Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bath - A City of History

As the only British city to be regarded in its entirety as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is undoubtedly one of the most historically important and interesting cities in all of the UK. Originally settled as a Roman resort called "Aquae Sulis" due to the presence of the world famous thermal springs located there, today Bath is a thriving resort town, and one of the most popular tourist spots in the country.

The Roman Baths (via)
The Roman Baths are undoubtedly the main attraction to most of the 4 million people that make the 1.5 hour trip from London. First noticed by the Romans and then made popular once again under Stuart and Georgian rule for their supposed healing properties, Bath became one of the in-style destinations for the British upper class and has remained so to this day. But the Roman Baths are not all that Bath has to offer. 

The Royal Crescent (via)

Some of the beautiful green space in Bath
Given its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, it should not be surprising that the city offers more than just the baths. A fantastic Abbey, some of the best examples of Georgian Architecture in all of England, one of only four store-lined bridges in the world, great parks, wonderful shopping, and a fantastic rugby team all await visitors to the City of Bath. 

The entrance to Bath Abbey

As we only had a day to explore the city, we decided to use some of the experience that we had gathered on our trip and utilize the free walking tour of Bath provided by the Mayor of Bath's Corps of Honorary Guides. These guides, many of which are retirees with extensive knowledge of the city, provide free (really free - like no-tips-allowed-free) approximately 2 hour walking tours of the major sites of Bath. 

The Pulteney Bridge - one of only four shop-lined bridges in the world

Unfortunately for us it was pouring rain the day we visited, but our guide made the best of it and we spent as much time as we could under cover. We learned about the history of the Roman Baths and the early settlement of the city, how Jane Austen ties into the city, the different architectural styles of the city's neighbourhoods, and many more interesting facts. We even saw Nicolas Cage's house.

The River Avon and the Pulteney Bridge (via)

Even though we got soaked all day long, Bath still was a fascinating city to visit and well worth the time. It is easy to get to via train from London (and the station is right in the center of town), and is compact enough to be explored by foot in a day or two.

By Travis Huyghebaert with No comments

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Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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