The UNESCO City of Bath
The City of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gets its name from the hot springs. For thousands of years, people have lived in the Avon valley. It is the hot springs beside the River Avon that in the past attracted worshippers, the sick and the curious. Before the Romans arrived, the spring was a muddy bubbling pool. Celtic tribes attributed the Springs to Sulis, a goddess of healing and life-giving.
In the first century, the Romans arrived, conquering Britannia's vast swaths, dominating and constructing roads. The Romans built military roads across Britain; several roads converged at the River Avon. We can imagine Roman road engineers watching local people praying at the edge of the muddy springs.
It was not long before a project began to harness the spring, bring it under control and utilise the waters. The vast leisure complex to follow turned Aqua Sulis (the Waters of Sulis) into a tourist town. People from across the Empire visited to pay their respects to the gods. Today, visitors come from far and wide to stay in the beautiful hotels, such as the Royal Crescent Hotel, see the Roman Baths, Abbey and elegant Georgian streets.
Bath the fashionable Georgian Spa
Romans came here to make sacrifices, offer up prayers, and formulate curses - often against thieves or others who had wronged them. After the Romans departed in AD 410, the Saxons occupied the area and gave Bath its present name. In 973 the coronation of Edgar, the first King of England was held here. Then in the 18th Century, Queen Anne visited to take the waters, the upper crust of society followed, and Bath was thus transformed into a modern Spa Resort. The old medieval City swept away to be replaced by grand classical squares, crescents and circular streets - the City of Bath was re-born.
The scale of the buildings and the architecture creates an aura which almost defies description. The unique blend of two great eras, Roman and Georgian, forms one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The local stone is a honey-coloured golden limestone that can be readily cut into square blocks and quarried nearby.
The town's layout is primarily due to the architect called John Wood, who was one of the foremost professionals of his time. His brilliance was to design a terrace and give it the appearance of one very grand building rather than a line of individual dwellings joined together. He was responsible for Queen Square, North and South Parades and The Circus, which are today, grade one listed buildings. Upon his death in 1754, his son John Wood-the-younger took over and continued his magnificent work. He was responsible for Gay Street, home for a while to Jane Austen, one of the many writers who lived in Bath. Fashionable Bath owes much to the work, energy and endeavours of the 'Wood' father and son duo. They were speculative builders that paid attention to the fine details and rules classical or Georgian architecture that is so much admired.
Bridgerton, The Netflix period-drama
Bath is such juicy architectural gem that it is irresistible to filmmakers. The perfectly preserved Georgian streetscapes are ideal for replicating the 18th Century streets of London. The City of Bath doubled as London in the hit Netflix period-drama 'Bridgerton'. The director and producers have captured the elegance of Bath and the upper-crusts of the time.
Bath Abbey is the parish church and deserves a special mention for its magnificent fan-vaulted ceiling and the Edgar Window, which shows Edgar's coronation in 973. The present church is the third to occupy the site since the original, constructed in 757 AD. A second church was destroyed in Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries and lay in ruins for 70 years. The present abbey founded in 1499 and was in use as a parish church for over 200 years. Today's abbey owes much to George Gilbert Scott's work. Between 1864 – 1874, he was responsible for creating the interior of the as it appears today.
Pulteney Bridge is one of only four in the world to have shops on both sides for the entire length. It's designated a grade one listed building designed by Robert Adam in the Palladian style for the Pulteney family. They were a wealthy family who inherited the rural Bathwick Estate across the river Avon. To access their estate, they had the bridge built.
Over time the bridge has been widened, damaged by floods, had the shops altered and threatened with the road closure. Worth noting is that it contributes significant income for the council, as it is the most fined bus lane in the City.
Touring and accommodation
We offer day tours from London, which include visits to both Bath and Stonehenge. If you have more time, Bath is an excellent base for a few nights. Our most popular tour of England is the Town and Country Tour. Everything we suggest is customisable and tailored to your requirements.
Stay in a place that makes you feel like you are part of a Jane Austen Movie or Bridgerton film set. That place is the Royal Crescent Hotel – the best location, fine interiors, lovely spa and luxurious rooms.
The 2000 year old City of Bath
See the Roman Baths, Abbey and Museum of Fashion
- Tailored Day Tour
- Expert DRIVER GUIDED Tour
- Tour the Roman Baths and Abbey
- Stay overnight and tour the Cotswolds nearby
- UNESCO World Heritage City
Pulteney Bridge, Bath
Entrance to the Roman Baths
The Roman Baths - The Great Bath
The Circus, Bath