I was very lucky to be able to squeeze in a day trip to Bath before England was plunged into ‘Lockdown 2.0’. This small city in the county of Somerset is steeped in history and, being only 90 minutes from central London, is an ideal trip for any visitors looking for a day of respite from the capital. Read on to discover the five activities that MUST feature on your itinerary if you plan on visiting Bath.
1) Wander around the Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent is a sweeping crescent of 30 terraced houses dating back to 1774. In the heart of the crescent you will find the Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, which offers a wonderful afternoon tea in its Dower House restaurant.
2) Visit Pultney Bridge
Pultney Bridge opened in 1770 and, interestingly, it is one of only four bridges in the world to have shops across its full span on both sides. If you’re a fan of musicals, you may recognise Pultney Bridge as the filming location for Javert’s suicide scene in the 2012 adaptation of Les Miserables. Downstream from the Bridge you will find Pultney Weir, the V-shaped barrier designed to prevent the River Avon from flooding Bath, through controlling the water level and regulating flow. Maps of Bath have shown the presence of a Weir at that point in the river since 1603.
3) Explore the Roman Baths
If you thought that a Weir from 1603 sounded impressive then the main attraction of Bath will blow your mind – constructed in 70 AD for use as a site of public bathing and socalising, the Roman Baths are one of the best-preserved examples of Roman ruins in the world. The Romans built the baths around the thermal hot springs which occur naturally in the city (which was once known as the town of ‘Aquae Sulis’). Fast forward to 2020 and 1,170,000 litres of steaming spring water, reaching 46°C, still rises at the site every day. The green colour of the Baths is due to the presence of algae in the water and so, unsurprisingly, the Baths are no longer used for bathing. It was fascinating exploring the complex and seeing the chambers that were historically used for purposes such as changing rooms, or even as a plunge pool.
4) Eat a Bath bunN from Sally Lunn’s
You won’t be surprised to hear that Sally Lunn’s is based in another historic building – dating back to 1482, the Eating House is, in fact, one of the oldest houses in Bath. Allegedly, Sally Lunn was a French refugee who established the bakery in Bath in 1680. Today, the Eating House is still open for fine, traditional English food, including the world famous ‘Sally Lunn Bath Bunn’, a hybrid bread-cake that can be eaten with either savoury or sweet toppings.
5) Check out Bath Abbey
The site on which Bath Abbey sits has been a place of Christian worship for over 1,200 years. The building is beautiful with its incredible stained glass windows and honey coloured architecture. Sadly, the Abbey’s ‘Tower Tours’ were closed due to Covid when I visited and so I’m eager to return one day soon to experience the Abbey’s aerial view of the city!