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Bath Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Bath

Renowned for its natural hot springs discovered by ancient Romans, peculiar Georgian architecture set in honey-coloured stone and the tranquil surroundings of the rolling English countryside, the city of Bath is a World Heritage Site and a major tourist destination since the 18th century. Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, The Circus and many other local attractions are featured in this orientation walk for your exploration and enjoyment.
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Bath Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Bath Introduction Walk
Guide Location: England » Bath (See other walking tours in Bath)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Bath Abbey
  • Guildhall and Banqueting Room
  • Pulteney Bridge
  • Beazer Garden Maze
  • St John the Evangelist Catholic Church
  • Roman Baths
  • Thermae Bath Spa
  • Theatre Royal
  • Queen Square
  • Jane Austen Centre
  • Bath Assembly Rooms
  • The Fashion Museum
  • The Circus
  • Royal Crescent
  • Royal Victoria Park
Bath Abbey

1) Bath Abbey (must see)

Bath Abbey forms the centerpiece of Bath’s many historic attractions. In the center of town between the River Avon and the Roman Baths, the Abbey’s historic spire is visible throughout the town. Formally known as the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the abbey was founded in the 7th century and extensively rebuilt in both the 12th and 16th centuries. Restored to its current glory in the 19th century by Sir Gilbert Scott, and now constructed almost entirely from the city’s famous beige Bath stone, Bath Abbey is a grand Gothic church rich in history. The first king of England, Edgar was crowned here in the 8th century.

Still an active place of worship, the Abbey is free to visit, and tourists are welcome to attend the Abbey’s services. Guided tours of the Abbey are available at a cost of £3, whilst a guided walk up the iconic bell tower is available for £6 adults, £3 for children (aged 5-15). Adjacent to the abbey lies a square which houses the Roman Baths, and is also a great spot to admire the abbey’s architecture. In the abbey vaults, the Heritage Vaults Museum houses priceless artifacts from throughout the abbey’s history.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Guildhall and Banqueting Room

2) Guildhall and Banqueting Room

The Guildhall in Bath was built between 1775 and 1778 by Thomas Baldwin according to designs by Thomas Warr Attwood. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building. The current Bath stone building replaced a Stuart Guildhall, built in 1625, which itself replaced an earlier Tudor structure. The facade has 4 Ionic columns and the building is surmounted by the figure of Justice. The central dome was added in 1893. It forms a continuous building with the Victoria Art Gallery and the covered market. The interior includes a banqueting hall with engaged Corinthian columns. It contains 18th century chandeliers and original royal portraits. The room is used on royal visits to the city including Queen Elizabeth II who had lunch in the banqueting room in May 2002. It now houses the Council chamber and Register office for Bath and North East Somerset and is used as a wedding venue, and for filming period dramas.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Pulteney Bridge

3) Pulteney Bridge (must see)

Pulteney Bridge is a bridge that crosses the River Avon. It was completed in 1773 and is designated by English Heritage as a grade I listed building. The bridge was designed by Robert Adam, whose working drawings are preserved in the Sir John Sloane's Museum, and is one of only four bridges in the world with shops across the full span on both sides. Shops on the bridge include a flower shop, an antique map shop, and a juice bar. It is named after Frances Pulteney, heiress in 1767 of the Bathwick estate across the river from Bath. Bathwick was a simple village in a rural setting, but Frances's husband William could see its potential. He made plans to create a new town, which would become a suburb of the historic city of Bath. First he needed a better river crossing than the existing ferry, hence the bridge.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Beazer Garden Maze

4) Beazer Garden Maze (must see)

The eastern edge of Bath city centre can be a distracting place. Around Pulteney Bridge, the bustle of the indoor market meets the swirl of traffic heading into town. The River Avon which surrounds the city centre passes over a weir, creating a low roar that draws visitors to the banks of the river. This is a lively area of town, with large hotels, traditional pubs and restaurants lining the route down to Bath Spa station. It can be hard to find a quiet family friendly spot, unless you cross over Pulteney Bridge into the more relaxed district of Bathwick.

On the opposite side of the river, follow steps down from the bridge to reach Beazer Gardens. A small municipal park right on the river bank, Beazer Gardens is remarkably tranquil in comparison to the streets above. The centre piece of the Gardens is an elaborate, open air stone maze, with a Roman themed mosaic at the centre. The maze and gardens make a great diversion from exploring the city centre. Other attractions in Bathwick include the Recreation Ground, home of Bath’s successful rugby union team, and the start of the Kennet & Avon Canal, a Victorian canal system that links the Avon with the River Thames.
St John the Evangelist Catholic Church

5) St John the Evangelist Catholic Church (must see)

St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church is located on the South Parade in the southeast section of Bath City Centre, in the Old Ham District. The decorative Gothic-style spire dominates the city's skyline, which has irked some people such as noted architectural critic Nikolaus Pevsner who stated the church was "a demonstrative proof of how intensely the Gothicists hated the Georgians of Bath."

The structure was designed and built between 1861-3 by Charles Francis Hansom, who was the brother of J. A. Hansom, the creator of the Hansom cab. The brothers also prepared designs for Woodchester Mansion in Nympsfield, Gloucestershire, after A. W. N. Pugin had resigned from the project. For this reason, they are often quoted as being the second best Roman Catholic architects of their day, for their success in picking up commissions Pugin had passed over. The church's 222 feet (68 metre) spire was added in 1867 by Hansom.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Roman Baths

6) Roman Baths (must see)

The Roman Baths are Bath’s most famous tourist attraction. A beautifully preserved relic of the town’s foundation as a Roman settlement, the baths lay ruined for centuries prior to extensive restoration in the 18th century. Now fully restored, they are one of the world’s only examples of naturally heated swimming baths – although you can no longer swim in them! The Roman Baths as a visitor attraction is divided into four sections – the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the original Roman Bath House, and a museum which exhibits the remarkable array of Roman artifacts found within the site. The Roman Baths lie below street level, and are housed in elegant Georgian buildings. The site is Grade 1 listed by English Heritage, and attracts over a million visitors each year.

The Baths are situated in the square next to Bath Abbey, in a historic corner of this famous city. Opening hours vary throughout the year, with the baths generally open from 9.30am until 5.30pm, with later opening times in the summer months. Adult admission is £12.25, with concessions for senior citizens and children. Prices may be marginally higher in July and August. There are a number of package deals available, including a family ticket for two adults and two children, available for £35. Packages that also allow entry to the redeveloped Thermae baths nearby are available from £65.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Thermae Bath Spa

7) Thermae Bath Spa (must see)

You may not be able to swim in Bath’s world famous Roman Baths – but around the corner, a new attraction offers the next best thing. Thermae Bath Spa, redeveloped in the last decade, is an open air, naturally heated spa that combines the existing Georgian spa of Cross Bath with a brand new spa facility, New Royal Bath. Bath is home to the only naturally warm mineral water springs in the UK. The foundation of Bath in the Roman era, and its subsequent rebirth as a health resort in the 18th century, were down to this unique geographical feature.

With the reopening of the historic Cross Bath spa, and the addition of ultra-modern facilities, Thermae Bath Spa will ensure that Bath remains a booming spa town. The spa offers a range of packages for visitors, from £68 for a three hour spa session to £188 for a day in the facility. The spa’s frontage is constructed from distinctive Bath stone with a contemporary glass surround. Thermae Bath Spa is located on Hot Bath Street, in the middle of Bath’s historic city centre.
Theatre Royal

8) Theatre Royal (must see)

Opened in 1805, The Theatre Royal in Bath remains one of the largest provincial theatres in the UK. Located in the busy Seven Dials area of Bath city centre, the theatre hosts touring plays, musical performances and stand up comedy. The theatre is also the centre of Bath’s renowned Shakespeare Festival, which takes place throughout the month of March. The theatre complex also houses two smaller studio theatres – the Ustinov Studio, which hosts an annual puppetry festival, and The Egg, a newly opened children’s studio which runs regular arts and theatre workshops for children and families.

The Theatre Royal is one of several fine examples of Georgian architecture in the city of Bath. The main theatre building was originally built in 1720, and was designed by architect Thomas Greenway. Local socialite Beau Nash was the first resident of the building, before it was converted into a theatre in the early 19th century. Rebuilt after a fire in 1863, the ornate red and gold interior of the theatre’s 900 seat auditorium was restored as part of a complete overhaul of the theatre in 2010. The Rivals, a play set in Bath’s Georgian heyday, premièred to commemorate the theatre’s restoration and reopening.
Queen Square

9) Queen Square (must see)

Queen Square is a Georgian era residential square, located in the busy western end of Bath city centre. With Gay Street leading north to The Circus and south to shops and restaurants either side of the square, Queen Square is a popular spot for hotels and guest houses. The elegant Francis Hotel dominates the south side of the square, whilst tourists are often attracted to guest houses in the square, due to its convenient central location. Designed by John Wood the Elder and completed in the 19th century by John Pinch, Queen Square is reminiscent of London’s fine Georgian squares, and is the most central of Bath’s celebrated Georgian streets.

The central gardens offer a quiet spot to take in a panorama of Queen Square’s four sides, all of which are Grade I listed. The monument standing within the gardens, known locally as the Bath Needle, is officially known as the Beau Nash Monument. Nash, a popular local socialite credited with attracting the great and good to Bath in the late 18th century, gifted the monument to the town to commemorate the visit of Prince Frederick, who later lived a short walk up Lansdown Hill away, at 1 Royal Crescent.
Jane Austen Centre

10) Jane Austen Centre (must see)

Jane Austen Centre is a renown museum in Bath, which exhibits the life of the famous novelist Jane Austin during her years of living in Bath and the impact the city has had on her writing. Jane Austen resided in Bath from 1801 to 1806, and it is here where she wrote two of her six published novels: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. In an 18th century atmosphere you can view exclusive films, costumes, maps and books, perfectly reflecting Jane Austin's experience in Bath. Annually, the Centre holds the Jane Austen Festival, which is a 9 day event delightful to both locals and tourists.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bath Assembly Rooms

11) Bath Assembly Rooms (must see)

The Assembly Rooms, located on the northern edges of the city center, can lay claim to being the historic heart of Bath. In the city’s Georgian heyday, the Assembly Rooms were the epicenter of high society. The social calendar of Bath’s elite revolved around dances, card games and soirées at the Assembly Rooms, with British authors Jane Austen and Charles Dickens both making reference in their novels to the grand social occasions held there.

Now owned by the National Trust, the Assembly Rooms remains remarkably well preserved, despite being partly damaged during World War 2. The building, true to its name, is divided into several rooms, all of which possess original features from their Georgian heyday, including the original crystal chandeliers. The largest room, the ballroom, is still available as a wedding venue, with the card room and octagon serving as refined venues for the reception afterwards!

Entry is free to National Trust members, and is £2.00 for adults, with concessions available. Wheelchairs are available on site, but please book these in advance. The Fashion Museum is housed below the Assembly Rooms, and both venues can be visited by purchasing a joint ticket, available at £7.25 for adults, with concessions available. The Assembly Rooms are on Bennett Street, a ten minute walk from Bath city center.
Sight description based on wikipedia
The Fashion Museum

12) The Fashion Museum (must see)

The Fashion Museum is located inside Bath’s historic Assembly Rooms, a ten minute walk north of Bath city centre. The museum houses historical fashion collections from the 18th century until the present day. Early exhibits include Victorian men’s waistcoats and elaborately embroidered silk gowns. The museum is known for its impressive collection of works by 20th century fashion designers, including Vivienne Westwood and Norman Hartnell. The museum also houses regular additional exhibitions, with recent collections ranging from 17th century fashion accessories to cutting edge contemporary trends. In addition, the Fashion Museum offers educational fashion workshops for kids, and study facilities for fashion students.

The museum also awards a Dress of the Year prize each calendar year, and the 2011 winner, designed by Vivienne Westwood, can be seen at the museum throughout the year. The Assembly Rooms building also has an affordable café, serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and pastries. The building is fully adapted for wheelchair users, and also offers audio guides to all collections in seven different languages. Entry prices to the Assembly Rooms include entry to the Fashion Museum, and costs £7.25 for adults, with a range of concessions available for senior citizens and children under 18.

Operation hours: January - February: 10:30 - 16:00; March - October: 10:30 - 17:00; November - December 10:30 - 16:00
The Circus

13) The Circus (must see)

The Circus stands a short walk to the east of Royal Crescent, and a ten minute walk along Gay Street from the western edge of the city center. The Circus does not have a dedicated museum, but can easily be taken in either as part of an architectural tour, or around visits to nearby attractions, such as the Assembly Rooms or Museum of East Asian Art. Designed by John Wood the Elder, the Circus was completed by his son, John Wood the Younger, who also designed the Royal Crescent. The three buildings that make up the Circus have previously been voted amongst Britain’s greatest architectural works.

The less well known partner to the Royal Crescent, the place once known as The King’s Circus is perhaps even more impressive architecturally; three curved buildings combine to form a perfect circle of ornate Georgian facades, with a picture book village green in the middle. Rumors abound that the circular nature of the street, combined with the arc of the Royal Crescent a few yards away, was intended to represent a star and crescent - an ancient Masonic symbol, and a theme of the Woods’ work. It’s all part of the grandeur and mysticism that make both streets such unique architectural sights.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Crescent

14) Royal Crescent (must see)

Situated on the edge of a grassy hill overlooking the city center below, the Royal Crescent is the most notable and well known of Bath’s famous crescents. Built in 1774 based on a concept and design that belonged to architect John Wood the Younger, the Royal Crescent stands with the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey as one of the West Country city’s truly world famous attractions. An unbroken crescent of grand Georgian townhouses, the Royal Crescent stands out from the city’s other Georgian architecture because of its scale, and the ambition of its imposing, Roman influenced design.

The Royal Crescent lies north west of the city center, close to Royal Victoria Park. It gained its regal name when Prince Frederick, the Duke of York, made 1 Royal Crescent his home in the 18th century. In the years since its construction, the Royal Crescent has played host to many other famous names. 1 Royal Crescent is now a museum which recreates the grandeur of a Georgian townhouse during Bath’s golden era. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday for most of the year, although it is closed in the winter months.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Victoria Park

15) Royal Victoria Park (must see)

There are landmarks across Great Britain named after its longest serving monarch, Queen Victoria – but Royal Victoria Park was the first to bear her name. Opened in 1830 when the then Princess Victoria was just 11 years old, the 57 acre public park is typical of the municipal gardens that appeared in wealthy cities in the 19th century. Aiming to offer entertainment, social spaces and the tranquillity of nature within one space, the park is a popular destination for tourists and local residents to this day.

Royal Victoria Park is situated to the northwest of the city, a ten minute walk from the centre. The Royal Crescent is five minutes away, and overlooks the park from the edge of Lansdown Hill. The park boasts an extensive ornamental garden with a monument to Victoria at its centre. A boating pond is a popular spot to spend an afternoon, whilst the large public playground is perhaps the park’s highlight. A large, constantly updated collection of unique and creative play equipment, it caters for all ages, from sand pits to skateboard ramps. The park hosts several outdoor family events in summer, including the popular Hot Air Balloon festival, when the Bath skyline is lit up by colourful hot air balloons launching from the park.

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