I have wanted to visit Bath in FOREVER! I love everything about it; the architecture, the beautiful Pulteney Bridge, the gardens, the history of the roman baths and now I love it even more.
Bath is relatively small, ideal for a busy day trip. Here's what we fitted in in 24 hours...
We dropped our bags off at the Francis Hotel, a fabulous and exciting hotel (which I will post pictures of below) and headed up the hill to 'The Circus'. The circus has a sad story behind it, it was designed by architect John Wood who unfortunately died less than 3 months before the final stone was laid of what is now considered a masterpiece. The 3 sections of the circus surround what used to be a reservoir supplying the surrounding houses with water, now green land, especially pretty when we visited with a sheet of autumn leaves across the ground.
Famouses like Nicholas Cage and painter Thomas Gainsborough have lived in the beautiful architecture using it as his portrait studio. What's fascinating is that above the windows of the circus terraces, lay different emblems such as acorns, coats of arms and symbols. They appear to be 'one of a kind' but some are repeated to make up the 525 emblems in total.
Less than 5 minutes walk away is 'The Royal Crescent', even more stunning and now home the the Royal hotel, a museum at number 1 and private houses.
We called in at Casa Iguanas on the way to the roman baths for a homemade sandwich. It is also a cocktail and wine tasting bar (which we skipped but would love to try next time). Highly recommended.
The roman baths are next door to the beautiful abbey which pops out at you when you turn off the high street with is honey coloured walls and stainglass windows. We had preordered tickets for the roman baths which meant we skipped the queue and were allowed straight in. With it being a saturday, the queue for people without tickets was quite long and although there was a fabulous guy on a guitar outside the entrance, I would recommend pre-ordering.
The ticket gives you a half hour experience of the baths (not that anyone was checking) so I was surprised at how much there was to see. You are given a hand held audio guide for the walking tour to listen to as and when you please starting on the balcony overlooking the bath, surrounded by the statues of roman emperors and shadowed by the cathedral behind. The tour then takes you through the museum with tombs, skeletons and even a taste of the water... which is gross at 30+ degrees but a must-try with 40 minerals and "healing powers".
Over a million litres of spring water at 42 degrees still fills the bathing site each day, visibly bubbling away through the windows as you walk around the site. The romans believed the bubbling water was the work of the gods which is why it is still believed to have healing powers.
I found the bath itself fascinating. The number of people entering is clearly limited but I still felt like it was a peaceful place to be, despite pictures being taken, people were quiet and many sat just watching.
For kids, there are interactive activities and real life romans to chat to or get pictures with.
Pulteney bridge is one of the worlds most beautiful bridges and only 1 of 2 bridges to have shops built into it. The shops range from tea rooms to antiques looking over the river with it's horseshoe shaped weir. There are several boat trips which we unfortuately couldn't fit in. Best time to take a picture of the bridge is the morning as it is in shadow by the afternoon.
For dinner we booked The Ponte Vecchio (names after the other bridge with shops built into it in Italy). We were greeted by really friendly staff, if you can, ask to sit upstairs, next to the window for the view of the bridge and river. The pizzas were delicious and lined our stomach for the unplanned night ahead.
After dinner we headed to Framptons, a cool cocktail bar looking over the river where the whisky sours were too good to just have one. Being whisky drinkers, we googled whisky bars in Bath and found the Hideout, a bar built in a cellar with a cosy atmosphere and over 100 whiskies to try. The managers were really friendly with great knowledge, making cocktails to suit your tastedbuds at a good price. We ended up going out with the managers after closing time and the rest of the night is a blur.
We woddled back to our beautiful hotel which I have posted pictures of below. The best 24 hours in a long time. I love Bath before, I love it even more now!
Have you been to Bath? Did we miss anything?