The Abbey Church Yard is a main square/area in Bath City Centre where you can listen to the buskers and witness the tourist crowds in their droves! It seems to be a popular meeting point for tour groups whether it's a walking tour, visiting the Abbey (entrance just round the corner) or The Roman Baths (again, entrance just round the corner). The Tourist Information is situated there and there are also cafes and souvenir shops. This seems to be the 'heart' of both the tourist and resident life.
Usually it's very busy but I was able to enjoy listening to the busker in quieter surroundings because of a day being a Monday (tends to be a quieter day in lot of the tourist centres around the UK because visitors are either arriving or departing!). If you're able it's a perfect place to take a seat on a bench to people watch and enjoy the buskers' music.
The theatre was built and designed by George Dance in 1804 and opened in 1805. A fire destroyed the theatre in 1862 and a new theatre was built on the same site in 1863. The theatre had to go through an extensive renovation including a fire-proof curtain, additional entrances and staircases in order to have it's Royal Patent reinstated in 1902. The theatre went through further renovations and today hosts regional and touring productions.
Royal Victoria Park became a municipal park in 1829 where Bath residents subscribed to protect this green space from further development. The Park hasn't change much since the creation and is considered a typical Victorian style. It was opened by Princess Victoria who named it as 'Royal Victoria Park' which is an honour for a city park and is recognised by English Heritage as a Park of National Historic Importance.
I enjoyed spending an afternoon relaxing in the park and listening to Bristol wind band concert. The band played a variety of musicals and cinema theme tunes. The park hosts a number of events and concerts throughout the year. Please check out the link to find out what's on in Royal Victoria Park.
The park also has a children's play area and botanical gardens.
I came across this fountain of a life size girl pouring water and bearing the inscription 'Water is best'. This was erected by the Bath Temperance Association. The Association was founded on the 15th June 1856 and the statue erected on 8th June 1861 and a further bronze figure added in 1986. The fountain was originally used to access drinking and running water until the 1980s.
Parade Gardens overlooks the River Avon in Bath City Centre and opened from April to September. It's a nice and chilled park to have a picnic or generally relax. The main features are the flower bedding displays and an annual 3-dimensional floral feature. There are nice views of Pulteney Bridge and the Weir, Bath Abbey and the River Avon.
There are concerts at the park's bandstand in the summer as well as children and the weir's entertainment. Please click on this link for further information.
There is also a cafe inside the gardens and deck chairs can be hired free of charge. I enjoyed the gardens but I have an issue with the charge the Council enforces to non residents (please see tip)!
Shopping in Bath, for souvenir's or for something different to what is different in your home Country?
There are plenty of shop's to choose from.
The one in my photo, was near the Tourist information centre, and I just had to take a photo of what they had to offer. They were closed, otherwise I would have gone inside for a look.
I thought the Salad server's were rather good!
I wondered, Who is King Bladud?
HERE IS HIS STORY..........
"It is 863BC., and Bladud, King of the Britons and father of the unfortunate King Lear has contracted leprosy.
He return's home and realize's an imperfect prince could not inherit the throne, so he left the royal palace in disguise to take a job as a swineherd in the Avon Valley, 1000years before the Roman's, and 1,500 year's before the Saxon's came to Bath.
As Bladud drove his pigs in search of acorns he crossed the River Avon at shallows north of Saltford - at a place which subsequently took its name from the legend - Swineford.
The rest of the story is famous. Bladud's pigs also contracted his disease but were cured when they rolled in the hot mud around Bath's springs.
Observing the miracle, Bladud also bathed in the hot murky water and he too was cured.
Returning home in triumph he went on to become King. In gratitude for his cure, Bladud founded a city at Bath and dedicated its curative powers to the Celtic goddess Sul and 900 years later the Romans called the city Aquae Sulis - the Waters of Sul."
There is a life-size stone statue of King Bladud in Parade Gardens and next to it, a pig carved out of Bath Stone! !
The Pigs in Bath, was a 2008 public art event to celebrate Bath, its origins and its artists. Over 100 decorated pig sculptures were on display throughout the summer around Bath and beyond.
Most of the pig's have gone, but I did manage to find this one in a street.
Each pig was sponsored, and sponsor and artist jointly decided what the pig was to look like, and gave it a name.
There was no direct remuneration for decorating the pigs but the artists were credited on a small plaque on each pig and received generous publicity in the press.
70 of the pigs were sold in a great gala auction at the Bath Assembly Rooms, and another 35 were sold in an online auction. One was raffled. None were left!
Check out the "Pig" page if you wish to see more of them!
Parade Garden's are owned by the municipal Council, and have a small entry charge for non Bath resident's. They are a very good example of an English Victorian Garden.
We were too late to enter the garden's, but we did manage a great view from the top Colonnade looking down upon the garden's, River Avon and Weir, it really was lovely!
It is these garden's from where Pulteney Bridge is viewed. What a great view, with the beautiful garden's in the foreground.
The floral display was excellent!
Concerts are held in the bandstand and children’s entertainment is provided during the summer holidays.
Deck chairs are available and Picnics are allowed.
Open all year.
ADMISSION....Concession £0.70 per ticket .....Adult £1.00 per ticket
Unusual heading you may say, Well yes it is!
Having never been to England before, and only seen how people live through Television show's, Bath, when I first saw all the home's joined together, and all the Chimney pot's, is just how I imagined England would look like!
Coming from Australia, where we have lot's of room, and it is a "newish" country, I found it quite hard to imagine living in one of these home's!
I think Bath, being an old city, probably is a good example! You will see this style of home everywhere!
Bath boasts UK's only natural hot water spa springs (3 of them, pumping out over 1mln litres of water per day), which has made the city a health / spa resort as far back as the Roman times. Although fed from the same springs, the Thermae Bath Spa is a much more recent addition.
It is not necessary to book a treatment to visit, you can simply book a 2- or a 4-hour spa session which gives you access to all non-treatment facilities. The cost of a 2-hour session is GBP 25, amenities (towel, slippers and robe) are extra. Keep in mind that unless you're with a group of 8+ people, you can't book in advance and depending on the time of your visit you may have to queue.
Facilities are laid out as follows:
- Lower Ground floor: Minerva Hot Bath (34C) and showers
- Upper Ground floor: changing suite
- First floor: Springs cafe (you get 45 minutes added to your visit if you order food or drinks there)
- Second floor: 4 aromatherapy steam rooms (mint & eucalyptus one was my favourite!), foot baths, and tropical shower
- Third floor: roof-top pool
Although I am not a huge spa fan, I did enjoy Thermae Bath Spa as you can easily fit a visit into the two hours to add on to your trip to Bath and its central location means that you don't have to spend the entire day getting there and back
You can now experience yourself the natural thermal waters of Bath discovered by the Celts and Romans over 2000 years ago. The Thermae Bath Spa in the middle of the city offers bathing sessions and treatments in their warm, natural mineral-rich waters.
The New Royal Bath building combines modern steel and glass structures with the famous light coloured Bath stone. Their two baths, the Minerva Bath and the open-air rooftop pool, are fed by the natural thermal waters. Facilities include 4 aromatic steam rooms (lavender, eucalyptus, mint & eucalyptus and something else), waterfall shower and Springs Café & Restaurant. You can choose between 2-hour, 4-hour or full-day spa session here. Prices start from GBP25
If you only have a short period of time (up to 1½ hours), the Cross Bath provides an opportunity to experience Bath's natural thermal waters in a unique environment that restores the original use of the Grade 1 Listed building it occupies. In addition, it is an official sacred site and sompletely separate from the New Royal Bath. It provides an intimate open-air thermal bath with its own changing facilities (from GBP15).
New Royal Bath 09.00 - 22.00 (last entry at 19.45)
Cross Bath 10.00 - 20.00 (last entry at 18.30)
All year (excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year’s Day)
Bath is well endowed with parks and public gardens and one of the best is the centrally-located Parade Gardens on the banks of the River Avon, just below Pulteney Bridge. During the summer especially this tranquil oasis provides much needed respite for the footweary tourist with its pleasant open lawns, colourful and artful floral displays and above all a break from the ubiquitous city traffic.
There's a small entry fee (1 Pound last time I visited) for visitors to the city, whilst local residents can enjoy the gardens for free. You can bring your takeaway lunch (or even a full blown picnic) and the deckchairs are provided with no charge. On summer Sundays there's live music in the bandstand as well as many other events during the rest of the week.
Website below has loads of useful links.
A little over an hour’s bus ride from Bath is one of the most impressive cathedrals in England. This 13th century Gothic beauty features over 300 statues on the west front and there were more before the Cromwellian iconoclasts bludgeoned some of them to pieces. Fortunately most were too high for them to reach. The exterior is astounding but there are several unique features which make the interior stand out as well:
** The scissor-like arches which were added in the 14th century to shore up the sinking tower. Evidently they worked as it is still standing and in my opinion these arches add a beautiful touch to the light and airy interior.
** Virtually all of the seating in the choir is upholstered with lovely and richly colored hand embroidery.
** There is a delightful astronomical clock which depicts a funny little joust on the quarter hour.
** The chapter house is fan-vaulted and stark but arrestingly beautiful room, almost pure white and supported by one giant flower-like center column.
Obviously I was quite taken with this cathedral and put it at the top of my recommended list.
Thermae Bath Spa is a place where you can able to relax in the warm mineral waters. As well as relaxing in the spa, you can indulge in the many treatment the spa offers. You can choose to relax in either The Royal Bath, the main complex, or The Cross Bath, an intimate spa held in an historic and sacred building, known as The Cross Spring. It's an expensive experience with prices starting from 14 GBP for 1.5 hour session at The Cross Bath and from 24 GBP for a 2 hour session at The New Royal Bath. However recommendable for the experience the spirit of Bath and it's historic and spa culture.
Around the streets of Bath you will pass many splendid buildings with great architecture. This building is just one of many. The following is engraved on the exterior 'Royal Mineral hospital, established by act of Parliament as the hospital or infirmary for rheumatic diseases. AD 1739.
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