JUN 24,2016 - JUN 24,2016 (1 DAYS)
Tip 1: St. John the Evangelist Church, Parade Gardens, Bath Abbey, the Roman Baths, The Pump Room Restaurant, Sally Lunn’s house, the Guildhall, the Corridor Passage.
Tip 2: Pulteney Bridge, Henrietta Park, Holburne Museum, Sydney Gardens, N Parade Bridge, Queen Square, Jane Austen Centre, The Circus, the Royal Crescent, Bath Assembly Rooms, Fashion Museum, Theatre Royal Bath.
Duration: 1 Day. Weather: The best way to discover Bath is to walk on a nice sunny day.
Start & End: Bath Spa Railway Station.
Introduction: The city of Bath is a perfect getaway for a long weekend. Just 90 minutes from London by train and you are in the heart of Bath. 2 nights is usually enough, leaving enough time to see the city, without a rush. Bath is one of England’s most beautiful and historic cities. Bath is Georgian town known for its famous hot springs, Roman Baths and its connection with Jane Austen. With its famous Georgian terraces, thermal spa waters, impressive abbeys, gorgeous gardens and Jane Austen Heritage – Bath is one of UK magnets. It has aristocratic English charm which attracts visitors from all over the world. Bath hosts many historic buildings and the entire city has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All buildings in Bath are built from the creamy gold Bath stone (a type of limestone) and it is so beautiful.
Bath Itinerary: From the Bath Spa Railway station we head northward along Manvers Street. Do not turn right or left (through Dorchester Street). Manvers Street runs from Bath Spa Railway Station past the Police Station towards Parade Gardens and North Parade (see later). On our right is a parking lot, and, behind it, the St. John the Evangelist Church. In the past - there were gardens belonging to this impressive church - but they had been transformed into a parking ugly space. The church exterior is very impressive with exquisite, stunning architecture and tall tower. Free access. But, frequently closed. No indication of opening times:
Try to catch the splendid sights of river Avon behind the the church:
If you are lucky to find the church open - do not miss its spectacular, colorful interiors and its outstanding stained-glass windows:
We continue northward. Manvers Street changes to Pierrepont Road - and we walk along this road until its end. We cross the North parade from our left and right. On our right are the Parade Gardens. If we continue a bit further northward - the Terrace Walk is on our left
and, on our right, is the main entrance to the Parade Gardens. Price (for non-locals only): £1.50 entry fee for adults, 80p for children. Keep your ticket and they will let you in again during the same day. Theses are, actually, are private gardens. But, they are open to the public for a little admission fee. A very quiet and tranquil place to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy town around you. A beautiful garden in the centre of Bath with stunning, breathtaking views of the Pultney bridge (see later, below),l endless flower beds and sculptures, sculptures, fountains and bridges. The deckchairs are free to use and there is a cafe. This park is not to be missed. Pay this small amount and enjoy a well kept and fascinating spot in Bath. There are different views to see from various spots in the gardens:
Statue of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the Parade Gardens in Bath:
Bath Abbey is opposite (WEST) to the Parade Gardens. With your back to the gardens, cross Pierrepont Road and you face the abbey. Its formal name is Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. But, it is so famous as the Bath Abbey. The word abbey comes from the Aramaic word Abba, which means father – and abbeys and monasteries are Catholic institutions. Founded in the 7th century, The Abbey saw the usual ups and downs of English history, from the Norman invasion a thousand years ago through the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII and the Puritan Reformation under Cromwell in the 17thC. In 1539 the church was sold to Humphry Colles of Taunton and stripped bare of its glass and lead was left to decay. Thirty five years later, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that it should be restored via public funding and become the parish church for Bath. In the early 1800s, the old buildings that clustered so tightly around the Abbey that they touched the walls were demolished and the building had space to breathe. Restoration work began under George Phillips Manners, who added the flying buttresses and pinnacles. The Abbey as we know it is the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott, who from 1864 to 1874, completely transformed the inside of the Abbey to conform with his vision of Victorian Gothic architecture. His most significant contribution must surely be the replacement of the ancient wooden ceiling over the nave with the spectacular stone fan vaulting we see today. During the Second World War, Bath Abbey was incredibly fortunate never to take a direct hit. It did however suffer damage from a bomb exploding on the nearby environs which blew out the East window and all the windows in the North side. A small price to pay compared to other parts of the city. Besides being a working church with hundreds of members in attendance, the Abbey also sees close to half a million visitors come through its doors every year.
Have a look around the Abbey. From practically any spot around Bath Abbey, you’ve got a great view of some pretty stunning medieval architecture. If you arrive in the morning, the back (east) side of the church (it is NOT a cathedral) is lighted:
The south facade is watched from York Street:
The west front, originally constructed in 1520, is the best. You’ll see the heavy, decorated doors to the abbey with a large stone statue of Jesus Christ looking down from above them. These particular doors are hardly ever opened, normally only for big events. The real entrance is to the right (south side). There are 12 figures carved into the church under canopies – six on every side of the mighty door. These figures represent the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The west exterior wall is shaded most of the day. Above the window it has unusual carvings decorating it: the Old Testament story of Jacob's dream of two ladders with angels climbing them toward Heaven- commonly called Jacob's Ladder. The story behind this is that Bishop Oliver King is said to have had a dream, seeing the “Heavenly Host on high with angels ascending and descending by ladder”, which inspired the design of the facade thousands of people gaze up at and admire today:
In front of the western facade stands the famous Rebecca's Fountain statue. 'Water is Best' is inscribed on its base (to promote morality and total abstinence from alcohol), which makes perfect sense considering the statue is located in a spa town known for its curative water. The statue was erected by the Bath Temperance Association in year 1862:
Bath Abbey during dusk hours:
The Gothic architecture building is stunning both on the inside and outside. Splendid chapels and lovely stained glass windows. There is an amazing ceiling, famed for its fine fan vaulting designed by Robert and William Vertue, who contributed a similar vault to the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey. The current vaulting is a reconstruction (c.1860) by George Gilbert Scott based on the original design. Fan vaulting is an engineering solution to the problem of how to span the distance between the two opposite walls of a building. It is a development of the arch, and a specifically English architectural solution to the problem. It soars to great heights with such delicacy and feeling of light that it is difficult to remember it is of stone. The interior fan vaulting ceiling, originally installed by Robert and William Vertue, was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott between 1864 and 1874:
There are paired panels of artistic calligraphy. You can see embroidery artwork depicting events in the Bible. The church has two organs and a peal of ten bells. Between the East window and the fan vault is an arch supported hammer beam style by shield carrying angels:
Bath Abbey - the Nave:
The main altar is currently displaying the Trinity Altar Frontal which depicts the springs of living water from the Book of Revelation. its modern feel doesn’t mesh with the rest of the building...
The stained glass and altar at the eastern end of the nave - Jesus Tree: the window depicts 56 scenes from the life of Jesus:
The moving Gethsemane Chapel, the High Altar, and the Chapel of St Alphege. include a book of remembrance and the frontal altar is dedicated to the use of Amnesty International. It is designed to suggest peace beyond suffering, life beyond death, with barbed wire representing the restrictions and barriers of this world and thorns as are our personal problems. If we can break through these obstacles we find our own Garden of Gethsemane where we can leave the past behind and find peace and God:
Choir stalls and their wood carvings in the Abbey:
The thing that strikes you in the Abbey are the memorial plaques. Thousands of people have worshipped and been buried at Bath Abbey, here are a few significant figures who are either buried or have memorials here:
William Bingham (1754-1804): American Senator
Richard “Beau” Nash (1674-1761) – Master of Ceremonies in Bath
Admiral Philip Arthur (1738-1814) – Governor of first European Colony in Australia and Founder of Sydney, Australia
Tablet to Isaac Pitman (1813-1897) printer, spelling reformer and inventor of Pitman shorthand. Apparently his motto was “Time saved is life gained”. Shorthand courses are still available:
Arnold Ridley OBE (1896-1984) – Actor and Playwright
James Quin (1693-1766) – Actor.
Venenzio Rauzzini (1746-1810) was an Italian musician. He was a boy in the Sistine Chapel Choir, then sung in Venice and Milan. He had to leave Milan after many affairs with married women, and went to the Court in Vienna where he worked with Mozart (who wrote for him). He moved to London in 1774, then Bath 1780 (he spent many years directing and financing concerts in the city). He worked with Haydn (who wrote for him):
Tomb of Jane, wife of Sir William Waller, who commanded the parliamentary forces against the Royalists, Battle of Lansdown, 1643. Sir William intended to be buried with her. He was however buried in London:
The stained glass windows really steal the show. Fifty two windows, tier after tier of both plain glass and stained, make up eighty percent of the walls. Of all the churches I’ve seen, Bath Abbey has the most windows.
This stained glass window, depicting angels, is in the south transept of the abbey:
This stained glass is the coronation of King Edgar - the first king of whole England. The first King of all England, King Edgar (Edgar the Peaceful) was crowned on this site in 973. The service set the precedent for the coronation of all future Kings and Queens of England including Elizabeth II. Tt was also the first time that a King’s wife was crowned alongside her husband, as queen:
This is the West Window, situated above the main doors to the Abbey. It shows Old Testament scenes and characters:
The main organ was reconstructed in 1997 by Klais Orgelball of Bonn, Germany. The Continuo organ was installed in 1999. In the summer months visitors from all over the world are able to enjoy the many concerts which include lunchtime promenade concerts played on the superb Klais organ:
The tower or roof excursion is recommended: £6 adults, £3 children. There are 212 steps to the top of the Tower arranged in two spiral staircases with an opportunity to rest in between. Climb the stairs, through a narrow stone spiral staircase, to the bell ringing room, From the bell chamber you are able to get a wonderful view of Bath city from various points (three informative stops) on your way to the top. It is amazing to look down onto the city and see the places you'll see later along this itinerary.
The Roman Baths, from the roof of the Abbey:
City houses from the Abbey roof:
The main entrance to the Roman Baths is SOUTH-WEST to Bath Abbey. With your back to the southern front of the church - walk straight ahead (1 minute walk) and turn left to the main entrance of the baths. The entrance is in Abbey Church Yard:
Open: basically the Roman Baths are open every day, except 25 and 26 December. The opening hours include special late evening entry during mid- June, July and August. January - February: 09.30 - 17.00, 16 March - June: 09.00 - 17.00, 17 June - 31 August: 09.00 - 21.00, September - October: 09.00 - 17.00, November - December: 09.30 - 17.00. Summer prices (other seasons: deduct 1.50 - 2.00 pounds...): Adult(9.00-17.00) £17.00, Adult(17.00-21.00) £15.50, Student(Full-time with valid I.D) £13.75,
Senior(65+) £13.75, Child(Age 6-16) £9.80. Free audio-guides are available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. Public guided tours starting from the Great Bath on the hour, every hour are included at no extra charge, subject to availability. There are toilets near the main reception before you buy your ticket(s). The Roman Baths Kitchen, opposite the main entrance in Abbey Church Yard, is a no-frills restaurant inside this expensive site. Delicious food. Good quality. Medium prices. Limited selection. Expect heavy loads of visitors in the midday hours. The Roman Baths Kitchen is an original Georgian townhouse, lovingly transformed into a contemporary restaurant. There is another famous restaurant in the Roman Baths - the Pump Room (see below).
Two expensive gift shops. Bath's premier attraction can get very busy. EXPECT WAITING AND QUEUING UP FOR, AT LEAST, HALF AN HOUR. Huge queues of visitors to the Roman Baths !!! Avoid weekends, July and August. Photography is allowed but without tripod.
The baths were originally built around 44 A.D. but only later discovered by English archaeologists in the later 19th century. Like Stonehenge, Bath is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Romans Baths were used daily and weekly for ancient people to get clean, socialize, and relax. The source was the local hot springs, which they would use to fuel the different sections of the bath house. The Celts revered the goddess Sulis (and you will see statues of her near the baths) and they equated her to the Roman goddess, Minerva (goddess of wisdom). So often you can see her being called Sulis Minerva.
Model of the The Roman Baths and the temple of Sulis Minerva:
The bronze head of the goddess Sulis Minerva:
The historical and cultural aspects preserved here are amazing ! Fluent and informative signage to aid in the understanding of the Roman Bathing habits. The audio-guides contribute a lot. Plenty of interactive exhibits for all ages. Plan on at least a 2 hours visit. Bear in mind you would queue up for several artifacts or exhibited highlights. The Roman Baths are highly famed for being over crowded. Frequently, long queues to get in. Better, come as early as possible near 09.00 or during the second half of the day (after 15.00-16.00). But the major pro of this site is its atmosphere: you are easily and quickly feeling like a Roman citizen living in the Roman times... Even if the whole site is, surprisingly, quite small - it is perfectly well preserved (really a standout for how intact it is !!!) and equipped with MANY interesting, original items. The Roman Baths were not discovered and explored until the late nineteenth century.
There is a stunning museum, under the Pump Room, displaying fantastic artefacts discovered on the site. The most famous highlights are gilded bronze head of Minerva and a striking carved Gorgon's Head, as well as some of thousands Roman coins thrown into the spring as offerings to the healing goddess. The underground museum is very busy and there is very little space to walk and very little opportunity to stop and read the signs without being disturbed by the overcrowding and flow of people. With the lion's share of the baths, and, especially, in the museum - there is limited space to move around. This is one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom with over a million visitors a year.
Face of the Gorgon which dominated the Temple inner courtyard:
Sulis Minerva Temple - theatrical mask:
Gravestone of Tancinus - "Lucius Vitellius Tancinus, son of Mantai, a citizen of Spain, from Caurium,¹ a trooper of the Vettonian Wing, Citizens of Rome, forty-six years old with twenty-six years service. Here he lies.":
Man from Aqua Sulis:
Luna and Sol from the temple courtyard:
Mercury and Rosmerta (Celtic Godess):
A mosaic artwork well preserved:
The Romans constructed a complex of bathhouses above Bath's three natural hot springs. In the baths' centre was standing a temple dedicated to the healing goddess Sulis-Minerva. They were/are encircled by 18th- and 19th-century buildings. The baths now form one of the best-preserved ancient Roman spas in the world,
The baths in the entrance floor:
The heart of the complex is the Great Bath: a pool filled with steaming, heated water from the 'Sacred Spring' residing in a depth of 1.6 metres. In the past the central bath has been covered by a barrel-vaulted roof. The entire structure above the level of the pillar bases is a later construction.
The Great Bath from the entrance floor:
The statue of King Bladud overlooking the King's Bath at the Roman Baths carries the date of 1699, but its real age is felt to be much older than this:
Walk around the terrace which overlooks the Great Bath and is lined with Victorian statues of Roman Emperors and Governors of Roman Britain. The statues on the terrace date to 1894, as they were carved in advance of the grand opening of the Roman Baths in 1897. The view from the Terrace is stunning, but what you can see from here is less than a quarter of the site as a whole:
The water flows at a rate of 250,000 gallons per day at temperature of 46 degrees centigrade (115 F.) and contains 43 minerals. The construction demonstrates advanced hydraulic engineering skills of the Romans in the art of taming natural springs. At the centre of Aqua Sulis complex was a temple that was designed so the hot springs arose from the ground within the temple courtyard with the water channeled into an elaborate bathing facility:
The Sacred pool lies at the very heart of the ancient site. It rose within a courtyard of the past Temple of Sulis Minerva. Its water fed the ancient Roman Baths. it was a focal point for worship before the Roman temple and baths were built but also during the Roman period. Many of the offerings that were thrown into the Spring throughout the Roman period can be seen in the museum collection today:
More bathing pools were/are situated to the east and west, with excavated sections revealing the genius system that heated the bathing rooms.
Underfloor heating system in West Baths:
The East Baths:
The last (and not least) attraction in the Roman Baths is The Pump Room Restaurant. One of the city’s most elegant places to enjoy stylish, modern-British cuisine. It is open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. You can indulge yourself with a Champagne afternoon tea for £30, with scones and thick clotted cream, sandwiches and dainty cakes, all served in opulent splendour under the chandeliers. Opening Times: Morning menu Morning coffee and breakfast: 10.00 - noon, Lunch menu Noon - 14.30, Set Lunch menu Noon - 14.15, Afternoon tea menu 14.30 - close. It is a wonderful experience with the fabulous surroundings, great food, attentive service, posh atmosphere, lovely pianist and friendly staff around. Although this is a majestic room, expect it to be heavily crowded (expect queuing up as well...) , still maintainig its refined and peaceful background. Inside, it is a calm retreat, and you can easily feel like in the Victorian era. FIRST CLASS EXPERIENCE:
A picture near the Pump Room: Heile Selassie visiting Bath:
And while you’re there, don’t forget to taste the spa waters from the King’s Fountain. With 43 different minerals it’s apparently the cure for all sorts of ills, though with its metallic tang it’s a bit of an acquired taste.
We exit the Roman Baths. With our back to the western front of Bath Abbey, we turn left to Stall Street,
a pedestrians-only road with loads of shops. We walk with our face southward and turn left to St. Lawrence road - full with umbrellas:
We return BACK along Stall Street, turn BACK right to York Street. We walk again whole of York Street (our face to the east) until its end. The Huntsman Pub is on our right:
We turn right (south-east) to N Parade Street to see one of the oldest houses in Bath, home of the original Bath bun - the Sally Lunn’s house at 4 North Parade Passage, where it has been since 1680. Open: MON – SAT 10.00 – 18.00, SUN 10.00 – 18.00. Sally Lunns serves up a menu of delicious savory and sweet buns. Quite often, you have to queue- up for the delicious buns. Although this place is VERY small, it serves fantastically charming food.
Head east on N Parade toward Pierrepont St. Turn left onto Pierrepont and you'll see the Guildhall (High Street) on the right after 160 m. A gorgeous Georgian building built by Thomas Baldwin in 1775. The Guildhall has been at the heart of Bath's administrative life for over 350 years. It continues to house the Register Office, Mayor's parlour and city archives. The Guildhall has a number of rooms for private hire including the Banqueting Room, Brunswick Room and Council Chamber. The interior includes a banqueting hall with engaged Corinthian columns. It contains 18th century chandeliers and original royal portraits. The room is used on royal visits to the city:
Opposite, on your left, along the High Street is the Corridor Passage. The arcade was opened on 12 October 1825. Following in the steps of the fashionable shopping arcades of Paris and London’s Burlington Arcade (built in 1819), The Corridor became one of Britain’s first examples of indoor, covered arcades. Over 10,000 people and local dignitaries attended the opening of the arcade which was designed and built by local architect Henry Edmund Goodridge:
A bit further, on our right - is the entrance to the Markets. Here, I found a modest restaurant called ... "Cafe". Cheap and fair portions for a quick lunch or dinner with 3-4 tables. No More. Here, we turn to Tip 2 (below) - starting our second half of the day in wonderful Bath with Pulteney Bridge.
Bath - Tip 2:
Main Attractions: Pulteney Bridge, Henrietta Park, Holburne Museum, Sydney Gardens, N Parade Bridge, Queen Square, Jane Austen Centre, The Circus, the Royal Crescent, Bath Assembly Rooms, Fashion Museum, Theatre Royal Bath.
This part of the Bath day - is, mainly, a lovely leisurely walk around the outskirts of the city. If we turn right from High Street to the Bridge Street and walk further east for 50 m. we see the Avon river and the Pulteney Bridge, a beautiful arched bridge over the scenic River Avon. Pulteney Bridge crosses the River Avon in central Bath, just upstream of a parabolic weir and lock system. The bridge is one of very few worldwide to have shops lining both of its sides, another example being Florence's Ponte Vecchio. Pulteney Bridge was built in 1774 and connected the new town of Bathwick to Bath. One side is very Georgian and the other side is a patchwork of buildings, another reason for having been compared to the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. The bridge itself has several shops on it which are small and eclectic, making it a really interesting place to wander along with plenty to see and places to stop and shop or have a cup of tea. Try to walk along the river bank and see the bridge from both sides for a real treat. Boat trips (to Bathampton and back) available at down at the river banks.
We cross the Avon river, along Pulteney Bridge, from west to east. Walk along Argyle Street. On the second intersection - we turn left (north) to Henrietta Street. The street was built around 1785 by Thomas Baldwin. The road consists of Georgian buildings and 3 storey houses. In its end resides Villa Magdala:
Find an entrance into Henrietta Park (which extends south to Henrietta Street) and cross it from north to south - ending in Great Pulteney Street - another typical Georgian street. This is a pleasant park and heartily recommended in a bright day. It was opened to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria of 1897. It contains many fine trees, extensive shrubberies and beautiful flower beds. Furthermore, there is a Sensory Garden which is planted with many aromatic and scented flowers and shrubs. Other attractions are a pergola covered with roses, and a a white Wisteria. Today, superb bedding displays are arranged around a central pool and fountain. An oasis of peace, tranquility and beauty just minutes away from the bustle of city life:
We walk along Great Pulteney Street, again from west to east. In its end we arrive to the Holburne Museum. A lovely surprise. The museum, actually, resides in the former Sydney Hotel at the end of Great Pulteney Street. FREE admission to the permanent exhibition and open daily 10.00 to 17.00 (Sunday and Bank Holiday 11.00 to 17.00). Bath's first public art gallery, home to fine and decorative arts. Built around the collection of Sir William Holburne. In 1882 Sir William's collection of over 4,000 objects, pictures and books was bequeathed to the people of Bath by his sister, Mary Anne Barbara Holburne (1802-1882). Significant acquisitions have greatly increased the Museum's collection of British eighteenth and early nineteenth-century paintings and miniatures. Several masterpieces of well known artists were donated to the museum in year 1955 like: Gainsborough, Stubbs and Turner. The top floor gallery has the works by Thomas Gainsborough including some full length portraits. The museum is a nice surprise. The main highlight are the highly-ranked changing exhibition under payment.
Imari Collection (town in west Japan):
Actaeon turned into a stag by Diana:
Crouching Venus - Antonio Susini:
Beadwork basket - Charles II's Catherine of Braganza, 1660 - 1670:
Ester and Ahasurus, Silk, 1640:
The Witcombe Cabinet, 1697:
The Byam Family, Thomas Gainsborough, 1762- 1766:
The Holburne Museum is surrounded by Sydney Gardens. Take a stroll in the gardens and return to the main entrance of Holburne Museum. The grounds here are very nice. Sydney Gardens lie south to and between Beckford Street and Sydney Street. Sydney Gardens provided a favourite walk for Jane Austen (lived at number 4 Sydney Place) who set part of her novel Northanger Abbey across from the Holburne Museum/Sydney Hotel in Great Pulteney Street. Austen lived in Sydney Place, just off Great Pulteney Street. The Kennet and Avon Canal also runs through the park via two short tunnels and under two cast iron footbridges dating from 1800. The whole area starred in several famous films. The Holburne stood in for the Devonshire villa in the 2008 film The Duchess starring Keira Knightley, and for Steyne's mansion in Vanity Fair, the 2004 adaption of William Thackeray’s novel, starring Reese Witherspoon. The museum appears in the film Change of Heart, also known as Two and Two Make Six with Janette Scott and George Chakiris from 1961.It appears in two BBC TV series, The Count of Monte Cristo starring Alan Badel and Michael Gough (1964), and Softly Softly (1969). It can be seen in the German TV film Four Seasons starring Tom Conti and Michael York, and in the Bollywood movie Cheeni Kum (2006). (Taken from Wikipedia). The gardens were planned and laid out by the architect Harcourt Masters in 1795. These gardens are the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the UK:
Minerva's Temple in the gardens:
From the main entrance of Holburne Museum we continue southward along Pulteney Road (South). On our left we pass St. Mary church
and, on our right the Bath Bowling Club:
We turn right (west) to the N Parade and cross the Avon River (again) over the N Parade Bridge. A marvelous view, looking at the river and Pulteney Bridge in the north:
At the intersection of N Parade x Duke Street - get a nice view of Chapel of St. John of Beverley:
In the most eastern end of N Parade - you have a nice view of the Guildhall Markets Building.
We turn right (north) and climb along the Grand Parade. Here we face again the Avon river and Pulteney Bridge:
With the Pulteney Bridge on our right - we turn back left to Bridge Street and right to the High Street. On our right is the Podium commercial centre. With the Podium to our right (east) we turn, diagonally, left to the New Bond Street. Slight right to Old Bond Street and, turn LEFT (west) to Quiet street. Continue westward along Quiet Street, and, further, along Wood Street.
While arriving to the Queen Square, turn right and climb up along Gay Street. The Queen Square is surrounded by beautuful Georgian houses and defined by Wikipedia as: "Queen Square is the first element in the most important architectural sequence in Bath, which includes the Circus and the Royal Crescent". Queen Square was the first ambitious development by the architect John Wood, the Elder, who later lived in a house on the square. A key component of Wood's vision for Bath - the square is named in honour of Queen Caroline, wife of George II. The obelisk in the centre of the square, was erected by Beau Nash in 1738 in honour of Frederick, Prince of Wales. It formerly rose from a circular pool to an height of 21 m, but a severe gale in 1815 truncated it:
On your right (east), at 31–40 Gay Street, the Jane Austen Centre. A completed wax figure of Jane Austen was unveiled to the world media on Wednesday 9 July 2014, at the Jane Austen Centre. The figure being displayed in a specially created space within the Centre. Situated in an original Georgian townhouse, it tells the story of Jane’s time in Bath, including the effect that living here had on her and her writing. Open:
Winter (November – March) - Sunday – Friday: 10.00 - 16.00, Saturday 9.45 - 17.30. Summer (3rd April 2017 – 29th October 2017) - Every Day 9.45 - 17.30. July – August - Every Day 9:30 - 18.00. Prices: Adults - £11, Seniors - £9.50, Students - £8.50, Children - £5.50. Very expensive, well-laid, sentimental fantasy:
After climbing up 320 m. along Gay Street - we arrive to an impressively rounded landmark: The Circus. This rounded remarkable structure consists of three curved segments of limestone townhouses. The striking attraction was designed by the architecturally-obsessed John Wood the Elder, an architect also responsible for the former Queen Square. Unfortunately John Wood the Elder didn’t live to see his plans turned into reality, due to consistent opposition and his death less than three months before construction of The Circus began in 1754. His son, John Wood the Younger, completed the build-up in 1768. It was originally known as The King’s Circus. Wood was inspired by the Roman Colosseum for his design (although creating The Circus to face inwardly, as opposed to the Colosseum’s design to be seen from the outside). Looking closely at the detail on the houses' stonework you’ll recognize many details like animals and nautical symbols. It’s thought, for example, that the acorns displayed - are tributes to the ancient Druid culture, which the Woods were taken up with and that the Woods admired so much. The buildings themselves have Masonic symbols, as well, on their frontages at first floor level and this is repeated around the whole circle. In the 18th century the centre of The Circus was a pool that supplied water to the surrounding houses, but it turned out to be a garden for the residents in the 1800s. The painter Thomas Gainsborough lived at number 17 between 1758 and 1744, using the house as his portrait studio. More recently, Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage also lived at The Circus. During the Bath Blitz in 1942, part of The Circus was badly bombed, demolishing several of the houses. They have now been reconstructed and restored in the original style. There are several very old trees that mark the spot. The leafy trees are turning orange and yellow during the Autumn and late Winter. The Circus offers great pictures, especially during the 2nd half of the day (though there are too many parked cars making it difficult to get a free shot at a frontage). Wonderful Georgian, eighteenth century architecture from the hey days of Bath !
Take Brock Street to the west (a bit north-west) and, after 3 minutes, you arrive to the Royal Crescent. The Royal Crescent was built between 1767 and 1775 to the design of John Wood the Younger, and forms a semi-ellipse of thirty terraced townhouses arranged around a great lawn. Of the Royal Crescent's 30 townhouses, 10 are still full-size townhouses; 18 have been split into flats of various sizes; 1 is the No. 1 Royal Crescent museum (see below) and the large central house at number 16 is the Royal Crescent Hotel (see below). It is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the UK. The Royal Crescent is one of the many buildings made from the distinctive honey-coloured Bath Stone. Quarried out from the hills around the city, it’s a type of limestone that was first used by the Romans and later for churches, bridges and houses all around Bath. The Georgian stone façades remain much as when they were first built. This curved terrace of Georgian townhouses arcs around a perfectly manicured lawn. Built in the 1770s, they haven’t changed much since then, on the outside at least. Most are private residences, when they’re not being used by film crews for period dramas:
In front of the Royal Crescent is a ha-ha, a lawn with the outer face sloped and turfed, making an effective but invisible partition between the lower and upper lawns. The ha-ha is designed so as not to interrupt the view from Royal Victoria Park, and to be invisible until seen from close by.
No visit to the Crescent would be complete without the unique insight to Georgian life and culture offered by Bath Preservation Trust and the museum at No. 1. An historic house museum, owned and maintained by the Bath Preservation Trust. The Bath Preservation Trust has been working during 2012-13 to re-unite Number One with its original servants' wing at Number 1A Royal Crescent, which has been in use as a separate dwelling for many years. No. 1 serves also as the Trust's headquarters. You can go back in time to the 18th century inside and see how the Georgians lived, complete with authentic furniture and decoration. The museum is open from 4 February 2017 until Sunday 17 December 2017: MON - 12.00 - 17.30, TUE-SUN 10.30 - 17.30. Last entry is 16.30. Prices: Adults – £10, Seniors (65+) – £7, Students (with student card) and pupils over 16 in full-time education (with ID) – £7, Children (6-16) – £4, Family (2 adults, up to four children) – £22:
To the left of the entrance, the dining room has been recreated at the moment of the desert, with the table-cloth removed and fruits and sweets displayed on the mahogany table:
The Servants' Hall:
Upstairs you can see the elegant Drawing Room, where fashionable visitors took tea, or slip into a delightfully feminine bedroom:
Royal Crescent Hotel. Two 18th-century Georgian townhouses have been merged to create a five-star hotel and spa. This luxury hotel spreads over two townhouses in the centre of Bath's showpiece Georgian crescent, with a lovely garden and four further Georgian buildings at the back of the garden house the spa, a stylish bar and the pretty Dower House Restaurant, all of which have a much more contemporary style. It has lots of period features, a hidden garden and stunning views. Double rooms start from from £265, including breakfast:
The Royal Crescent is close to Victoria Park. The eastern side of the park borders the Royal Crescent, But, to enjoy this wonderful park - you have to walk to its western part which has a botanical garden, amazing flower beds, ancient trees, manicured lawns, tennis courts, bowling green, children's playground, skate park, duck ponds, golf course and much more. The street that is known today as "The Royal Crescent" was originally named "The Crescent." It is claimed that the adjective "Royal" was added at the end of the 18th century after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany had stayed there. A lovely expanse of green open space and cultivated gardens close to the centre of Bath. Very photogenic garden with beautiful art and flower sculptures. A fabulous way to spend even a few hours ONLY when the weather is good:
Just in case you only sample the the Victoria Park and return to the Royal Crescent - we'll make our way, on foot, back to the Bath Spa train station. On our way back we shall visit, shortly, a couple of landmarks. Return to the Circus via Brock Street, We continue, in the same direction, eastward, through Bennet Street. On your left is the The Museum Of East Asian Art. On your right is the Bath Assembly Rooms - Elegant 18th-century Ball Room plus the Octagon, Tea Room and Card Room with marble and chandeliers. The Bath Assembly Rooms, designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769, are now open to the public as a visitor attraction. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building. The 30 metre ballroom is still adorned with the original Whitefriars crystal chandeliers. The rooms house portraits by Gainsborough, Ramsey and Hoare and is made up of four rooms - The Ball Room (the largest 18th century room in Bath), The Tea Room (used for concerts in the 18th century), The Octagon and The Card Room (both used for music and playing cards and for listening to the organ). Open: MAR OCT: 11.00 - 17.00, NOV - DEC: 1.00 - 16.00. FREE when not in use for booked functions. Georgian era and glamor brought alive. Do not miss the classy chandeliers...:
Adjacent to the Assembly is the Fashion Museum which is also situated within the building, on the lower ground floor, and is home to one of the world’s finest collection of fashionable dress, creating an inspiring venue for any occasion. Open: January - February 10.30 - 16.00, March - October 10.30 - 17.00, November - December 10.30 - 16.00. Prices: Adult - £9.00,
Student(Full-time with valid I.D) - £8.00, Senior(65+) - £8.00, Child(Age 6-16) - £7.00, Family(2 adults and up to 4 children) - £29.00. NO online tickets. For beautiful clothes' lovers - it is, indeed, a magnet site, a first-class museum with wonderful collections:
We continue back southward down along Gay Street. The street continues down as Barton Street. We turn right to Beauford Square:
Immediately after turning to this square we face the Theatre Royal Bath. Built in 1805 this wonderful Regency theatre is worth going to see just for the decorative interior. It is a small, Intimate (meaning great views of the stage from wherever you sit), ornate theatre that really shines inside far more than outside. Air of authenticity not found in modern theatres, Wide range of shows. Try to catch a Shakespeare play. Ridiculous prices for students. There are also matinee performances:
A bit further down along Barton Styreet is the The Garricks Head Pub.
Opposite it - the Komedia theatre. The next turn to the right (west) brings you the Kingsmead Square with a giant plane tree in the centre of the square. It was laid out by John Strahan in the 1730s. Many of the houses are listed buildings. Number 12, 13 and 14 is made up of Rosewell House, which forms one building with Numbers 1 and 2 Kingsmead Street. The house is named after T Rosewell, whose sign, a rose and a well, can be seen on the baroque facade with the date 1736:
From Kingsmead Square continue south-west along New Street. Turn 45 degrees LEFT (south-east) to James Street and St. James Parade. On your right the Bath College. In the end of this street - you find the McDonald restaurant. Turn LEFT and you arrive to the Bath Spa station.