Best Sight Seeings:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bath "The Historic and Romantic Roman city"


Bath is a historic Roman city. It is a World Heritage Site, situated 100 miles west of London and 15 miles (25 km) south-east of the nearest big city, Bristol. A unique city, Bath is famous for its hot springs, Roman period baths, Medieval heritage and stately Georgian architecture. Set in the rolling Somerset countryside, Bath (population 80,000+) offers a diverse range of attractions for its millions of visitors each year: restaurants, theatres, cinemas, pubs and nightclubs, along with interesting museums, and a wide range of guided tours.

Roman Baths

Visit the heart of the World Heritage Site. Around Britain's only hot spring, the Romans built a magnificent temple and bathing complex that still flows with natural hot water. See the water's source and walk where Romans walked on the ancient stone pavements around the steaming pool. The extensive ruins and treasures from the spring are beautifully preserved and presented using the best of modern interpretation.

Meet Roman costumed characters every day and hear the stories of those who lived and worked here 2,000 years ago. Audioguides in 8 languages, with a special one for children in English and French, are included in the admission price. Enjoy morning cofee, lunch or afternoon tea in the magnificent 18th c. Pump Room, accompanied by music from the Pump Room Trio, and try a glass of Spa water from the fountain. Visit the romantic torchlit Roman Baths and avoid the crowds on summer evenings - the whole site is open until 10pm, last entry 9pm, during July and August.

Special offer:
Make the most of Bath's thermal waters with a full day experience that spans 2000 years! Package includes 2 hour session at Thermae Bath Spa, a ticket to the Roman Baths and a 3 course lunch in the Pump Room. The whole package costs just £59.00 per person and payment must be made upon booking.

Dyrham Park

This fine William and Mary house, set in 265 acres of ancient deerpark, was built between 1691 and 1702 for William Blathwayt, William III's Secretary of State and at War. Rooms changed little since they were furnished by Blathwayt in the Dutch style, Delft China, Dutch Paintings, and fine 17th Century textiles. 1840's domestic rooms open. Visitors can visit The House, Garden & Park or The Park. The House is closed on Weds & Thurs. The Park is open daily throughout the year.

Prior Park Landscape Garden

Beautiful and intimate 18th century landscape garden created by Bath entrepreneur Ralph Allen with advice from poet Alexander Pope and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Sweeping valley with magnificent views over the city of Bath. Walk across the famous Palladian Bridge, one of four in the world. Explore the woodland paths. Discover what wildlife lives in the beautiful haven. Or just relax and admire the view. A wonderful walk and an ideal picnic spot.

Bath Abbey

Begun in 1499, Bath Abbey is the last of the great medieval churches of England. The West Front is unique as it depicts the dream that inspired the Abbey's founder, Bishop Oliver King, to pull down the ruined Norman cathedral and raise the present building on its foundations.

Over the past twelve and a half centuries, three different churches have occupied the site of today’s Abbey: An Anglo-Saxon Abbey Church dating from 757, pulled down by the Norman conquerors of England soon after 1066. A massive Norman cathedral begun about 1090. It was larger than the monastery could afford to maintain and by the end of the 15th century was in ruins. The present Abbey church founded in 1499, ruined after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 by order of Henry VIII.

Worship has taken place on the site of today's Abbey for over one thousand years and continues to this day with services taking place throughout the entire week.

Abbey House Gardens

An internationally known 5 acre garden in an historic town made famous by The Naked Gardeners. Its long colourful season has interest from over 10,000 different trees, shrubs and plants set in a landscape of both great diversity and great beauty. Refreshments & wheelchair friendly (at least 60%) the gardens are 5 miles north of M4 J17 and open daily March 21 – Oct 21, 11.00 – 5.30.

Alexandra Park

This 11 acre park was opened in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII, and named in honour of Queen Alexandra. Situated at the top of Beeches Cliff, it gives magnificent panoramic views of the city and the surrounding wooded vales and hills. Access to the park is by a long flight of steps, otherwise known as Jacob's ladder. The walk back down to the city centre through Beechen Cliff can be a challenge in places, but is worth the effort.

Sydney Gardens

Situated behind the Holburne Museum at the end of Great Pulteney Street, Sydney Gardens is Bath’s oldest park. It was planned and laid out by the architect Harcourt Masters in 1795. 12 acres in size, it became very popular towards the end of the 18th and 19th century and was frequently visited by members of the Royal family and the famous author Jane Austen who lived at number 4 Sydney Place. The gardens were purchased in 1909 by the city and in the same year a replica of the Temple of Minerva was built to commemorate the Bath Historical Pageant.
Today the park contains fine trees, shrubberies, lawns and flower beds, tennis courts and a children’s play area and is popular for its bridge views of the railway line for spotting trains. The Kennet and Avon Canal also runs through the park. It’s wide paths are ideal for cycling along. Another great spot for picnicing, look out for squirrels!

The Botanical Gardens

One of the most delightful features of Royal Victoria Park, The Botanical Gardens were formed in 1887 and within their 9 acres is one of the finest collections of plants on limestone, certainly in the West Country. The Gardens boast many choice trees, shrubs, fine herbaceous border, a rock garden and pool, a scented walk, a collection of old shrub roses, a replica of a Roman Temple (the City’s exhibit at the British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924), and lots of other very interesting features.
To mark the centenary in 1987 the gardens were extended to include the Great Dell, a disused quarry and formally part of the park itself, which already conatined a very fine collection of conifers. It has been developed into a woodland garden, and contains ever more plants and features to add to this fascinating and beautiful park.

Royal Victoria Park

Below the Royal Crescent and stretching over 57 acres, this park of many parts has something for everyone regardless of age.

The Park was formed in 1829 and formally opened in 1830. It was named after the 11 year old Princess Victoria, (the first ever park to carry her name) visiting Bath at the time. Royal Victoria Park was privately run until 1921 when it was taken over by the Bath Corporation. Overlooked by the Royal Crescent, its 57 acres were originally laid out as an arboretum, and even today it contains a superb collection of trees. Furthermore, there are some fine Ornaments, a bird aviary, beautiful bedding displays, a boating pond, tennis courts, a bowling green, and 12 and 18 hole approach golf courses. A pond provides the perfect place to float model boats and the old park tradition of duck feeding. Among children the unique and incredible children’s play area is very popular.

Westonbirt The National Arboretum

Explore one of the largest and oldest tree collections in the world. Over 16,000 rare and beautiful trees and shrubs, laid out over 600 glorious, easy-to-stroll Cotswold acres.

An unforgettable day out in all seasons - bluebells, magnolias and rhododendrons, 100 champion trees and the Japanese maples; we're world famous for our Autumn colours.

Events, workshops and family events run throughout the year, including the concert programme in June and July, the unique Festival of the Tree in August and the spectacular Enchanted Wood in December.

Free weekend guided walks with friendly, expert volunteers. Special group rates. Shop, plant centre, restaurant and mobility vehicles available. Dogs welcome.

Iford Manor and the Peto Garden

Award winning Grade I Italian-Style garden famous for its tranquil beauty, the home of architect and landscape gardener Harold Peto, from 1899-1933. Unique and romantic, this hillside garden is characterised by steps, terraces, sculpture and magnificent rural views. Children under 10 free and prefered weekdays only for safety reasons.

Hedgemead Park

This attractive 5 acre park is situated below Camden Crescent at London Road towards the end of Walcot Street. It came about when the houses below Camden Crescent collapsed in 1889 due to a landslide. The layout of the paths and terrain on this park was engineered to prevent the possibility of future landslides. The park contains many beautiful trees and shrubs, and some of the fine rose displays. Furthermore, there is a children’s play area.

Corsham Court

Corsham Court is one of England's finest stately homes and is based upon an Elizabethan Manor dating from 1582. The interiors are laid out as a suite of magnificent Georgian Staterooms, the work of leading 18th and 19th Century architects. Their brief was to properly display the famous Methuen/Sanford art collection featuring Old Masters by Van Dyck, Carlo Dolci and Lippi. Important works still hang as intended alongside Adams Brothers' pier glasses in the unique tripple cube picture gallery with ornate ceiling by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Extensive formal gardens with Brown/Repton landscape beyond complete the contemporary setting.

Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults Museum

Bath Abbey Heritage Vaults Museum is situated on the south side of Bath Abbey, under Kingston pavements. Carefully restored eighteenth century cellars provide an intriguing setting for an exhibition of objects which have survived from the Abbey's past, some of them dating back to Saxon times. Set alongside them is an interesting and informative presentation which uses words and pictures, music and voices to celebrate 1200 years of Abbey history.

Pulteney Bridge

Pulteney Bridge, together with the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, is one of the world's most beautiful bridges. Like the Ponte Vecchio it is one of a handful of historic bridges in the world with shops built into it.

Built for William Pulteney by Robert Adams, the bridge was an attempt to connect central Bath to land on the other bank of the River Avon and make Pulteney's fortune. In spite of its practical origins it is surely the most romantic bridge in the world, best viewed from Parade Gardens park by the crescent weir.


Claverton Pumping Station


Built by John Rennie in 1813 this amazing pump uses the power of the River Avon to lift water up 48ft into the Kennet and Avon Canal above. Burning no fuel and making no waste it is the ultimate 'green machine'. Restored and maintained by members of the Kennet and Avon Canal trust this wonderful piece of engineering must not be missed.

Farleigh Hungerford Castle

Set in the picturesque valley of the River Frome, this impressive castle offers hidden treasures and a sinister past. The castle has many unique features, including the remarkable 14th century chapel which houses the tombs of past generations of the Hungerford family. It also boasts rare wall paintings and a collection of lead death masks. You can relive the troubled and sometimes gruesome history of Farleigh Hungerford Castle and discover the crimes and intrigues of its Hungerford lords through the fascinating audio tour. After you have explored the castle ruins, why not visit the Priest’s House and the beautiful chapel of St Leonard’s. Descend into the crypt and see for yourself the sinister ‘portrait’ coffins. The Priest’s House also contains finds from past excavations and a virtual tour which helps bring the castle to life - fun for all the family!

The Circus

The Circus was the masterpiece of John Wood the Elder. The striking architecture has spawned numerous theories to explain its stark originality. Viewed from the air it forms the shape of a key, perhaps a Masonic symbol? John Wood is also thought to have taken inspiration from the ancient standing stones of nearby Stanton Drew and from Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Either way, the Circus is a stupendous creative accomplishment and one of the key reasons Bath was awarded the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Glastonbury Abbey

Hidden away in the centre of this ancient market Town are the awe-inspiring ruins, of what was the largest and richest Abbey in England; set amongst 36 acres of beautiful Somerset parkland and ponds. In the Spring see thousands of snowdrops and crocus, followed later by daffodils, bluebells and then masses of Wildflowers and native grasses; and in Autumn colour on our hundreds of trees .
From March to October meet a character - maybe a monk, a kitchen maid, Henry VIII’s Commissioner or one of King Arthurs Knights , who will regale you with the history and legends of this once great Abbey – the largest and wealthiest in Britain.

Avebury Stone Circle

At the centre of a pre-historic complex in the Marlborough Downs stands Avebury, the largest stone circle in Europe. This circle features one of the most impressive henges in Britain as well as remains of a stone avenue.
Originally erected about 4,500 years ago, many of the stones were re-erected in the 1930s by Alexander Keiller. The circles and henge enclose part of the village. The Avebury landscape is now a World Heritage Site.

The Royal Crescent

The Royal Crescent is one of the world's best known landmarks. Built between 1767 and 1775 and designed by John Wood the younger, the crescent contains some 30 houses, one of which is now the Royal Crescent Hotel, another is Number 1 and open to the public.

Beckford's Tower & Museum

The 120 foot neo-classical Tower was built for wealthy eccentric William Beckford in 1827 as a study retreat which housed part of his art collection & library. Today it contains a museum collection on the first floor illustrating his life & interests. Visitors can climb up the newly restored Tower into the Belvedere for panoramic views over Bath & countryside.

Stanton Drew Stone Circle

The ancient standing stones of Stanton Drew have drawn visitors for centuries. Scattered across a field roamed by sheep, visitors can wander the field, picnic on the stones, and draw their own conclusions on why they were placed there by the ancient Britons. It is thought that John Wood, the famous designer of Bath's Royal Crescent and Circus, took inspiration from the stones for many of his creations.

Thermae Bath Spa

Using the warm, mineral-rich waters which the Celts and Romans enjoyed over 2000 years ago, Thermae Bath Spa is Britain's original and only natural thermal Spa. Thermae is a remarkable combination of 'old and new' where historic spa buildings blend with the contemporary design of the New Royal Bath. Choose a 2-hour or 4-hour spa session which includes full access to the warm waters and flowing curves of the Minerva Bath, a series of aromatic steam rooms and the open-air rooftop pool with spectacular views across the skyline of Bath.

In addition, our therapists provide over 50 spa treatments including a specially designed set of packages which aim to promote relaxation and well-being. With a constantly changing menu, the Springs restaurant serves a selection of delicious meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day.

Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park
A great Value Day out for the whole family in the beautiful river based park, large Adventure playground, huge indoor play barn with three drop slides, large outdoor drops slide, One and a quarter mile nature trail walk with children's assault course and lots of interesting and friendly animals to meet all around the walk.
Pets corner with cuddling times, mini electric quad bikes and dizzy ducks, new trampoline centre, mini steam train rides, boating, fishing, falconry displays weekends and school holidays, picnic and BBQ areas, cafes and gift shop.
Avon Valley Park is truly great value all weather entertainment centre.
Winter opening times from 2nd November 2009 - open daily 10am to 5pm Playbarn only. Park closes at 5.30pm and the gates are closed at 6.00pm.

Avon Valley Railway


The Avon Valley Railway is more than just a steam train ride, offering a whole new experience for some or a nostalgic memory for others. Steam trains run to the edge of the scenic Avon Valley. Special events arranged throughout the year including courses on how to drive a steam engine, monthly Sunday lunch trains, and children’s parties.
Site entry is free, train rides are payable. Call talking timetable for details: 0117 932 7296.
Wookey Hole Caves & Papermill
Britain's most spectacular caves and home of the infamous Witch of Wookey. Wander through the prehistoric valley of the Dinosaurs featuring King Kong and relax in our magical fairy garden. The 19th Century Papermill houses a variety of fascinating attractions including Victorian Penny Arcade, Magical Mirror Maze, Hall of Crazy Mirrors, Cave Museum and Pirate Zap Zone. Come and visit the Wookey Bear Collection and factory, also our new Big Top Restaurant. New for July 2007 is the Jolly Roger Pirate Circus.

Drive-Tech Ltd
Driver training in skid control and also off-road driving. Professionally run courses for people holding full driving licences. Kart racing available for adult and junior racing drivers of all abilities.
Corporate groups welcome on exclusive basis (any day of the week) which can combine all activities.

Office open 08:30-17:30 Mon-Fri & 09:00-15:00 Sat. Corporate-weekdays. Sat & Sun - public.

New for 2009: are you looking for that extra special Birthday Party idea for your youngsters?
Drivetech now offer birthday karting parties for groups of up to 10 drivers on every 2nd & 4th Sunday.

Beazer Maze

A quaint grassed area which can be found on the east side of the weir in Beazer Gardens. The paving stone maze is a favourite with younger children who play for hours trying to find the centre. The garden itself is named after the Bath-based construction company who donated the land. The central location of the maze makes this an ideal spot for families to take a picnic away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Access is from steps on Pulteney Bridge.

Transportations

Get around

Most locations in Bath are easily walkable from the city centre and stations. Bath's roads can be quite congested and driving is not particularly to be recommended for local journeys, but is probably the best way of seeing the surrounding region.

Pedestrians

Some of Bath's shopping streets feel like pedestrian only areas - but aren't. Have a quick look round before you follow everyone else out into the road and, if you're driving, expect pedestrians to walk out in front of you.

Public bus

Typically for British public transport, public buses are at best adequate. A popular 'Park and Ride' bus system operates from a ring of parking lots around the outskirts of the city (Newbridge, Lansdown and Odd Down). It can take you to Milsom Street, the city's main shopping street, or to a number of the cities schools. Note that Bath's buses are often quite expensive, compared with other cities.

Tourist buses

Tour buses complete an enjoyable circuit of main attractions - these can be picked up en route or at the main bay at 'Bog Island' (for the Skyline tour) or next to the fountain near Bath Abbey (for the city centre tour). When you see something you like just hop off at the next stop, have a look round, and hop back on the next one that comes along. Attractions en route include the historic Royal Crescent, The Circus - and some tour bus companies include a route up the winding Ralph Allen Road past the impressive Prior Park Gardens. Tickets cost between £6 and £10 for both the 40 minute Skyline tour and the 45 minute City Centre, hop-on, hop-off service.

Taxis

There are taxi ranks outside the train station and the Abbey. Somehow there never seem to be enough when a train arrives or late at night so plan ahead to avoid long queues. Taxi firms are well advertised locally. The drivers know the city well and will entertain you with (often cranky) stories.

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