A Local Guide to Central Bath
In the very heart of Somerset, tucked inside the Avon Valley between the Cotswolds and the Mendip Hills, Bath is known the nation over for its stunning Georgian architecture and perfectly preserved historical landmarks.
A Brief History of Central Bath
First founded by the Romans between the 1st and 5th centuries, Bath became an elegant spa city during this era, with the stunning baths and temple as the centrepiece of the ancient city.
The 4th century AD saw the decline of Roman civilisation, with most Roman soldiers abandoning the area and marking the end of Roman Bath. The majority of the grand buildings fell into disrepair, replaced by simple wooden huts.
The Saxon invasion of England led to the capture of Bath, with settlements residing there for centuries. The Middle Ages saw the local Bishop move his seat to Bath, creating the abbey which still remains today.
Bath continued to be a quiet market town from then until the 17th century, but the 18th century brought aristocracy into the city under Georgian rule. Jane Austen, possibly Bath’s most famous resident, called Bath her home during this time. The use of Bath stone soon meant the city was covered in honey-coloured architecture, with wealthy people flocking to fill homes dripping with class and culture.
The beautiful Bath Abbey was built during the mediaeval period, partly destroyed by Henry VIII as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries, but the stunning gothic building was later given to the residents of Bath as a parish church.
By the start of the 20th century, the population in Bath had grown to over 65,000, and today exceeds 100,000.
Sights to See
The stunning sights of Bath attract up to 6 million yearly visitors, making it one of the most visited cities in England.
The most famous attraction has to be the Roman baths, which gave the city its name. Bath became a spa city with the Latin name of ‘Aquae Sulis’ during 60 AD, when the Romans built stunning baths and the Temple of Sulis Minerva within the valley of the River Avon, utilising the natural hot springs for baths designed for public bathing. Today, the Roman Baths remain preserved, perfect for a historical afternoon tour where you can actually taste the waters from the hot springs.
Other key sights to see include the sweeping Royal Crescent, built during the late 1700s, the stunning natural beauty of the Bath Skyline, Parade Gardens, and Victoria Park, and the Bath Abbey, one of the largest displays of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.
Things to Do
You’ll never be stuck for things to do in Bath. An area steeped in history, Bath is home to plenty of museums such as the Museum of Bath Architecture, the Victoria Art Gallery, the Museum of East Asian Art, the Herschel Museum of Astronomy, the Fashion Museum, and the Holburne Museum.
If you fancy catching a play, the Theatre Royal is one of the oldest, most historic theatres in England, or you can enjoy a sports match from Bath Rugby or Bath City F.C.
When the evening rolls around, the centre of Bath has countless bars and restaurants to try out. The Ivy Bath Brasserie on Milsom Street offers seasonal menus under elegant chandeliers and an Art Deco interior, with a flower-filled terrace ideal for sunny summer nights. The Bath Distillery Gin Bar is always coming up with new, innovative cocktails mixed with the Bath Gin Company’s own gin, created with a blend of 11 botanicals, with bartenders on hand to offer suggestions and find you your perfect drink of choice.
Bath is also host to a number of shopping areas, including the SouthGate shopping centre and the Corridor arcade, as well as various artisan shops and markets such as the Bath Farmer’s Market and Bath Flea Market just outside of Green Park Station.
Bath is home to two universities – the University of Bath, and Bath Spa University, each with accommodation and faculties dotted around the quaint cobbled streets of Central Bath. Bath College also offers further education, situated just a minute’s walk away from the Thermae Bath Spa, the city’s very own spa complex where you can bathe in the warm mineral waters just as the Romans did.
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