With a day off work today I ventured back to the city in which I spent my university life, Bath, located in the South West of England. During my three years there I was always blown away by the number of tourists flocking to the city on a daily basis. Now, going back as and when I can, I realise just how much I took for granted.
Bath is a city grounded well within English history. Situated roughly two hours west of London, Bath has earned the title of an UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its preservation of key Roman sites such as the Roman Baths (pictured right), which are available to visit all year, and free to local residence.
The Jane Austen Centre also draws in the crowds at all times of the year as it celebrates the life and work of a women that pushed literary boundaries.
In my opinion, the most breathtaking element of Bath’s character is it’s pale brown brick buildings – a theme that features in buildings both old and new allowing even the modern high street to leave you absorbed in it’s 19th century feel. There are many architectural highlights within the city including The Royal Crescent, The Circus (pictured above left) and Bath Abbey (pictured further below), to name just a few. Although there is a Big Red Bus Tour around the city everything is extremely accessible by foot and to get a real feel for the city, this is the way to do it.
Hidden Within The Countryside
From whichever direction you approach the city you come down over the hills and across the River Avon, exaggerating the already stunning views. If you’re lucky enough to have the time, a riverside walk or skyline hike will reward you with scenery not to be missed.
There are various parks dotted across the city with Victoria Park arguably the most well known, which is understandable given it’s location, sitting just under The Crescent. However my favourite spot in the city and a spot not so well done to visitors is Alexandra Park (pictured right), situated on the south edge of the city. Accessible by foot or bus from the city centre, visitors can either accept the challenge of the climb, or simply take in the views before strolling back down to the more central attractions.
Bath Spa University is also a beautiful area for a walk (although slightly biased). Situated just two miles from the city centre the campus sits within the hills on land owned by Prince Charles and is surround by acres of land and even has it’s own lake. The perfect place for a relaxing stroll, and opening to the public. Local tip for you – the neighbouring village of Newton St Loe is home to a gorgeous farm shop and cafe which you’d be a fool to miss.
Leading smoothly on from the farm shop, the city centre itself also hosts many independent businesses selling a variety of food, clothing and local souvenirs. Branching off the high street are many cobbled streets with the Courtyard Cafe and the Fudge Factory being just two of Bath’s hidden treats. The city also offers a range of stylish cocktails bars for when the sun goes down (or for when the sun is high in the sky, I would highly recommend that activity)!
Bath has something for everyone, whether you’re sporty and fancy a game of Premiership rugby at The Rec, or more cultural and want to wander around one of the cities various museums such as The Fashion Museum or the Holborne Museum. If you really want to treat yourself you could pay a visit to the modern day answer to the Roman Baths and spend a morning at Thermae Bath Spa.
It is truly a gorgeous city and I would highly recommend a weekend to explore, especially if you are coming to the UK from afar; Bath is a hidden gem not to be missed.