The approach into Bath is striking. Much of this first impression is due to the light, honey-coloured limestone, known as Bath Stone, from which so many of its buildings are made. The combination of fine Georgian architecture and distinctive Bath Stone is central to the city’s image. Bath is renowned for being beautiful: is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a history dating back to pre-Roman times. The city has a wealth of attractions, but no visit is complete without taking time to appreciate the fine architecture for which it is so justly famous.
The Royal Crescent (build in the 18 th Century by John Wood the Younger) is synonymous with Bath. It is a grand arc of thirty terraces, with an open aspect, facing out across Victoria Park. One of these terraces is a luxury hotel, complete with spa.
Bath is a compact city, and relatively easy to explore on foot. To reach the next landmark, follow the cobbled street which leads round the front of the Royal Crescent, continue onto Brock Street (the left exit when you are facing Victoria Park), and stroll down until you reach the Circus. This is the masterpiece of John Wood the Elder (father of John Wood the Younger), and was completed in 1768.
Equally impressive, the Circus is a circle of four-storey terraces forming a somewhat tighter curve. It has three entrance points and frames a central garden area. It is lovely to walk around, and you can also stop in the middle and admire the encircling buildings. View the Circus from the air, however, and it is a revelation, as, together with Brock Street, the buildings appear to make the shape of a key. There is speculation that this represented a masonic symbol, but much of John Wood’s inspiration was drawn from the study of nearby stone circles. This included Stonehenge, which originally had a ceremonial approach (still present today as earthworks).
Bath is a relatively small city, and there are many fine buildings you will see en route as you walk, but, when taking in the Georgian architecture, the Pulteney Bridge features high on the ‘must see’ list. It was built by Robert Adam and completed in 1774. It spans the Avon, and has shops on either side across its full span. This means it is best viewed from one of the adjacent river banks, from where you can also see the crescent shaped weir that sits just below it.
The walk to Pulteney Bridge leads to the heart of the city. Here you can explore Parade Gardens, with its bandstand and river views, and you are a stone’s throw away from the Roman Baths, Abbey and Pump Rooms, which all offer ample scope for further days of exploration!