The city of Bath in Somerset, UK is about 13 miles south-east of Bristol, and has been a venues for tourists since Roman times. Prior to the Roman occupation of Britain the Celts found the hot springs there and dedicated them to their god Sul. The hot spring in Bath is the only one in Britain. The Romans built a temple to Minerva next to the spring and they called the place Aquae Sulis, (the waters of Sul). This was not a garrison town, but one used for relaxation on the Fosse Way, a Roman road which connected Exeter and Humberside. They would have needed the baths they built after a long march. You can still visit the Roman Baths at Bath and see how sophisticated they were.
The city flourished in the Regency period of the 18th century and was visited notable by the novelist Jane Austen, who wrote incisively about the Pump Rooms and Regency life and times. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Bath was a cultural centre that was visited by anyone who was someone. Visitors include William Wordsworth, William Pitt, Thomas Gainsborough the artist, Admiral Lord Nelson, Josiah Wedgwood Dr. David Livingstone and a whole host of other worthies.
Today’s tourists can see the famous Pump Room of Jane Austen’s novels and visit the Tea Rooms, although taking three glasses of the spring water may not be advisable today. There is also the modern Thermae Bath Spa where you can book spa treatments.
Bath is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its Regency architecture and if you visit Bath, you will no doubt go to the Royal Crescent and the Circus. You can imagine the balls that were held in the residences in the Royal Crescent and if you go to the Jane Austen Centre, you will be able to see the types of clothes that would have been worn on such occasions.
The Assembly Rooms, including the ballroom and Tea Rooms, as well as the Octagon suffered from bomb damage in 1942 during the Second World War, but these have been carefully and lovingly restored to their former glory.
The Jane Austen Centre is a must for fans of her novels. It is a museum with guides in period costumes and it is open every day from April to October from 09:45 to 17:30. In July and August it doesn’t close until 19:00 from Thursday to Sunday. From November to March it is open from 11:00 to 16:30 Sundays to Fridays and Saturdays from 09:45 until 17:30.
The Bath International Music Festival will be held between the 22nd May and 2nd June, with the “Party in the City,” which has music for all tastes, being held on 24th May. There is also the Fringe Festival with events for all the family, held between the 24th May and 9th June 2013. These are annual events, but dates change. This year the events occur over the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May.
Bath is a city, so you can do your shopping there and eat and drink in the local pubs. Be careful with the local cider (scrumpy) as it is potent!
There is something in Bath for everyone and it makes for an ideal break at any time of year.