A Local Guide to Lansdown
A picturesque suburb situated in the heart of Bath, Lansdown extends up northwards from the city centre, holding many architectural landmarks and sports clubs that attract locals, visitors, and tourists to the area each year, with regular horse-racing events and concerts held at the Bath Racecourse against the stunning backdrop of the city.
The Battle of Lansdown was famously fought in the area on the 5th of July 1643 at Lansdown Hill. Royalists under Lord Hopton forced the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller to retreat from their hilltop position, but then suffered so many injuries that Hopton was forced to retire.
The battle is commemorated today by Sir Bevil Grenville’s Monument that sits atop Lansdown Hill, remembering the heroism of Grenville who died after the battle in the Cold Ashton Rectory in South Gloucestershire.
Lansdown is also notably the birthplace of famous baker and English national treasure Mary Berry, whose father contributed to the building of the University of Bath during the 1960s. Berry used to test out new ovens in kitchens around the area with her Victoria sponge recipe.
Location of Lansdown
A peaceful residential area, Lansdown sits just north of the centre of Bath, peppered with antiques, flower, and furniture shops amongst the scenic Georgian homes. On the upper slopes of the city, Lansdown is one of the most sought after areas to live in Bath.
Lansdown Road extends north-west through the suburb, winding uphill to Beckford’s Tower and stretching into open land at Charlcombe parish and into Lansdown Hill.
Sights to See
Perhaps the most notable landmark is the Lansdown Crescent, which mirrors the Georgian architecture of Bath’s honey-coloured streets. Designed by John Palmer and constructed between 1789 to 1793, the concave crescent sits near other famous Georgian buildings such as the Royal Crescent and the Circus, sitting just higher than the rest atop Lansdown Hill. It encompasses the middle of a cluster of curved terraces, including Lansdown Place and Somerset Place.
Lansdown Crescent is a Grade II listed building, comprising 20 houses – each originally holding four floors together with a basement and sub-basement – with the two central houses having a paired entrance with four Tuscan columns. The grass that lies in front of the crescent is sometimes used to graze local sheep.
Lansdown is also home to Sion Hill Place, a stunning Georgian building designed by John Pinch the Elder, an architect and surveyor, built between 1818 and 1820. The building famously housed Madame Sarah Grand between 1926 and 1943, a writer, suffragist, and sometime Lady Mayoress of Bath, and also comprises a campus of Bath Spa University.
Things to Do
Amongst Lansdown’s other famous landmarks is the Assembly Rooms, which is open to the public for visiting, giving people the chance to wander through the elegant halls once used by the Georgian society for dancing and music. Designed by John Wood the Younger in 1769, the rooms are a Grade I listed building.
The suburb also houses several sporting attractions, such as the Lansdown Cricket Club, the oldest of its kind in Somerset, founded in 1825. The club sits next to the original racecourse on the top of Lansdown Hill beside Beckford’s Tower, another architectural landmark built in neo-classical style. The tower was originally built for novelist, art collector, and critic William Thomas Beckford, who used it as a library and retreat.
There is also the Lansdown Golf Course, designed by Harry Colt, offering stunning views of the city and a luxurious clubhouse for members and visitors to enjoy food and wine in, as well as the famous Bath Racecourse on Lansdown Hill. A thoroughbred horse racing venue, the racecourse is owned and operated by the Arena Racing Company, and is Britain’s highest flat racecourse at 780 feet.
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