Located in southwest England, Bath is one of the country’s most beautiful and picturesque cities. It is known for its Roman Baths, built by Romans centuries before the creation of the UK, which helped the city develop into what it is today, as it is named after these baths. It is also known for its collection of Georgian architecture, much of which is built with locally mined Bath Stone. Bath was also the home of Jane Austen, a famous British writer, who wrote the classic ‘Pride & Prejudice’. To sum it up, Bath is pretty much the perfect quintessentially English city. Last summer, my family and I spent a day exploring the city, which I will be writing about in this post!
My parents, grandmother, and I took a road trip to Bath from my dad’s hometown, Derby, which is about a two hour drive. We stopped in Oxford for a few hours along the way to meet with my dad’s cousin, which you can read more about in my ‘Best London Day Trips’ post. If you’re looking into visiting Bath from London, England’s capital, it is a two and a half hour drive, or a hour and a half train ride.
Since we arrived in Bath in evening, so that we could have the entire next day to explore the city, we needed somewhere to stay for the night. So, we ended up staying at one of the most unique places that I’ve ever stayed at, the George Inn. The George Inn is located in Norton St. Philip, a village 20 minutes outside of Bath, and it is now a pub, restaurant, and hotel. The Inn is over 600 years old, making it one of the UK’s oldest hotels. Unfortunately I didn’t have my blog when I visited, however if I did I would’ve loved to do an entire post on the Inn. Above is a photo of the room we stayed in, one of the three rooms available to be booked.
Here is a photo of a couple souvenirs that I got from the hotel. These include a couple of postcards, which show the exterior of the Inn, as well as book, which goes through the extensive and interesting history of the Inn, plus a floor plan of the Inn showing the time period that each area of the building was constructed in, ranging from the 14th century all the way to the early 20th century. The George Inn is likely the coolest place that I’ve ever stayed in, and I would definitely recommend booking a room there (click this link for more info) if you ever visit Bath.
After a great stay at the George Inn, we headed into Bath’s centre to start our day of exploring the city. Above is a photo of a building in Bath made from the city’s iconic Bath Stone, which I mentioned earlier. The stone is mined from the Combe Down and Bathampton Down Mine, a mine located not too far from Bath itself. The limestone can be found all throughout the city, as basically all of the buildings there are built out of it.
The first spot we came across was the Jane Austen Centre, a small museum about the life of Jane Austen, an English novelist alive between the 18th and 19th centuries. Jane Austen lived in Bath for a time period of about five years, hence why the Jane Austen Centre is located in Bath. The centre is located in a home similar to the one Austen lived in during her time in Bath, less than five minutes down the road from the Circus (more on that later!). We didn’t actually tour the museum, we just checked out the gift shop and took a photo with one of the friendly staff members outside of the museum, dressed as if they were from Austen’s time period.
Next, we headed to the most famous spot in Bath… its Roman Baths! These spas were created by the Romans nearly 2000 years ago, in the Roman city of Aquas Sulis, which is now the British city of Bath. The British only discovered in the late 19th century, before turning them into one of the country’s most famous attractions. Even with£17.00GBP entrance fee, which isn’t that much if you think about it, they are 100% worth visiting.
The centre piece of the spa is its Great Bath, the huge, green bath shown above. If you’re wondering, no, the baths were not green when Romans actually bathed and swam in them. The green water is due to the algae which now grows in it, which would not have been there when the Baths were in use, as they had a roof back then which no longer exists. Surrounding the Great Bath, a level above at the terrace, you will find statues commemorating Roman governors of the former Roman province of Britannica, present-day England and Wales. The Great Bath is fed by hot water from the baths’ ‘Sacred Springs’, which I will elaborate on later in this post.
Entrance fee to the baths also includes access to the museum, which guides you through the history of the baths, as well as displaying some of the artifacts found from the original baths. Above is the collection’s temple pediment, the front of the original temple. This is actually made of Bath stone, and it is one of two surviving temples from Roman Britain.
Not only are the baths rich in history, they are also rich in science. Hot springs form naturally beneath the city of Bath, making Bath one of the only cities in the UK with hot springs beneath it. These springs can be seen at the ‘Sacred Springs’, where over a million litres of 46°C hotwater naturally rise everyday. During the time of the Romans, it was believed that the hot springs were the work of the gods. Although this is unrelated to Bath, I thought it was funny that three of the ten hot springs in England are actually located in Derbyshire, which is where we were staying and where a lot of my family is from!
After spending an hour or so exploring the baths, we headed to the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (more commonly known as Bath Abbey), a medieval church next door to the Roman Baths. This Anglican Parish church was founded in the 7th century,reorganized in the 10th century, rebuilt two times, in the 12th and 16th centuries, and renovated in the 19th century. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to actually go inside the church, though I wish we did as I have heard that the church’s interior is really pretty.
It was around lunchtime by this point of the day, so we decided to look for somewhere to have some lunch. We came across the Hands Georgian Tea Room, a well decorated, traditionally English tearoom. This tearoom has a large selection of tea, sandwiches, scones, biscuits, and more. If you’re looking for a place to eat in Bath, I’d definitely suggest considering visiting the Hands Georgian Tea Room.
Our final stop of the day, in Bath at least, was the city’s famous Pultney Bridge. Next to the bridge itself you will find the Pultney Weir (right), a barrier that allows the water’s level to change. Completed in 1774, the Pultney Bridge crosses Bath’s River Avon, and has shops built on both of its sides, which you can see in the photo on the middle. This bridge, along with its weir, is one of the most photographed spots in Bath as well as one of my favourite spots in Bath due to how photographic the area is!
That’s pretty much it for what we did in Bath. There were a few spots that we unfortunately didn’t get to visit, like the city’s famous Circus, a circle of Georgian architecture homes; and the Royal Crescent (shown in the postcard above), another collection of Georgian architecture homes built in a crescent shape, but I think that we spent our time pretty well as we got to visit quite a few spots in less than a day.
As I mentioned earlier, that’s not it for our entire day! On our drive back to Derby, we decided to slightly off route and visit Stonehenge. Stonehenge is a ring of standing stones each around 4m by 2m, about an hours drive outside of Bath. It is one of the most mysterious monuments in the world, as there is no clear evidence as to where the stones came from, or how people were even able to move such big stones so long ago, as Stonehenge was built somewhere between 4000 and 5000 years ago.
The rest of my family with me had already been to Stonehenge, but since I hadn’t, and it wasn’t too far off our route, we decided to spend about an hour at the site, between the actual stones and the visitors centre. After we had decided that we had pretty seen all that there was there, since it is pretty much just rocks, we headed back on the road home to Derby!
That’s it for my post today, I hope you enjoyed! Have you ever been to Bath? If you have, what did you do there? If you haven’t, would you like to go?
Thank you for reading 🙂