Newest Review: ... which are absolutely beautiful when the sun shines on them. No trip to Bath would be complete without a visit to the Roman baths. ... more
Rude assistants in Tourist Info spoilt my impression
Bath in General
Member Name: lellagrace
Bath in General
Advantages: Great place to visit
Disadvantages: Can be crowded and tiring on the feet!
Of course, when we were there, the place was packed with tourists, it being a sunny weekend, but even so the place was far from being overcrowded. We were able to wander around at our leisure, taking photos and stopping to look at the historic buildings. It might have also helped in that we followed teh guidebook walking tour in reverse order.
I have already written an earlier review on the Roman Baths so will not go into any detail about them, suffice it to say that it is worthwhile visiting them.
So what else is on offer in Bath? Well, for starters I suggest you pop into the tourist information centre and pick up a leaflet and map, or a small booklet costing a couple of pounds. From these you will be able to follow a map taking you around the major attractions.
The Tourist Information Centre is situated in Abbey Chambers, right outside the Abbey, so it is easy to locate. They have lots of leaflets on the different attractions, can help you find accommodation and can help with other queries.
I have to say though that I was rather surprised at the somewhat offhand way the assistants spoke to some foreign tourists. Their English was not too good, but the assistant was obviously fed up of being asked the same questions and made her irritation known. Her colleague was the same when asked for her advice. Hopefully this was just the two assistants having an off-day and not the usual manner of dealing with overseas visitors.
Bath is on the tourist agenda for visitors from all over the world and I sincerely hope the group of Japanese tourist who asked for advice, didn't think we are all as rude as those assistants. If they don't want to help people, they are in the wrong job!
Anyway, just across the square from the Tourist Information Centre is the abbey. Situated in the centre of the town this is well worth a visit. Photography is permitted inside the abbey. Opening times vary according to the season and there are times when entry is restricted due to services. However, more information is available on their website
Outside the abbey there are lots of seats where you can have a short time to relax and gaze at the surrounding buildings.
Have you ever eaten a Sally Lunn? This is a kind of semi sweet bread bun, and you can visit the Sally Lunn tea shop and take refreshments, with of course, the famous bun. There are different versions of why it is called a Sally Lunn, according to which tourist leaflet you read, but if you visit the Sally Lunn Museum you can see the kitchen which Sally Lunn used over 300 years ago. This is a short walk from the abbey area.
Towards the other end of town is the Royal Crescent. This is stunning, there are simply no other words to describe this crescent of townhouses. From the outside the curving terrace of houses is a sight of architetural excellence. Although it must be good to live in such splendid houses, I would surely become irritated by the hordes of visitors standing on the pavement outside my front door!
If you are curious about what a Georgian house looks like inside, step into No 1 Royal Crescent, looked after by the Bath Preservation Trust. This is now a museum and was the first house to be built in the street. Admire the re-created atmosphere of what life was like in Georgian times by visiting the dining room, bedroom and kitchens. Admission is 5 GBP, less for concessions and children and the house is open from 10.30 am until 5 pm from mid February until the end of November (4 pm close in November), and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Other museums looked after by the Bath Preservation Trust are The Building of Bath Mseum, Beckford's Tower and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. Unfortunately we did not have time to visit these, so I cannot comment on what they are like, apart from what is on the tourist leaflets which you can obtain yourself.
JANE AUSTEN CENTRE
If you are a fan of Jane Austen, then you may already know that she often visited Bath and lived there for five years from 1801 to 1806. Her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, are set in the city.
A Georgian town house in the heart of the city, at 40 Gay Street, is now the Jane Austen Centre. This is open at varying times, according to the time of year. More details are available on the webside www.janeausten.co.uk
Inside the house your tour begins with an introductory talk and then you can wander around and explore the exhibits. These include replica costumes of the kind Jane would have worn.
There is also a gift shop and tea room at the centre.
Of course Bath is a spa town where the waters are said to have healing qualities. You can bathe in the thermal waters at the Thermae bath Spa in the Hetling Pump Room in Hot Bath Street. There are no joining fees or membership charges, but you should check out the website www.thermaebathspa.com for opening times and booking information.
Inside there are four bathing pools and a series of steam rooms, with additional spa treatments available. Very therapeutic after a hard day trekking around the sights, and one which I would highly recommend! You can hire bathrobes, towels and slippers so all you have to do is take yourself along and unwind!
In the area around Bath there are various other attractions. Longleat, the safar park is in nearby Warminster. Wookey Hole and Caves, Cheddar Gorge and the Fleet Air Museum are in Somerset, around 20 miles away, making a visit possible when combined with a stay in Bath.
Bath is situated a short distance from junction 18 of the M4, along the A46, or along the A4 from Bristol.
Car parks rapidly fill up in peak times, so do arrive early if you driving into the city. There are numerous disabled spaces available, but even these involve a walk to see the main attractions.
It is best if you can avoid the main tourist seasons if you want to make the best of your visit. Coach parties descend on the town and you may find yourself stuck in a long queue to get into the attractions, or have your photos blocked by groups of visitors. However, as I mentioned earlier in my review, although we visited on a Sunday in August, the place was bustling but not so severely overcrowded that we were unable to enjoy the visit. Apparently Saturdays are the busiest times, and also Bank Holidays.
Summary: One of England's gems
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