00 pm. From May to
September additional tours leave on Tuesdays, Fridays and
Saturdays at 19:00 pm. Telephone 01225 477411 for details..