Just a short train ride from London (about 1.5 hours) is the town of Bath. Located in the Somerset countryside, Bath boasts some beautiful scenery and a world famous tourist attraction.
The Roman Baths and Pump Rooms
With over one million visitors a year, the Roman Baths and Pump Room are not to be missed. A hot spring fuels this bath where the Romans believed the waters had healing powers. It is OLD! The site is very well preserved. You can’t touch the water in the actual bath, but they have a fountain where you can feel it and taste it if you want. There are a lot of minerals in the water so it tasted kind of funny, and it is HOT. Throughout the site, you can also walk on the original pavements of the Romans and see the ruins of the Temple of Sulis Minerva. The museum collection is home to many Roman artifacts.
I am always in bit of awe when I visit places like the Roman Baths. I walk through and feel a sense of those who came before me. The age of the baths is just incredible and the fact they have been so well preserved makes us all very lucky to be able to experience them. As a complete History Nerd, I was in heaven.
Inside the Baths
The Jane Austen Centre and the Assembly Rooms
Another wonderful attraction in Bath is the Jane Austen Centre. Being a fan of Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, it was must-see to learn a little more about Jane and the years she spent in Bath. The Centre is interesting and well laid out. There are docents in period Regency costume. There is also a tea room and gift shop. The presentations are informative interesting and you leave having a great deal of respect for Jane and what it must have been like to be an older single woman in the early 1800s. While I love to learn and listen and imagine, I am very glad I live today and not back then.
In addition to the Jane Austen Centre, you can get an additional Mr. Darcy fix by visiting the Assembly Rooms. The Bath Assembly Rooms were designed as a place to meet and socialize and dance. In the Georgian style, the Assembly Rooms were clearly the place to be and be seen! Visiting the rooms, I could easily imagine young men and women listening to music, dancing and basically looking for a match to marry. I felt transported to one of the many Jane Austen movies I have loved. If I closed my eyes, I could envision all the lovely men and women dancing the minuet in the center and others gossiping on the sidelines!
Take a Bus Tour!
Another way to see additional sites in Bath is to take a bus tour. We did the open top tour and were able to get a wonderful overview of the city. We were quite lucky with beautiful weather. Some of the additional sites the bus took us to were the Royal Crescent, The Circus, and Bath Abbey. We also drove just outside the city to see some breathtaking countryside views. The bus is perfect for getting to see many things in a short period of time.
Shopping & Accommodations
What trip to anywhere is complete without a little shopping!?! One of my favorite little shops in Bath, in addition to the gift shops at the tourist attractions we visited:
Whistlefish– This cute store and the most adorable prints and cards. I easily spent over an hour looking at all the different styles. And the Christmas cards? So. Cute!
Where did I stay? There are so many places to choose from, but for this visit I chose to use points and stayed at Hilton Bath City. It was walking distance to everything and had what I needed. The staff was friendly very helpful in pointing me in the direction I needed to go. It was also across the street from the Pig and Fiddle Restaurant, where I had dinner one night (very good!)