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Bath Tourist Information
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On the banks of the River Avon and surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, visitors to Bath can enjoy some of the most famous architectural masterpieces in Europe.
From this page you can follow the links to Bath holiday accommodation, activities, attractions, historic sites, travel information, and general tourism info for the area.
Bath is built over Britain's only hot springs which were almost certainly the reason for its development by the Romans in the 1st Century AD. The Romans built Britain's first spa town with baths, a temple and gymnasium. The city, known as Aquae Sulis, had no military interest - it was built as a centre for pleasure. The Roman Baths are fed by a spring delivering 280,000 gallons of water a day at a temperature of 46.5º C.
The Saxons built a new town within the Roman City walls and founded an abbey near the site of the Roman Temple. Bath Abbey was begun in 1499, built on the foundations of a 12th Century Benedictine cathedral priory. The Abbey was stripped of its roof and glass at the Reformation, and was restored, together with the Hospital of St. John, at the request of Elizabeth I.
The healing powers of the hot spring water attracted successive royal visitors during the late 16th and 17th centuries, and by the beginning of the 18th century it had become a fashionable place to visit. Beau Nash came to Bath in 1704, a natural organiser. He opened the first Pump Room for people to take the waters and meet in civilised society. As Master of Ceremonies, he laid down a programme of daily activities, beginning with early morning bathing and continuing with organised concerts, balls and card games. The Pump Room (1789-99) has a statue of Nash presiding over the tearooms which feature pilasters, gilded capitals, a coved ceiling and rounded bay containing a former drinking fountain with a view over the Kings Bath. The Assembly Rooms (1769-71) were the venue for evening entertainments and comprise the Ball Room, Octagon and Tea Room. The Assembly Rooms house the Museum of Costume.
Bath's famous urban plan and elegant 18th century architecture was largely the work of Ralph Allen, a Cornishman, and John Wood, a Yorkshireman. Using the honey-coloured stone from Combe Down, they set about the rebuilding of the city , principally in the Palladian style. The Circus was built in 1754 as the Kings Circus, comprises a tight circle of identical three storey houses built in Bath stone with decorated coupled columns and acorn-topped balustrade. The circle is intersected by three access roads. No.4 houses the Fashion Research Centre, part of the Museum of Costume, containing the Study Collection and a library. Royal Crescent (1767-74) is an arc of 30 terrace houses with strong horizontal lines balanced with giant ionic columns rising from the first floor to the parapet.
Bath has a wealth of museums and galleries including Bath Museum which gives a fascinating insight into the bathing complex and the great Roman temple of Sulis Minerva, goddess of wisdom and healing. Other gems include the Museum of Costume, Holburne Museum, American Museum, No 1. Royal Crescent, the Jane Austen Centre and the Museum of East Asian Art. The oldest house in Bath is home to the famous Sally Lunn bun, which is still made to the original secret recipe.
To make the most of Bath, there are guided walking tours, open top bus tours, balloon flights, river and canal trips.
The modern city of Bath has excellent shopping facilities, imaginative street entertainment, award winning parks and top class theatre and festivals bring colour, style and life to this beautiful city.
Tourist Information Centres
BATH TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE
Abbey Chambers, Abbey Church Yard, Bath
Tel/Fax: 0906 711 2000
Official Tourist Office for Bath. Information, accommodation booking service for Bath and the rest of England and Wales, gift shop.
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