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Bath, England - Classic Bath - 9th March 2002

Posted by Edmond on Saturday, May 11, 2002

Highlights of the town of Bath including the Bath Abbey, Bath Circus, the Royal Crescent and the Roman Baths. A Bath bus tour which gave a brief history of sites and the famous writers, notably Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, that lived in the area.

Bath Tour:
1. Royal Crescent
2. The Bath Circus
3. City Bus Tour
4. The Roman Baths Museum
Roman Baths Museum

About an hour and a half later, we arrived at Bath from London Paddington. We then arrived at the tourist office that is near the Bath Abbey, about a few minutes walk from the station. Before long, we hopped straight onto the first city tour bus that was waiting outside the Abbey.

The bus tour gave a good introduction into the city of Bath as it weaved through the narrow streets of the town centre. Some sites included Queen Square, the Circus and the Royal Crescent. But the walled-up windows of the buildings around Gay and Old King Street proved to be the most humourous. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the local council imposed a window tax. In reply, some townsfolk decided to avoid paying window tax by building up bricks against the windows.

The bus then left the town centre, driving along the railway line, with the guide explaining how Queen Victoria travelled via train to get to Bath. As we passed Holburne Museum and entered the residential areas of Bath, the guide on the bus explained where Jane Austen had lived when she was writing her novel "Pride and Prejudice". The bus then did a full circle back to the town centre, when the guide pointed out some inscription on a building that had some relation to Charles Dickens before terminating at Bath Abbey.

After having lunch in the town centre, we walked up to the Georgian-styled building at the Royal Crescent via Queens Square, as if trying to trace back the steps the bus had taken, albeit unsuccessfully. It was a steady walk up the hill to the Royal Crescent, but the true size of the semi-circular ring of apartments could only be appreciated by foot, not bus, since the bus did not drive into the area. Walking at the end of the semi-circle, we found a sign displaying the date of completion and the builders of the Royal crescent. Other than that, there wasn't much to see, so we left for the Baths via the Circus.

Later in the afternoon, we arrived at the Roman Baths Museum. The Roman Baths is famous for their significance as a sacred site for the Roman Britons in the time of Ancient Rome. The Roman bath consists of the Great Bath located below the terrace, and the Sacred Spring that was located nearby in a outside enclosure. Romans once believed that this spring was the work of the Roman Goddess Minerva. Water from the Sacred spring feeds into the Great bath where the water is freed of sediment, before going into saunas and the other buildings to provide heating for the original site. In addition, there was a separate sauna room where sufferers of leprosy and other diseases and injuries, came to soak their bodies and wounds in the warm, mineral rich water.

It was obvious from the start that the museum building was not part of the original site, but it does serve its function in explaining the history of the bath and various archeological finds that were found at the site. In addition, a reconstructed model of the site was also shown at the museum. Just outside the museum entrance, is the Pump Room, which is a large banquetting hall, and where visitors can sample a taste of the hot water from the Roman baths.

After leaving the museum, we decided to call it a day after the weather became unsettled. Still, Bath is a nice day trip from London, with an interesting view of Roman history at the Roman baths, as well as the contemporary novellists, Austen and Dickens that made the area famous.

Edmond, 2002