Visiting ancient Rome in Bath

Perhaps the best preserved Georgian town in the world, Bath is a wonderful town in the Somerset, County, England.

I really wasn’t planning to visit Bath, but I was chatting to a Bath-based antiques dealer whilst staying at a charming B&B in Bantry Bay, Ireland, chatting to this gentleman over breakfast.  He was so effusive about his home that he convinced us we should stay there.  We had no specific plans for our driving holiday, so once we disembarked from the ferry at Fishguard, Wales we drove on towards Bath, liked what we saw, and so decided to stay.

Bath was one of those really pleasant surprises you can have when you do spur-of-the-moment things.  Mind you, Bath is the sort of place you can enjoy even if you’ve planned your journey to the second.

The city is only 156 kilometres (97 miles) from London, but must be one of England’s best preserved towns.  It is a World Heritage Site, and is situated in the Avon Valley, quite close to the Cotswolds. Bath is the perfect base to explore the West Country, including nearby Stonehenge.

It is the architecture that is the single most striking aspect of Bath.  Although Bath has played a role in every major period of English history, it is the Georgian architecture, stately house made out of Bath stone that are built around curved roads, which really stand out.  People have had an impact on Bath since Neolithic times, but it was the easily accessible mineral waters that enabled Bath to beckon visitors who wanted to luxuriate in those soothing waters that has made it a popular tourist spot since ancient Roman times.

Of course, one of the most popular tourist destinations is the Roman Baths, which date back 2,000 years.  It is here the Roman built a temple and public baths around England’s only hot spring.  You can still enjoy a dip in the spa waters of the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, and there is a restaurant, entertainment and audio guides available.    

The Pulteney Bridge is probably England’s most ornate bridge, very reminiscent of some Italian bridges.  Made of stone, the bridge spans the Avon River also contains shops, which makes it quite unique.

There are many excellent restaurants and bars in Bath, and a great variety of shops.  It is an ideal place to walk around as the town is surprisingly compact.  We stayed in a B&B that was located just above the town.  It was very comfortable and quite reasonably priced.  There are all types of accommodation there, but Bath is a very popular destination for British and European visitors in particular, so if you do intend to visit during peak season, it would be a good idea to book beforehand.

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