What to see in Angleterre
Attractions touristiques dans Bath
156 kilometres west of London lies Bath, the largest city in the county of Somerset. It is located in a valley of the River Avon and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. Founded by the Romans in 43 AD, it was they who built the hot springs complex and Roman baths which make this city one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country to this day.
If you travel to Bath you’ll soon appreciate the elegance of this historic city, characterized by rich Georgian architecture, with more than 5000 buildings built in their beautiful style. Bath also boasts plentiful landscaped gardens and exudes an air of aesthetic perfection! Home to a prestigious university, the city maintains a youthful atmosphere, with plenty of cosy pubs, cafes and restaurants to discover.
Although the Roman’s made this city famous, the story of Bath dates back to the days of the Celts. According to legend, a leper, named Prince Bladud, was expelled from his land and stumbled upon the healing springs of the River Avon in around 860 BC. The powerful therapeutic properties of these springs cured his illness, so he could return to court and fulfil his destiny to be crowned king.
For those with an eye for beauty, visiting Bath will be a real treat. Anyone who decides to take a tour of the South West of England should count on this small city as an essential stop on their itinerary as it exudes harmony, beauty and history, with plenty of sights to explore.
Things to see in Bath
A quiet stroll through the city to delight in the beauty of its streets, facades, gardens and squares, is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bath.
Many of the city’s elegant Georgian buildings were designed in the 18th century by father and son duo: John Wood. They created a neoclassical urban aesthetic in accordance with the natural expression of the English garden. Built with Bath stone, these glorious buildings were integrated into the green spaces with total harmony, hiding Masonic symbols in their distribution, such as the sun, the moon and the key, only visible from a bird's eye view.
The most notable John Wood masterpieces are the Circus, a ring-shaped residential complex with a square in the centre, the Assembly Rooms, which were used as a meeting room for dances and frequented by important personalities of the time such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and the Royal Crescent, another residential area with a large central plaza covered by grass.
Without a doubt, some of the best things to see in Bath are the famous Roman Baths and the Temple of Minerva, dedicated to a deity thought to be a combination of the Celtic goddess Sulis and the Roman goddess Minerva. It is truly a treasure of Roman architecture.
In the outdoor area is a thermal pool surrounded by Roman columns. There are several different areas, where the Romans could take advantage of the healing spring waters in both cold and hot baths. There was also a dry heat sauna. In the 18th century, this site was rediscovered and English-fashionista, Beau Nash, transformed the city into a popular holiday destination, a reputation that remains to this day.
For those who want an experience similar to the Romans, the Thermae Bath Spa is one of the best places to visit in Bath. With an outdoor pool, open to the public, it is one of the most popular attractions in the city and a brilliant place to spend a relaxing afternoon.
The Roman Museum is also worth a visit. Inside, you can enjoy interactive reproductions of the time and admire many objects found in the sacred pool, originally given as offerings to the gods. The most important piece in the collection is a beautiful sculpture of the head of the goddess Minerva, found in 1727 and crafted from gilt bronze.
Another of the best things to see in Bath is Pulteney Bridge, designed by Robert Adam in 1769. Of Palladian influence, it has houses and shops built across it, similar to that seen in Florence. A relaxing boat ride on the River Avon offers a most beautiful and romantic perspective of the bridge.
Nevertheless, the true icon of the city is Bath Abbey. Founded in the 7th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries, it is located in the Abbey Church Yard square next to the Avon River. Constructed in a Gothic style, its colourful and priceless stained glass windows and its spectacular ribbed vault are unmissable highlights. If you visit Bath Abbey, be sure to climb the tower to enjoy unforgettable panoramic views of the city.
In regards to Bath’s luscious green spaces, you can choose between Prior Park, from whose hill you can enjoy beautiful views of the entire city, and Victoria Park, ideal for spending a day soaking up the tranquillity of nature or sharing a picnic with friends.
Shopping in the quirky designer boutiques or visiting the museums, such as the Jane Austen Museum or the Holbourne Museum, are other popular things to do in Bath.