It’s pretty common for travellers to explore international waters extensively whilst ignoring their own back gardens and I hold my hands up, I’m guilty as charged. On paper, England is interesting. It’s a land of castles, Kings, Queens, fairytales and culture. Living and working here, as is possible in any city or country, I gradually fell out of love. With rekindling my appreciation for England firmly in mind, Bath seemed like a good place to explore for a day. Trains run regularly from Paddington and Bath Spa is one stop before Bristol Temple Meads, where the train terminates.
Bath is a compact city with strong ties to Rome, making it an intriguing hotbed of culture, history and architecture with a friendly, pleasant vibe. Everything is in close proximity making it a great city to explore on foot and an ideal city to live in.
Dubbed Aquae Sulis by the Roman settlers, Bath is clearly named for the thermal hot water springs that bubble beneath its surface and is the reason for the famous Roman Baths, where the Romans created a communal bathing area and place of worship. But there’s far more to Bath than baths…
Victoria Park Botanical Gardens
Divided into the Botanical Gardens and the Dell, these areas provide a quaint Oasis in the midst of the city. As well as housing a wide assortment of exotic trees and plants, the gardens contain a memorial to Shakespeare who was born not far from here in Stratford upon Avon, a statue of Neptune, a sundial and a canopy level seating area.
On the way to the gardens, there are also some pretty cool trees and this gorgeous house straight from the pages of a fairy tale.
The Crescent and Circus
Bath boasts some fascinating Georgian architecture, perhaps most famously the Crescent and Circus, which are dramatically and impressively curved. The Royal Crescent is a series of terraced houses set out in a sweep. The Circus meanwhile, is comprised of townhouses with breaks in its circular setup.
I’ve got a thing about bridges. I like the idea of physically crossing over and Bath’s bridge is impressive as it is populated by shops and restaurants. You can also take in the pounding waters and canal tours below.
Most people come to Bath for the baths. It’s an impressive setup established by the Romans as both a place of worship and communal healing. You can opt for an audio tour but I was happy to just walk around and explore for myself. You can’t bathe in the baths as the Romans did but you can sample some (filtered) water which has a slightly unpleasant, iron-rich taste. The Romans believed that the hot waters could cure a number of ailments so people of all social strata flocked here to reap the benefits.
Bath very much feels Roman in nature despite being a very English city. As a big fan of Rome, the Roman Baths are a nice little throwback to a Roman way of life.
Even if you aren’t looking for Bath Abbey, you can’t help but see it. Close to the Roman Baths, the Abbey was a former Benedictine monastery and for a small donation (£4 is the recommended donation for an adult) you can look around and sit for a service. A choir was rehearsing during my visit and there is something beautiful and hauntingly hopefully about the soaring voices singing in unison.
Thermae Bath Spa
I ran out of time when it came to looking at the Thermae Baths but they are well worth a visit as unlike the Roman Baths, you can actually go in them! Here old Bath meets contemporary Bath as the hot springs are fused with a modern building. Visitors can enjoy the New Royal Bath and the Cross Bath spa areas as well as a wellness suit, restaurant and shop.
Another gorgeous way to explore Bath is by water. On the day of my visit, the last boat tour (the one I opted for) was cancelled so I’ll have to add it to my list of things to do when I return to Bath.
No trip anywhere is complete without food and seeing as Bath has an Italian influence, I ordered the Mariana pizza from The Real Italian Pizza Co.
England has an exciting and complex history and sometimes the best way to delve into it, is to explore the countries cities and towns uncovering new layers of knowledge and meaning. So for now, my love affair with England is slowly springing back to life. After all, there’s more to England than London.
All my love