Bath Favorites

  • Bath Visitor Information Centre
    Bath Visitor Information Centre
    by spidermiss
  • 1 Belvedere - Social Housing!
    1 Belvedere - Social Housing!
    by johngayton
  • More Social Housing!
    More Social Housing!
    by johngayton

Most Recent Favorites in Bath

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Bath Visitor Information Centre

    by spidermiss Updated Jul 2, 2012
    Bath Visitor Information Centre

    Favorite thing: Bath Visitor Information Centre should be the first point of contact for any first time visitor in Bath. The Centre provides an information on what to see and do in Bath as well as its environs. Staff can also direct and advice or any queries or issues visitors may have. An accommodation service is provided as well as booking tickets for attractions and events.

    The Centre has a shop selling maps, local publications and guides, gifts and souvenirs. Bath Tourism Plus is opened all year round Mondays to Sundays. Please see contact details below should you require further information.

    Address: Abbey Chambers, Abbey Churchyard, Bath, BA1 1LY
    Phone: 01225 322438
    Fax: 01225 477787
    Website: www.visitbath.co.uk
    Email: tourism@bathtourism.co.uk

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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  • grayfo's Profile Photo

    History of Bath

    by grayfo Written Mar 11, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Map of Bath (Medieval)

    Favorite thing: Bath was occupied by the Romans shortly after their Invasion of Britain in 43AD. The city was called Aguae Sulis “the waters of Sul”. The Anglo-Saxons renamed the town Baðan or Baðon "at the baths," and this was the source of the present name. Edgar of England was crowned king of England in Bath Abbey in 973.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    The Royal Mineral Water Hospital

    by johngayton Written Sep 28, 2009

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hospital Frontage
    1 more image

    Favorite thing: This is actually a working hospital here in the centre of Bath, run by the NHS. When it was first established in 1742, built by John Wood Snr, it was known as the Bath General Infirmary yet conversely didn't treat locals only visitors. In its early days it provided cures based on the use of the Bath spring waters (hence the name) but in recent years has become a bit more up-to-date.

    It's modern name is now the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and specialises on the treatment, and research, of complex rehabilitation and rheumatology for which it has an international reputation. For more info see website

    Local residents will be pleased to know that whilst it still treats many people from all over the world it does now treat locals too!

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Pulteney Bridge

    by johngayton Updated Sep 27, 2009

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    This Is A Bridge!
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    Favorite thing: Bridges across rivers are obviously a means of transit but someone has to pay for them to be built. Often bridges would be built by local landowners at their own expense simply as a means of shortening their own journeys. Othertimes the bridge would be built as a privately-funded "toll bridge" with the entrepreneurial builder looking long-term at his (usually his, as opposed to hers) investment to provide a steady income into retirement

    Modern bridges are obviously part of the transport infrastructure and so are government commissioned and usually paid for from general taxation, or, as with some here in the UK, by contracting out to private enterprise who then set tolls to get their money back (with a profit of course!).

    Bath's Pulteney Bridge is an interesting one to research. William Johnstone Pulteney, seemingly a shrewd and canny Scotsman, married into local money and became the landlord of the village of Bathwick and its surrounding rural estates. Bathwick, being across the river, was at the time only accessible from the City of Bath by a small ferry.

    Pulteney, with his eye to developing his new wife's estate as part of the burgeoning Bath, decided to commission a bridge. Following consultation with the Bath City Council he engaged a local architect, Richard Adam (and brother) to put together a plan.

    The Adams brothers were great fans of the medieval idea of building bridges which would pay for themselves by hosting shops and dwellings. This idea of course appealed to Pulteney's Scottish frugality and so the bridge was duly constructed with rows of shops on each side and with attic dwellings above them.

    Bridges of this type had been built in many European cities but in most cases with disastrous consequences. The bridges were often washed away during flooding and obviously so too were the businesses and houses. This made Pulteney's bridge initially a bit hard to let, there being plenty of solid dry land on now the other side, but by all accounts he did succeed eventually in selling the leases.

    The inevitable did happen though. In 1799 one of the piers was swept away and the following year the other, resulting in the bridge becoming more of a ruin than an asset. Not to be deterred though, Pulteney had it rebuilt and whilst it became a bit of a ramshackle developement at least it was still there.

    In 1936 the bridge was declared a National Monument and by 1951 was pretty much restored to its present condition.

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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    The Window Tax

    by johngayton Written Sep 26, 2009

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    18th Century Tax Avoidance!

    Favorite thing: Roughly contemporaneously with the Georgian rebuilding of the city came the introduction of England's first attempt at general taxation. The idea of the Window Tax was that anyone who lived in a house with windows would be taxed according to the number of windows it had. This was quite a good idea IMHO as cottages were exempt (most workers housing being of that nature) and so it was only the more monied folks who got taxed.

    There were, of course, the refusniks, even amongst those who could afford to pay but on principle chose not to. So a simple tax avoidance scheme of the time was simply to block up the windows.

    You'll find quite a few examples of such properties here in Bath

    Related to:
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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Question - What Makes Bath A Living City?

    by johngayton Updated Sep 24, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 Belvedere - Social Housing!
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    Favorite thing: Answer - Social Housing!!

    Despite all its Georgian grandeur Bath has always been a city which has been lived in by those who do the work. The Circle and the Royal Crescent were designed for the high and mighty but the servants quarters were built into the buildings, albeit "below stairs" (and in fact below ground level). Workmen's terraces were built with the same Bath Stone and whilst not with the ornate finishes were solidly built.

    To the casual visitor Bath might seem a rich person's city but that same casual visitor should realise that a good proportion of the city centre's housing is what we call "social housing". That's why it's a living city. Buying a property here will cost you London prices but rents through the local housing associations can be amazingly cheap - there just happens to be a long waiting list :(

    In the 1960's and 70's most British towns and cities did their best to remove their populus from their centres - commercial developments being seen as more profitable than residential. It almost happened here in Bath when they developed the south side, taking away its heart and replacing it with a shopping mall. But the city was too small to totally redevelop and Bath stood on its own hind legs and growled in the face of the planners. "GRRR! We are a living city...let us live in our city."

    It happened and it works. Bath is a very touristy city and much of its income relies on that, but it is still very much a people's city. Just drop into the odd bar here and there and if you don't feel welcome that's you, not the Bathonians!

    Fondest memory: If you fancy living in Bath as a real person here's the website: Bath Living

    Much more to Bath than its 11 million tourists a year!

    Related to:
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    • Architecture

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Jane Austen’s Bath

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 15, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Milsom Street Circulating Library
    1 more image

    Favorite thing: Jane Austen is perhaps the best known and best loved of Bath's many famous residents and visitors. She paid two long visits here towards the end of the eighteenth century, and from 1801 to 1806 Bath was her home. Her intimate knowledge of the city is reflected in two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, which are largely set in Bath. The two novels show well how her views of the city changed as she grew older. As a young girl she enjoyed her visits there, especially the fashionable shops and the dancing in the Assembly Rooms. Of Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey, she writes:
    Catherine was all eager delight; - her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.
    And Catherine herself proclaims:
    ”I really believe I shall always be talking of Bath, when I am at home again – I do like it so very much…. Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?”

    But the heroine of Persuasion, Anne Elliot, is no fan of the city. She:
    disliked Bath, and did not think it agreed with her – and Bath was to be her home.

    Like Anne, the older Jane Austen was forced to come to live here by her father’s wishes (as an unmarried daughter of her time she was completely dependent upon her parents’ wishes and needs). She was a country girl at heart, and her perception and sharp wits made her impatient of the foibles that distinguished the polite society of her day. Bath’s worldly values and its total emphasis on pleasure seeking would have been anathema to her, and the implication that her parents would have brought her here as a last ditch attempt to get their apparently unmarriageable daughter “married off” would have added to her discomfort.

    Despite all this, Bath is today inextricably defined by its links to Jane Austen, and a visit here isn’t complete without a thorough exploration of of the city of her day. Among the streets she lived in on her several visits are Queen Square (where my hotel was located), Gay Street, Sydney Place and Trim Street. She would have shopped in Milsom Street and borrowed books from the Circulating Library there, taken the waters at the Pump Room, danced at the Assembly Rooms and enjoyed music and fireworks in Sydney Gardens.

    The city is still very much as Jane Austen knew it, with its streets, public buildings and townscapes retaining much of the elegant well-ordered world that she portrays in her novels. You can explore these on your own, perhaps taking the novels or a good biography of Jane as your guide, or you can download a free audio tour from the official tourism website. I haven’t listened to this but it sounds a great idea and I’ll definitely try it if I visit again with more time to explore. The Jane Austen Centre (see my Things to do tip) also offers guided walking tours which visit the places where she lived and the settings for her Bath novels.

    By the way, another author who has strongly influenced my love of Bath is the less well-known and in my view rather under-rated historical novelist Georgette Heyer. Although her books may not be considered of the literary quality of Jane Austen’s, they are nevertheless very enjoyable and witty. She was always very careful and thorough with her research, so you can be confident that the many titles set in Regency Bath portray an accurate picture of life there at that time.

    Related to:
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  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Love the main feature of Bath

    by marinarena Written Mar 3, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath's bubbly hot spring waters, UK
    1 more image

    Favorite thing: Well, the waters of course!

    Bath can boasts of its naturally streaming hot springs, the main eye candy aside from the Roman baths (and Stonehedge).

    Fondest memory: I should have recorded the flowing, crahing waves here, even if they sound like any given steam in the world. I just remember the pure delight of hearing and seeing them. Despite the stormy weather, I braved walking around the hot springs of the Avon River.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Reading list

    by Dabs Written Mar 2, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Jane Austen, who was an inhabitant of Bath for many years, wrote two novels that had Bath featured prominently, "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey", you can still see many of the places that she wrote about including the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms. For those of you who want the pleasure of Jane without the pain of reading, both novels have been adapted into movies, I preferred the 1995 Amanda Root/Ciaran Hind version of "Persuasion" over the 2007 version that just played on Masterpiece Theater although Anthony Head was a superb Mr. Elliott. There was also a 2007 adaptation of "Northanger Abbey".

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    2 for 1 entry

    by Dabs Written Feb 2, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Since we used the train to get to Bath, we could get 2 for 1 admission to several attractions in Bath including the top attraction, the Roman Baths. They did ask to see our train ticket so don't try to get the discount without having traveled by train. You also need to print out the voucher and bring it with you, one for each of the attractions you plan on visiting.

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  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Relax in Parade Gardens

    by jo104 Updated Jun 22, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I imagine this beautiful gardens is perfect for locals in Bath who do not have gardens or perhaps tourists who are here for a longer stay. We saw lots of people enjoying the sun & the view of Pulteney Bridge & the River Avon. A band sometimes plays on the little stage.
    Entrance to the park is GBP1

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  • sloughgal's Profile Photo

    Bath

    by sloughgal Written May 30, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I used to love coming here as a child. The last time I was here was with my parents in 1982!

    There is no truth to the story about the bath's water helping you of ails, but it is a fun place to come :-)

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  • Sjalen's Profile Photo

    Hills

    by Sjalen Written Feb 27, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Bath is full of hills so pack your best walking shoes and be prepared for a hike up and down some of them to see the sights. Alternatively, hop on a sightseeing bus. Quite expensive but you can hop on and off as you like at the many stops all day. There are some great sights to be had from the top of the hills and even down below you enjoy being surrounded by cheerful honey-coloured houses all around.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Seniors
    • Historical Travel

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Good websites

    by Dabs Updated Jun 23, 2005

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    Favorite thing: Tours, including a free one with the Mayor's guides

    http://www.visitbath.co.uk/site/travel_and_tours/tours_round_up

    www.bath.co.uk web site for train and other information about Bath , can design your own walking tour

    www.bathpass.com

    www.visitbath.co.uk

    http://webcenter.travelocity-dest.netscape.com/DestGuides/0,1840,NETCENTER|2456|3|1,00.html

    a magazine article on a 2 day visit to Bath: www.nationalgeographic.com/traveler/articles/1113_bath.html

    trains leave London from Paddington Station

    Directions to tourist office in Bath:
    exit station, walk straight on Manvers Street, turn left on North Parade, proceed past Sally Lunn’s to Abbey Green, turn right on Church Street. TI office is to your right. The Abbey is also a few steps in front of you.
    The TI office offers guided walking tours; the 2-hour walking tour required comfortable shoes and moderate energy

    There is a walking tour of Bath, sightseeing information, and a useful map of Bath in the book “Day trips London” by Steinbicker.

    The web site for the Theatre Royal in Bath is
    www.theatreroyal.org.uk

    some fodors threads on Bath (there are many more, just do a Search)

    http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=34542147

    http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=34531633

    http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=34528052

    http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2&tid=34481938

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  • pedersdottir's Profile Photo

    The Gentleman is not at home...

    by pedersdottir Updated Jan 26, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Art and Society come together here

    Favorite thing: Looking like a classic Georgian manor, the Holburne Museum of Art began life as public lodgings. Opened in 1796 as the Sydney Hotel, it was a tourist magnet in its day. Teas and balls were held on the premises; fireworks dazzled the public from its gardens.

    Jane Austen lived opposite the hotel and gardens from 1801-1804 at No. 4 Sydney Place. Often described as suffering from 'writer's block' during that interval, I think she was simply diverted from her writing. The circus, the parties, the public promenades must have posed a major distraction to the country parson's daughter.

    Today the building houses the collections of an 18th century Bath notable, Sir William Holburne. Magnificent silver shares space with intimate souvenirs and royal objects d'art. Each item is exquisite - the total collection reflects the best of Bath's age of elegance, from Thomas Gainsborough to Josiah Wedgwood.

    The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday 2:30 to 5:30 PM. Admission is L 4.00

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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