Visiting the Past in Bath

Bath

Bath is well known for it’s historic links. It was first established as a top destination for rest and relaxation in the first century when the Romans arrived in Britain and took advantage of the healing thermal waters they had found. Over the next three hundred years they built up a vast bathing complex, the surviving parts of which are still a major tourist attraction today.

However this does mean that the Georgian side of Bath’s history can get overlooked so here are a few of the top things to do in Bath if you want to rediscover the romance of the Regency period.

BathSome of the places that were popular to visit among the Georgians are still around today and well worth a look. Amongst these are a trip to the grand Assembly Rooms where public balls were often held, the luxurious Pump Rooms where you can stop for lunch or afternoon tea (although booking is recommended if you want to be sure of getting a table), and Sydney Gardens – one of the first commercial pleasure gardens to be created and a highly desirable place to be seen at.

A few of the figures you might have seen wandering along the garden paths include the trendsetter Beau Brummel, the astronomer William Herschel and the author Jane Austen. Both Herschel and Austen now have museums dedicated to them in the city and both are well worth a visit. In the Jane Austen Centre all the guides are in period costume adding to the historical atmosphere, and Number One the Royal Crescent, a Regency town house museum, is particularly good to investigate if you want to imagine yourself back in the era.

There is much to explore in Bath so going for just a daytrip really isn’t enough; finding the right place to stay is key. Bath is certainly not lacking in hotels, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts, but if you want to really immerse yourself in the Georgian era then Dukes Hotel is a great choice. Their breakfast menu is hard to beat – the smoked salmon in particular is to be recommended, and as this luxurious guesthouse still retains many original features it has bags of character so it’s easy to lose yourself in the Regency atmosphere while staying here.

Bath

Following a restful night of sleep some other activities that can be highly recommended include a tour of the city in a horse-drawn carriage, renting a rowing boat and taking a trip down the river for a riverside picnic, exploring the grandeur of the Abbey, visiting the Fashion Museum, and if you have time, also taking in a matinee at Bath’s Theatre Royal.

This is just scratching the surface of what Bath has to offer visitors, especially if you also want to investigate the independent boutiques, restaurants and galleries (and for rugby fans then watching a game at the rugby ground will surely be high on the list of things to do), but it’s a good way to begin discovering Bath and to bring a cultural twist to your next city break.

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