I wanted to visit Bath as a weekend getaway from London. One of my clients who used to live in Bath spoke of the south-west countryside as a stunningly beautiful continental town. The reviews I read online were remarkable in the sense that most people who went to Bath ended up falling in love with the city. I realized my dream by having a weekend in Bath!
Bath is a town set in the rolling countryside of southwest England, known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture. Honey-coloured Bath stone has been used extensively in the town’s architecture, including at Bath Abbey, noted for its fan-vaulting, tower and large stained-glass windows. (Wikipedia)
Last Saturday (11/03/2017), my best friend and I took the train departing from London Paddington Station to Bath Spa station at 6.30 am. The train took almost 90 minutes to reach Bath Spa station. The fare for an adult is £20.00 one way. We reached Bath Spa train station by 8.00 am and it was too early for most of the attractions open at 10.00 am.
We filled the time by having breakfast at Jacob’s Coffee Shop, a walk away from the Bath Abbey and the Pump Room.
At this juncture, allow me to introduce you to the elegant city with is also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A bit of history is inevitable to appreciate one of the most beautiful cities in the United Kingdom. The city of Bath was founded in the 1st century AD by the Romans. Apart from the thermal spa, it became an important centre for the wool industry in the Middle Ages. The present day Bath epitomises the cross culture between the Roman and Georgian architecture.
We chose to get to know Bath by hopping on the double-decker big red bus for the City Sightseeing Bus Tour. The sightseeing tour takes approximately one hour to do the loop. There are two loops, one going around the city and another going to the Bath Skyline.
For a start, we sat back and enjoy the city tour led by a knowledgeable and witty tour guide. She is a lady by the name of Sandra Friend. Witticism must have been the bloodline for everyone living in the city since Jane Austen’s day. Through the provided earphones, I listened to the Bath’s rich history and facts about the city. Way too often, the bus stirred into laughter at Sandra’s witty jokes.
Tips: If you have earphones or headphones, use your own for better audio.
6 North Parade, Bath, BA1 1LF
Open all year round exc. 25/26 Dec and 1 Jan
City Tour 45-50 mins: Every 6 – 15 mins Summer, 20-30 mins Winter
Skyline Tour 45 mins: Every 15 mins Summer, 30-60 mins Winter
Since the last drop off point was by the River Avon, we began touring the city on foot by walking along the River Avon. We joined in the crowd hanging over the side of the road enjoying the view of the river Avon.
Just from the road side near the Pulteney Bridge, I saw majestic gardens known as the Parade Gardens. I was a tad bit clueless when the domed ticket office was close but people were roaming the park nevertheless. All curious and wanting to get the best view of the Pulteney Bridge and the weir, I descended the grand double staircase. As my visit coincides with near spring season, the gardens were slowly being filled with colourful flowers. The centralized location of the Parade Gardens make it an ideal choice for photography and a picnic in the city garden.
The winged angel of peace statue is a memorial to King Edward VII, the ‘peacemaker’.
Unlike other gardens in Britons, the Parade Gardens celebrate pigs! The story began with King Bladud, who founded Bath 1,000 years before the arrival of the Romans. He suffered from leprosy and as the legend has it, he got banished from the royal palace. He became a swineherd and travelled with his pigs. While in Bath, his pigs rolled in the hot mud and cured of scurvy and other skin conditions. King Bladud did the same and he too was cured from leprosy. The legend makes thousands of people flocking in to get cured by drinking the water including Queen Anne. According to Sandra, the people believes the water can cure just about anything.
Not difficult to understand why water is best!
We went to the Guildhall Market, the oldest shopping venue in the city, just opposite the famous Pulteney Bridge. If you want to see the bustling and colourful market, head over to the Guildhall Market. Here, you can get practically anything.
The Guildhall Market
High Street, Bath, BA2 4AW
Open (Mon-Sat : 8 am – 5.30 pm (individual shops vary) Open Sunday in December)
We decided to walk to the Jane Austen Centre from the Guildhall Market. It’s easy to walk around the Bath city as many attractions are within the walking distance. Although the crowd was growing steadily as compared to the empty street at 8 am, I still found the crowd tolerable.
Many buskers and musicians played musics along the path bringing in the romance of the city in yesteryears.
As we walked towards the Circus, an elite neighbourhood in Bath city, we passed by the Artisan Street where the independent stalls are. They sell many cute things that we could not help to make cute remark as we went along. It was hard to walk street to destination with having tempted to buy some cute stuffs.
How can you not love Bath? It’s pretty on many levels!
My friend, Amira is a huge fan of Jane Austen. It makes a visit to the Jane Austen Centre almost mandatory to do when we spend a weekend in Bath. The writer of Northanger Abbey, Persuasion was the famous resident of Bath due to her novels, often emphasizing the unsettled feeling of a country girl who moved to a city and lived the life a socialite of that era. The era where ladies drink tea and read books and in the evening, they dance, play cards, exchange gossips and look for a marriage partner.
First, the guide would explain the background of Jane Austen and the very reason why she and her family moved to Bath.
Then, we were brought to tour the centre through walls with printed exhibits detailing Jane Austen’s personal life and relating it to the books she had written.
Just at the end of the room, there stood a replica setting of what would look like a living room in 18th century house. The favourite part was definitely the dress-up area where I wore the long floral dress, of what I would call a maxi dress and a cute head cover.
But it didn’t work well with me.
That moment when you wanted to be Jane Austen, but ended being Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.
Don’t miss out the souvenir shop!
Entrace fee: £11 per person for adult. Summer : 9.45am – 5.30pm, Winter: 10.00am – 4.00pm, Jul & Aug 9.30am – 6pm
40, Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT
The circus was originally known as the King’s Circus, a Class 1 circular shape house designed by John Wood the Elder, who was inspired by prehistoric stone circles such as the Roman Colosseum. I could not help but notice the serpents, acorns, nautical and animism symbols. Nicholas Cage used to live at the Circus.
I find the circular neighbourhood rather ingenious, especially with the garden at the centre.
Further up, we reached another elite area known as the Royal Crescent. Built over 240 years ago, the prestigious Royal Crescent is a remarkable example of Georgian architecture to be found in England. As a country in the city, there is a vast grassland opposite the Royal Crescent. There are 30 townhouses that form the Royal Crescent, but 18 of them have been split into flats of various size. You can visit No. 1, Royal Crescent which is now open as museum.
I’d recommend visiting No.1 Royal Crescent to look at how delicate life was for the socialites who used to live at the Royal Crescent centuries ago. There are 10 display rooms, friendly guides stationed at each display room and disabled access.
Open from 4 Feb – 10 Dec (Tue-Sun: 10.30am – 5.30pm and Bank Holidays) (Mon: 12pm-5.30pm) Entrance fee is from £4 to £10 per person, family ticket £22.
For the rest of the day, we retired early to our accommodation, the Bath YMCA Hostel as almost every hotel was fully booked for our visit to Bath coincided the Bath Half-Marathon. We went to eat buns at the Sally Lunn’s! It is a big deal because according to my tastebud which is in conformity with reviews on Sally Lunn’s you can find online, the buns served in Sally Lunn’s are the most delicious! You’ve got to wait for Part 2, to read my review for Sally Lunn and to know what I did on Day 2.
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I was given a media pass for 2 person to 38 attractions around Bath courtesy of Visit Bath. All opinions are my own and true based on my experiences.