by Janis on 5th July 2022 / 2 comments

Ancient streets overflowing with elegance and splendour

Visiting the captivating city of Bath in Somerset has been on our city break list for many years. We briefly admired Bath when we were on a Kennet and Avon Canal narrowboat trip and instantly knew we wanted to explore the ancient Roman streets further.

The centuries of history to be discovered in Bath is astonishing, and with our love of ancient architecture and all things historic, Bath was going to hold untold intriguing finds.

It isn’t only the Romans that we’re unearthing in Bath; we’ll be seeking out the beautiful Georgian architecture, the colourful museums and no doubt take in a slice of the local culture. Gary keeps telling me that sampling the regional ales is all in the name of research.

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Where is Bath?

Tourist Information

Visit bath Logo
If you’re tempted to visit the magnificent city of Bath and explore its ancient streets, take a look at the ‘Visit Bath’ official website.

Exploring Bath’s rich history

Baths, Abbeys, and Romans

There are many significant regions of the world that we owe untold recognition to the Romans, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the City of Bath is one of them.

The Romans founded the thermal spa city of Bath in AD 60-70 and continued to construct a temple and bathing complex which was known in Latin as Aquae Sulis, “the waters of Sulis”. I have longed to visit the Roman Baths at Bath for many years, which I’m sure will be magnificent.

Bath is one of eleven Great Spa Towns of Europe recognised by UNESCO World Heritage in 2021. We’ve visited Baden-Baden in Germany, but it appears we have some way to go yet to see the rest.

The view of Roman Baths with Bath Abbey as a backdrop
The Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are undoubtedly the star attraction of the spa city; however, the striking Bath Abbey that sits shoulder to shoulder with Aquae Sulis is equally magnificent.

Bath Abbey was a former Benedictine monastery built using the warming honey-coloured Bath Stone. I love that it has a Jacobs Ladder on either side of the west front tower depicting dainty little angels climbing up the stairway to heaven.

Two top attractions in Bath, The Roman Baths and Bath Abbey from Abbey Churchyard in the centre of the Historic Bath
Bath Abbey

Nearby Bath is the National Trust village of Lacock and Lacock Abbey. Lacock village looks enchanting and so picturesque. Lacock Abbey, once a monastery prior to the Dissolutions of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539, became a beautiful country home.

It’s at Lacock Abbey, where William Henry Fox Talbot resided and invented the first photographic negative, so it will be fascinating to visit. We can also walk in the magical footsteps of Harry Potter; it was along the abbey cloisters where sections of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were filmed.

The exterior with its grand staircase leading to the entrance to Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire
Lacock Abbey

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Discovering Bath’s stunning architecture

The majestic elegance of Georgian homes

Throughout the historic city of Bath, the honey-coloured local Bath Stone is used extensively and presents Bath with that unique architectural style. And none more so than the captivating Pulteney Bridge, which was constructed in the late 18th-century.

The stunning bridge which spans the River Avon is 148 ft (45 m) in width and has three separate arches. Pulteney Bridge overlooks the incredible weir, which creates such an iconic view of Bath.

The unusual aspect of Pulteney Bridge is that it has a row of tiny shops lining both sides of the bridge, forming a distinct and rare look.

The view over the River Avon towards the weir in front of the Pulteney Bridge in Bath at dusk
Pulteney Bridge at Dusk

During our visit to Bath, we’ll be strolling around the narrow lanes and wending our way amongst the grand Georgian squares and arcades. Particularly around The Circus, Queen Square and visiting the National Trust Bath Assembly Rooms.

Like everyone who visits Bath, we’ll be heading to the sweeping Royal Crescent and admire the 30 elegant Grade I listed terraced homes that overlook the private lawn below.

We’ve booked a tour of No.1 Royal Crescent Museum, which takes you on a lovely journey through the stylish Georgian townhouse. All the while listening in to the day-to-day tales of a Georgian family and their servants.

The historic Georgian Royal Crescent in Bath, as seen from the lawns that spread out in front of it.
The Royal Crescent

If you're intrigued to visit the historic cities of Bath and Bristol, then why not check out Lonely Planet's pocket travel guide. Full of helpful advice, interesting facts and time-saving tips.

You can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.

A little digging into the culture of Bath

Art, fashion, buns and beer

Bath has a fascinating blend of museums and galleries from the traditional Victoria Art Gallery, housing historical and contemporary pieces of art. To the world-class collection of haute couture in the Fashion Museum.

The Fashion Museum, which has been housed in the Assembly Rooms since 1963, takes you on a historical journey through the fashion trends and colourful changes over many decades to the present day.

A collection of period costumes on show inside the Fashion Museum in Bath
Inside the Fashion Museum
There must always be an element of R&R on any city break, and the choices are almost endless in Bath. Stroll around one of Bath’s many picturesque parks and take the weight off your feet to indulge in a Bath Bun in Sally Lunn’s Eating House. Or even extend your stay around Bath, hire a narrowboat for a few days and cruise the Kennet and Avon Canal.
The front of Sally Lunn’s Eating House, a top tourist attraction in Bath, in North Parade Passage in the historic city Centre
Sally Lunn’s Eating House
However, if all you want is a relaxing ale, then Bath has you well and truly covered for this, as there appears to be a pub or an inn around every corner.

Where to stay in Bath

- Hotel Indigo - Bath, an IHG Hotel - This stylish hotel is located in the heart of Bath and just a five-minute walk to the Roman Baths and Abbey. The rooms are beautifully designed with a contemporary feel
- Harington's Hotel - Along a charming, cobbled street and just a few minutes’ walk to Bath’s historic attractions. Offering a delicious breakfast in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Bath on the silver-screen

Sleuths, Bonnets & Wizards

It isn’t surprising that Bath has been the filming location of many movies and TV shows as the architecture and style of the city are unsurpassable.

If you’re a fan of the period drama Bridgerton, then you will undoubtedly recognise the Holburne Museum, which is used as the home of Lady Danbury.

The grand Georgian exterior of the Holburne Museum on Great Pulteney Street in Bath
The Holburne Museum

Pulteney Bridge was used as a stand-in for a Parisian bridge in the 2012 musical film Les Misérables. It is where Javert (played by Russell Crowe) takes his own life.

It goes without saying that as Jane Austen was a resident of Bath, elements of her novels were adapted using the striking Georgian architecture.

The light-hearted detective drama McDonald and Dodds, currently on ITV, uses Bath extensively in its latest two series.

Bath Abbey framed with the Georgian stone arch over York Street
Bath Abbey from York Street
Last but by no means least is the nearby Lacock Abbey which I mentioned above, was used in the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Disclaimer

This article was produced in partnership with Visit Bath in exchange for an honest review and an account of our personal experiences.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

  1. Lovely article, brought back memories of our trip, forgot we went to the Fashion Museum.

    1. Author

      Ahh, thanks. The Fashion Museum was really interesting, especially the flash backs from the 80s.

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