Bath is beautiful


Bath is beautiful. The Romans thought so, the Georgians thought so and film makers think so. Many of the key scenes in “Vanity Fair’ are set in Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The  city is as elegant now as it was in the 18th century when Thackeray wrote the book on which the film is based.

So what is there to see?

A stroll down Great Pulteney Street still reveals many of the buildings and vistas that delighted Queen Anne and the high society figures who followed her to Bath for ‘the season’.  It includes a walk across the famous Pulteney Bridge, one of the few remaining European bridges with shops built on them.  Sample an authentic Bath Bun at Sally Lunn’s right where the recipe originated 300-years ago.  Look in at the famous Roman Great Bath. The exhibition in its museum includes the head of Minerva, the discovery of which alerted 18th century archaeologists to the long- buried baths.

Make time for the Pump Room where the official pumper will give you a taste of the health-giving waters. Visit the 15th century abbey and go on to admire the stunning architecture of the Royal Crescent.   Send a postcard from Bath’s Postal Museum. The world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was on an envelope posted from this building.  Take a guided tour of the Jane Austen Centre. Explore the Holburne Museum, a grand 18th century mansion, which doubles as the house of the Marquess of Steyne (played by Gabriel Byrne) in the film of Vanity Fair. In ‘real life’ it houses the eclectic collection, complete with Turner and Guardi paintings, which once belonged to a 19th century gentleman.  All along the way browse in Bath’s specialist craft and antique galleries.  And if you’re there in December, stroll through the Christmas Market.  More than 110 wooden ‘chalets’, selling an array of festive items from food and drink to toys and hand-made gifts are set out on an open-air site bordered by Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths.

What about accomodation?

The two central townhouses in the Royal Crescent together make up the discreet and elegant 45-room Royal Crescent Hotel.  Health and beauty therapy is offered in the sybaritic Bath House Spa situated in the hotel’s private seven-acre garden. There’s a gourmet restaurant, too.

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Article appeared first in the Sunday Tribune

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