Deeply rooted in history and culture, the city of Bath is a modern spectacle of the Georgian era. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, Bath attracts millions of visitors each year due its prehistoric monuments, ancient architecture and historical beauty.
Walking around the city, you feel like you’re immersed in a Jane Austen novel or on the set of Downtown Abbey. As you pass the lined buildings made of Bath Stone and fall in love with the quaint, pastel shopfronts, be warned of the unbelievable smell of freshly baked Cornish pasties that will fill your nostrils and make your stomach growl at every corner. From naturally hot Roman Baths to endless picturesque sceneries and prehistoric, stone monuments like Stonehenge, Bath is a step back in time and a refreshing break from modernity. There is certainly not enough time in one weekend to see everything, however here’s a few must-visits while you’re in Bath.
The Roman Baths
Estimated to be constructed around 60-70AD, the Roman Baths are considered one of the greatest monuments of the ancient world and have defined the city of Bath since its construction. Where Romans use to bath and worship the goddess Minerva thousands of years ago, the water that filters into these baths is naturally hot spring water that rises from below the Earth’s crust. An incredible experience to walk across the original pavement that the Romans would’ve walked on and to learn about how the Earth produces these naturally hot springs, the Roman Baths are definitely a must-visit while staying in the historical city.
Be sure to take an ‘free’ audio guide once you’ve purchased your tickets at the entrance as you get great insight about the history and evolution of the baths. If you get an English audio guide, I would recommend listening to some of best-selling travel author, Bill Bryson’s commentary as it offers a unique and personal evaluation of the baths. And, if you dare, have a taste of the baths’ natural spring water at the end of the tour which was historically known to have magical, healing qualities.
For information on the Roman Baths and accompanying attractions like The Pump Room, please visit www.romanbaths.co.uk.
Once you’ve spent enough time underground, exploring the baths, get some fresh air and take an architectural walkabout around the city of Bath. You don’t have to go far to see buildings made of thousands-of-years-old Bath stone, however particular buildings to take a ‘tourist snap’ of include, Bath Abbey (the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul); The Royal Crescent (a row of 30 terraced houses designed by architect John Wood the Younger and one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture in the UK); The Circus (another exquisite example of Georgian architecture that is a circular space surrounded by large townhouses); The Assembly Rooms (built in 1771, this function centre became the hub of fashionable society and attracted the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens); and Royal Victoria Park (23 hectares of greenery that encompasses a skate park, tennis courts, bowling green, putting green, golf course, pond, and a child’s play area).
After all the history lessons and hours of walking, you would’ve earned a good feast. While in Bath, I’d recommend you try a pasty from one of the hundreds of Cornish bakeries that line the city’s streets. Delicious, flakey pastry filled with a decadent selection of ingredients from bacon, leek and cheese to pork, apple and Cornish cider, they are a tasty treat that will also warm you up! There are also many quaint tea rooms and coffee shops that will offer you a taste of some of the freshest-baked scones you’ll ever taste! Make sure you get it with clotted cream and jam, and a pot of English Breakfast tea.
While I was there, I also had lunch at Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill. A great choice for good quality and tasty food at a reasonable price, I would recommend anything that is seafood on the menu, particularly the Fish Pie, Whole Lobster, Fish & Chips or Seafood Tagliatelle. With a glass of Prosecco, you cannot go wrong! And, if you’re feeling a little adventurous, try the Haggis and Cheddar Spring Rolls as a starter, they are actually really tasty!!!
Last but certainly not least, Stonehenge is the last must-visit destination on my Bath travel itinerary. It’s a bit of a drive to get to but perfect if you are heading back to London, however it is certainly not something you should miss out on! Built approximately 5,000 years ago, Stonehenge is a circle of stones that was presumed to be erected in the Neolithic period as a burial site. One of the most famous prehistoric monuments in Europe, Stonehenge is engulfed in history and mystery that makes it certainly worth the journey!