Bath Abbey, Bath

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 71 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Bath Abbey
    Bath Abbey
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Bath Abbey
    Bath Abbey
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Bath Abbey
    Bath Abbey
    by Jim_Eliason
  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Bath's cathedral church

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 15, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath Abbey - West Front
    4 more images

    In most of southern England’s cathedral cities the cathedral sits a little apart from the bustle of the city, screened from it by a green and peaceful “close” as the surrounding leafy lawns are known. But here in Bath the Abbey is tucked in among the shops and houses of the city centre so that you come across it suddenly, turning a corner to see its great West Front rising above you.

    There has been a church on this site for twelve and a half centuries. The Abbey as we see it today was founded in 1499, was ruined after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 by order of Henry VIII, and was finally completed in 1611. Prior to that was a massive Norman cathedral which had been allowed to fall into ruins as it was too large for the monastery it served, and before that an Anglo Saxon church which had been pulled down by the Normans.

    The West Front represents the dream of Bishop Oliver King that led him, in 1499, to demolish the ruined Norman cathedral and replace it with the present Abbey. I loved the little angels climbing the stone ladders (photo 2), but couldn’t find out any details of this dream in my research.

    There is officially no charge to visit inside the Abbey, though it would take a little nerve perhaps to ignore the person who sits at the counter just inside the door offering a leaflet in return for the “suggested donation” of £2.50. And with the extensive costs of maintaining the building it’s hard to begrudge this relatively small payment. Inside you will find an impressive space with elegant fan vaulted ceilings (see photo 3), beautiful stained glass windows and a few interesting monuments. I especially liked the east window, photo 4, which depicts 56 scenes from the life of Christ (a similar window in the West Front shows scenes from the Old Testament).

    With more time I would have been tempted to take a tour of the Abbey's tower, which is open every day except Sunday. Visitors are promised a panoramic and unrivalled view of the city as reward for climbing the 212 steps to the top of the tower, but the dull weather on the day of my visit made this a less enticing promise than it would otherwise have been, though I would have liked to sit inside the Abbey's clock face! These tours run every hour and cost £5.

    At night the Abbey is beautifully illuminated as you can sort of see from my 5th photo.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by Dabs Updated Feb 19, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath Abbey as seen from the Roman Baths
    4 more images

    My stop inside the Bath Abbey was very brief since I was on the London Walks tour and they didn't allocate very much time to the interior.

    The present Abbey is the third church on this site, the current abbey was founded in 1499, destroyed in 1539 on orders from King Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries and subsequently restored. Legend has is that Bishop Oliver King had a dream and in this dream angels ascended a ladder from heaven and a voice said "Let an olive establish the crown and a king restore the Church." So in 1499, the Bishop Oliver King demolished the Norman cathedral that stood here and replaced it with an Abbey.

    The west (entrance) side of the Abbey depicts the dream that the Bishop had, there are angels climbing up ladders and olive trees topped with crown ("Let an olive establish the crown"). And I'm guessing the "king restore the church" part is referring to Bishop "King" and not "King" Henry VII. See pictures 3 and 4 to see the detail.

    The Bath Abbey website has a nice tour of the interior of the Abbey which you can take along with you when you visit.

    There's no official charge to visit the Abbey but they do request a donation of L2.50.

    Was this review helpful?

  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    The Abbey

    by mallyak Written Sep 23, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    The Abbey Church of Saint Peter, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, England. Founded in the 7th century, reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries, it is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.

    Was this review helpful?

  • mardaska's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by mardaska Written Sep 3, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath Abbey

    Bath abbey was first built in 1495 and finished in 1606. It occupies the ancient foundation of the original conventual church erected by King Osric in 676.

    The courtyard in front of the building is one of the most vivid parts of the city with coffeeshops and restaurants.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by jo104 Updated Jun 21, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I unfortunately did not go into the Abbey as there was a concert on & I felt it would be rude to walk around at that time although others did. So I cannot give a description of the inside of the Abbey although you can take a virtual tour on the website.

    The outside of the Abbey is magnificant the size of a small cathedral, it seat 1,200 people. It has been classified as the last great gothic church in England. Worship and Christian prayer still takes place here and you can find out details on the website.

    There is not a fixed entrance fee but as the Abbey receives no state funding they ask a GBP2.50 donation for Adults & GBP1 for students / children. Photography is allowed but not during services or concerts.

    Entrance Mon - Fri April - Oct 9am - 6pm Sunday 1pm - 2.30pm / 4.30pm-5.30pm
    Nov - March Mon - Fri 9am - 4.30pm Sunday 1pm - 2.30pm

    Was this review helpful?

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by spidermiss Updated Jun 23, 2012

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath Abbey
    4 more images

    Visiting the Abbey was the highlight of my trip! It's a perfect place to appreciate the architectural beauty and contemplate in peace in a beautiful setting! The Abbey including the valuted fan ceiling was commissioned during Queen Elizabeth I's reign, late 1500s. You can able to take a Tower Tour (at additional charge (5GBP) and available Monday to Saturday) to appreciate the Abbey's interior and climb 212 steps up the tower to see Bath's skyline.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • pedersdottir's Profile Photo

    High Street and Bath Abbey

    by pedersdottir Updated Dec 13, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Catch a tour here

    Bath Abbey was built over the site of the Roman temple to Minerva. For its size, the interior is surprisingly 'light and bright', as a result of the walls. They contain nearly 60% glass! The ceiling tracery further contributes to the sense that the interior is filled with heavenly illumination. The Bath Abbey Music Society schedules periodic mid-day proms (concerts) on Wednesdays. Saturday evening organ recitals offer the visitor an opportunity to absorb the architecture while enjoying the superb acoustics.

    For a 'sights and sounds' exploration into the Abbey's history look for the rear terrace, descend the stairs, and visit the Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults. They are open Monday-Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

    Located across from the Parade Gardens and next to the Roman Baths, the Abbey stands in the heart of Bath. From this central location it is easy to catch a taxi or a tour bus.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Spa and Resort
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • eviltooth's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by eviltooth Updated Jun 26, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath Abbey

    Another beautiful church. :)

    Begun in 1499, Bath Abbey is the last of the great medieval churches of England. The West front depicts the dream that inspired the Abbeys founder Bishop Oliver King, to pull down the ruined Norman Cathedral and raise the present building on its foundations.

    3 different churches have occupied the same site for the past twelve and half centuries, which made me wonder, why didn't they move elsewhere? Why here? I doubt I'll ever find an answer.

    The Abbey holds regular organ recitals and concerts, but I wasn't fortunate enough to be part of the audience as I was with a tour group and time was tight. :(

    Love the architecture, especially the fan-vaulted ceiling (visit the website to see the pic). Don't miss it.

    There's no entrance fee, but in order to look after this lovely church, and for the ongoing conservation work, it would be nice to give a small contribution.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • birchy99's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey from the Roman Baths

    by birchy99 Written Dec 28, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If I remember correctly, one can circle the main bath pool from on top. This view of the Abbey was taken from on high. Looking down was the main pool, which at that time was rather, I could say scummy looking, but I wouldn't want to say that. I've heard that some renovation has taken place since our visit.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Badie's Profile Photo

    The Roman Baths

    by Badie Written Apr 28, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Roman Baths

    Your trip to Bath can't be complete without a visit to the famous Roman Baths... Be prepared to spend at least 2-3 hours if you want to make the most of your experience... and please try the water in the Tap Room : )

    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort

    Was this review helpful?

  • balhannah's Profile Photo

    BATH ABBEY

    by balhannah Updated Dec 28, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bath Abbey
    2 more images

    Bath Abbey is the last of the great medieval churches of England.

    Would you believe, that three different Churches have stood on the site of this Abbey!

    # An Anglo-Saxon Abbey Church dating from 757, pulled down by the Norman conquerors of England soon after 1066.
    # A massive Norman cathedral begun about 1090. It was larger than the monastery could afford to maintain and by the end of the 15th century was in ruins.
    # The present Abbey church founded in 1499, ruined after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 by order of Henry VIII.

    The Abbey Church has been used for worship for over 1000years. It is a beautiful Church, and if you wish, you can take a guided tour of the tour on any day but a SUNDAY.
    Make sure your fit, as there are 212 steps to the top of the tower to see a panoramic and unrivalled view of the city.

    The fully guided tour takes 45 -50 minutes and includes standing on top of the Abbeys vaulted ceiling, sitting behind the clock face, seeing the Abbey bells and a birds eye view of the World Heritage City of Bath.

    Tickets in 2014 cost £6 for adults; £3 for children (5 – 14) and are available from the Abbey shop on the day only. Children must be at least 5 years old and accompanied by a responsible adult
    January to March 11am - 3pm on the hour
    April to August... 10am - 5pm on the hour
    September and October 10am - 4pm on the hour
    November 11am - 3pm on the hour
    December 11am - 3pm on the hour
    Saturdays ...Every half hour as above

    2014 - ADMISSION TO THE ABBEY IS BY.... Donation of £2.50 per adult.
    ENTRY TIMES
    Monday 9.30am - 6.00pm
    Tuesday to Saturday 9.00am - 6.00pm
    Sunday 1.00 – 2.30pm and 4.30 - 5.30pm

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • grayfo's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by grayfo Written Mar 24, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    West Facade

    The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is still an Anglican parish church, but was once a Benedictine monastery. Founded in 1499, the Abbey stands on the site of an earlier Norman Cathedral and the original Abbey Church built in the 8th century. The present building occupying only the nave of the great Norman fabric, was begun around 1500 and completed in 1572.

    Monday to Saturday: 9.00 am to 4.30 pm
    Sunday: 1 pm to 2.30 pm & 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm

    Tickets cost £5 for adults; £2.50 for children (5 – 14) and are available from the Abbey shop on the day only.

    February 2010

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Rachael71's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by Rachael71 Written Apr 7, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Angels on the Abbey

    I just love the angels on the outside of Bath Abbey, climbing the ladder up to Heaven. The design of the Abbey apparently came to the Bishop in a dream in 1499, when God told him to demolish the Norman Abbey that existed at that time, and replace it with the structure we see today.

    It is apparently the only Tudor Catherdral in England, but my visits to Bath have been so brief that I have not yet had the opportunity to see inside. Definitely next time!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo

    Can't walk under this ladder

    by sourbugger Written Sep 21, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Jacob's ladder, Bath

    Although not considered to be one of the 'great' ecclesiastical buildings of England (such as Sailsbury, Durham, Winchester, Westminster), try to at least see the fine carving on the outside of the Abbey, known as "Jacob's ladder".

    According to a story in the Old Testament, Jacob had a dream about a ladder which stretched up to heaven. There are angels climbing the ladder, and a figure of Christ at the top.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Imbi's Profile Photo

    Bath Abbey

    by Imbi Written Jan 11, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There has been a church on this site since at least the 7th century. However the building that you can see today dates primarily from the 15th century, although traces of an earlier Norman church can still be seen in the Norman Chapel.During the reformation in the 16th century the abbey suffered at the hands of Henry VIII and fell into disrepair, however within a few decades restoration work began.Since then the Abbey has been carefully modified and preserved, the result of which is today's superb building with its breathtaking interior. There are numerous monuments and memorials to Bath's past residents within the church. And the elaborate exterior is also worth a second glance - the west front is said to be based on a dream of Jacob's Ladder that Bishop Oliver King had in the 15th century

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Bath

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

62 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Bath Abbey
4.0 out of 5 stars
1 Opinions
1.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
42 Opinions
1.1 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
103 Opinions
1.8 miles away
Show Prices

View all Bath hotels