The green lungs in the golden city of Bath. Victoria Park wears its Botanical Gardens like a floral crown. Besides offering a tot lot, a duck pond and the fairgrounds, it also serves as the launch site for hot air balloon flights. Pictured here is the gate just above Queen Square. For a spectacular entrance or exit point, look for the pair of gates and obelisk located further north, at the foot of Marlborough Lane.
A house-within-a-house. The dining hall and old reception room display the 17th century Tudor heart of this manor, originally built in the Dutch style. The exterior is a Baroque overlay covering the many extensions that were added between 1692 and 1704.
Over 300 years of history are reflected in the furnishings. The collections of Delftware and fine Dutch paintings draw many visitors. Others come to stroll the gardens or to picnic on the grounds. Personally, I enjoyed the amazing complex of kitchens and dairy which led directly to the Courtyard Tearoom - and a welcome break from what seemed like miles of stairwells!
For souvenir hunters there is a National Trust gift shop on the premises. The park grounds are open all year from 11:00 am to dusk. The manor house and garden may be viewed from March to October, Fridays to Tuesdays only, from noon to 5:00 pm. Admissions range from L 4.10 for children to L 8.30 for adults.
Dyrham Park is 8 miles north of Bath with bus service departing from the Manvers St. bus station. (The station info desk will provide schedules and fares).
NOTE: From the Park entrance it is a hilly walk of 10-15 minutes (occasionally past herds of deer and cattle!) to reach the manor and the tearoom. Allow adequate time for your return walk to the bus stop.
Not many people know about these nice guided walking tours in Bath.
The guides are volunteers who love the city and like to tell its story.
The meeting point is outside the Pump Room in Abbey Church Yard.
I say this is off the beaten path because, in comparison to the number of tourists I saw in Bath, there were relatively few gathered for the evening tour I took.
The tours are guided by the "Mayor's Honorary Guides of the City of Bath"--locals who do this for free, because they love showing off their city.
Our guide was friendly, enthusiastic, and funny, and he gave us great insight into history (ancient and modern) that we never would have found out on our own. The tour lasts about two hours and departs from the Abbey Churchyard daily at 10.30am; M-F at 2pm, Sat 2.30pm, and occasionaly evenings during the summer. Check with your B&B for the latest details.
Gough's Cave is an internationally famous archeological site and contained Britian's oldest complete skeleton (9,000 years old). You can take a walk inside the caves without a guide. I was not very impressed as it just seemed far too overdone. The floors is nicely paved there is discreet coloured lighting, too fake for me, I like to feel like I am in a cave and not an amusement arcade.
Cheddar is home to Britain's largest gorge. The Cheddar Yeo in Gough's Cave is Britain's biggest underground river, and the Gorge Cliffs are Britain's highest inland limestone cliffs. As early as 1130 AD, the beauty of the Gorge was recognised as one of the "Four wonders of England". Historically, Cheddar's source of wealth was farming and cheese making for which it was famous as early as 1170 AD.
Bath's rugby ground! Here I am reviving my rugby playing days. Bath are a famous rugby team here in England, and have produced many great players down the years. This year things didn't go so well and they only narrowly avoided relegation.
There is a large antiquarian bookshop on the bottom of Manvers Street, right across from the bus station. In the basement there is a museum that shows the history of book binding with examples and first editions and manuscripts. I didn't get a chance to see it but it's definitely on my list for the next visit.
Bath Abbey contains hundreds of these plaques, one of the highest numbers in the UK (second highest, I believe). I found this one original because of the beaver and the camel. Have a look around - the most famous one is that of Richard Nash, which is not far on the left from this one - the first one this wall.
If you want an experience of a lifetime during your stay in bath, try and book a balloon flight prior to your arrival. I'm pretty sure you can't book them for the next day, but if you're organised enough you might just get an experience you'll never forget. Highly recommended!
Costs around £99.
Summer months mainly.
Canal towpath runs from Bristol through Bath onto Bathampton. Its a lovely walk with a pub at Bathampton called the George. It will take a day to walk it slowly, but a couple of hours to cycle. All flat. Nice if you've been really busy doing mad stuff.
Just outside of Bath is Claverton Manor with ornamental garden (a replica of George Washington's garden) and an American museum and has a reconstruction of a farmhouse tavern also on display is african/american art. Also visit the Bath Postal Museum where the first postage was sent from. Prior park and Dyrham park are all well worth a visit as many was landscaped by such designers as Capability Brown.
Whiteway is on the outskirts of Bath and is surrounded by many fields. There is a large comprehensive school which when it was being built, a large roman graveyard was discovered. You can find many roman coins and jewellery in the surround fields but do get the farmer's permission first. You may also find the odd roman as well!!!! The area was rocked by an explosion in the fifties, the explosion destroyed a shed and blew out several windows in the surrounding houses, a family member decided as a teenager whether they could make a homemade bomb, it worked and police have never found out the cause of the explosion, hmmm and there I was thinking that this person was supposed to teach me how to be responsible!!! The things you find out about your own family!!!!
Saracen's Head. This is where Pickwick Papers was written. Yep, sitting above the inn, penning away, there was Charles (as in Dickens) himself, creating another classic. This was pointed out in our guided tour (see culture).
So, there I was in Bath, fresh off the train. Everyone else walked straight up the road. Being my usual adventurous self I turned right, wandering past the rugby field and venturing into unknown waters - literally!
I never realised they had narrow boats at Bath but here they were and, you can hire them for weekends, weeks or just for parties (the big one is a restaurant).
An option you may consider.