Visitors to Bath love the city for its Roman ruins and for its Georgian architecture. This compact and lovely city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the remains of the Roman Baths are actually housed in the same building as the Pump Room made famous in Jane Austin’s novels! This area forms the heart of the city, and is an obvious draw for visitors, but it is also a good base from which to set out and explore some of the iconic architecture for which Bath is famous.
From the Roman Baths, head towards the River Avon, and, on the way, you will find Bath Abbey, Parade Gardens, and then the Pulteney Bridge. All are well worth exploring, with the Pulteney Bridge (designed by Robert Adams, and completed in the late 18th Century) notable for the shops and cafes which are built into it, and which fill its entire span.
Remaining on the same side of the river and moving north, it is then just a short walk to the Royal Crescent and the Circus, which feature in so many images of Bath. One of the things you will notice as you walk around the city is the uniformity of the building material used. This gives the streets a coherent feel, and helps to unify Bath as a whole. The pale, honey-coloured stone is a type of limestone, and is known as Bath Stone. Whilst materials and design are, obviously, central to the architecture of the Royal Crescent and the Circus, it is also fascinating to see their design as viewed from the air. The layout resembles a key, and it has been suggested that this represents a masonic symbol. The true answer, however, is more likely to be found in studying Stonehenge and its ceremonial approach, along with nearby stone circles, as these were an inspiration to the designer of the Circus, John Wood the Elder.
The Circus itself is a relatively tight circle of Georgian terraces framing a central garden space. After navigating the circle itself, better views of the four-storey terraces can be had from the garden. The Circus has three entrance points, but if you leave via Brock Street, this will lead you to the Royal Crescent.
Bath’s Royal Crescent faces out across the open space of Victoria Park, where the public can sit on a fine day and enjoy the beautiful setting. The Crescent comprises thirty terraces, one of which is a luxury spa hotel where very lucky visitors can luxuriate in the finest hospitality. Most, however, are content to stroll across the cobbles and take in the views, before exploring Victoria Park, which offers great photo opportunities with the Royal Crescent as a backdrop.
Bath is a relatively small city, ideal for exploring on foot, but sight-seeing can leave you a little jaded. Before settling down for the evening in one of the city’s many lovely restaurants, why not sit back, relax and finish off the afternoon with a tour of Bath on an open-top bus?
Enjoy your trip!