Bath is a spectacularly beautiful city standing on the River Avon, among the hills of England’s West Country. The city’s compactness and striking architecture – Roman baths and sweeping Georgian terraces – combine to produce one of the most elegant sights in Europe.
The ancient Celts, who first inhabited the area, believed that Bath’s hot springs were sacred, but it was the Romans who constructed the temple and the famous baths – now restored to their original grandeur. In the early eighteenth century, under the direction of the socialite, Beau Nash, Bath developed into England’s premier spa town, where the rich and celebrated members of society gathered to ‘take the waters’ and enjoy the town’s theatres and concert rooms.
During this period the renowned architect, John Wood, laid the foundations for a new Georgian city to be built using the honey-coloured stone that gives Bath its mellow and indefinable quality.
However, Bath is not just a museum piece. In addition to the annual Bath Festival – now recognised as one of the most prestigious in Europe – there are many other Arts activities spread over the year. Art can always be seen at the Victoria Art Gallery, at the University-run Holbourne Museum and at many other, more intimate, galleries and shops.
Bath is also home to the gallery of the Royal Photographic Society and to museums of Native Art, East Asian Art, the museum of Costume and the famous Roman Baths, which were built approximately 2000 years ago.
The Hot Springs beneath the baths yield over one million litres per day, at a constant temperature of 46o/c. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century the baths, over a period of time became covered by mud, stones and water. The Victorians later rediscovered the baths.
Visitors can spend a really enjoyable day just investigating the small alleys, stopping now and again for a coffee or even a locally brewed beer in a hidden away street or perhaps go and visit many of the museums and galleries or the fascinating antiques markets.
The river Avon runs through the centre of Bath and this is a pleasant area to walk along or to go for a pleasure cruise. An unusual feature is Pulteney Bridge, which has shops on both sides.