Three Places to See in Bath, England — besides the Roman Baths!

Bath Abbey at Christmas with market shops below

Bath Abbey at Christmas with market shops below

Bath, England, known by tourists for its (well, of course) Roman Baths, but offers more to whet the appetite and treat the eyes.  Nestled in the county of Somerset in southwest England, Bath is a town famous for its creamy stone buildings and the scenic Avon River that runs through it.  Although most people flock to see the often-touted (for good reason) Roman Baths, three other sites will make your trip to Bath even richer.

1.  Bath Abbey (The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul)

High vaulted ceilings in creamy white look even more airy thanks to 52 windows.

High vaulted ceilings in creamy white look even more airy thanks to 52 windows.

According to a pamphlet you can pick up in the narthex, Bath Abbey, an Anglican parish church, once served as a monastery in the 8th century. It’s endured destruction in the 1500s, restoration by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1600s, bombings in 1942, and continual restoration and improvement through today.

Architecturally notable is the ornate fan vaulting installed by Robert and William Vertue between 1864 and 1874.  Combined with 52 windows allowing a flood of natural light, the fan vaulting adds an open, airy feel to this cathedral built of natural Bath stone.

Superb fan vaulting in Bath Abbey

Superb fan vaulting in Bath Abbey

If you’re visiting in December, plan to be treated to one of the Bath Abbey concerts (get tickets early) and the pealing of the bells announcing the performances.  At the base of the church, shop the stalls of the Bath Christmas markets for goods such as fine wool scarves, pomander balls, and candles.

2. The Circus

The Circus, Bath, England (source: Google Images)

The Circus, Bath, England (source: Google Images)

Originally known as The King’s Circus, this circular arrangement of Georgian townhouses now known simply as The Circus was begun in 1754 by John Wood the Elder.  An architect, Wood was inspired by the prehistoric stone circles seen in England and the form of the Roman Colosseum.  Alas, Wood the Elder died before the project began, but his son, John Wood the Younger completed it in 1758.

Georgian architecture of The Circus in Bath.

Georgian architecture of The Circus in Bath.

A closer look at the stonework reveals symbols such as acorns (tributes to the Druids?), serpents, and Masonic emblems.

Architectural detail below a second-story window at The Circus in Bath.

Architectural detail below a second-story window at The Circus in Bath.

Our driver took us to the center grassy area (formerly a reservoir) beneath a gnarly tree to demonstrate the reverberating nature of sound bouncing off the circular formation of stone residences.  And, you, too, should try this: clap your hands and listen as acoustics take over and send that sound right back to you.

Fun thing to try: Clap your hands in the middle of The Circus to hear sound in the round!

Fun thing to try: Clap your hands in the middle of The Circus to hear sound in the round!

Similar to The Circus and designed by John Wood the Younger, the Royal Crescent (celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2017) is a semi-circular row of 30 terrace houses representing the finest in Georgian architecture.  In front of this impressive location for films and TV series, is a “ha-ha,” a recessed area in front of the Crescent designed to be a barrier to livestock, but one that still allows an unobstructed view of the homes.  A stay in the Royal Crescent Hotel located in the midst of the row homes would be an impressive stay indeed!

View of The Royal Crescent with a ha-ha in foreground.

View of The Royal Crescent with a ha-ha in foreground.

3.  Pulteney Bridge

Drive past Pulteney Bridge, park your car, and snap away.  One of only four bridges in the world lined with shops, Pulteney Bridge hovers over the Avon River offering a postcard-worthy site to see and send back home.

View of Pulteney Bridge above the Avon River in Bath, England.

View of Pulteney Bridge above the Avon River in Bath, England.

And if you’re into shopping for quality products and souvenirs, stop in at Guildhall Market for local treats like flags, scarves, and teapots or grab a bite at Guildhall Delicatessen where scotch eggs and pork pies will fill you up with a genuine taste of England.

There’s plenty to see and do in Bath.  And we haven’t even seen the headliner: the Roman Baths. We’re saving that for our next post!

Rusha and Bert Sams

For more information:

Bath Abbey: http://www.bathabbey.org/

The Circus: https://visitbath.co.uk/things-to-do/the-circus-p56201

The Royal Crescent: https://visitbath.co.uk/things-to-do/the-royal-crescent-p56191

Pulteney Bridge: https://visitbath.co.uk/things-to-do/pulteney-bridge-p56151Pulteney Bridge: 

Wikipedia:  Bath Abbey; The Circus; The Royal Crescent; Pulteney Bridge

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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23 Responses to Three Places to See in Bath, England — besides the Roman Baths!

  1. Buenas noches, ¿te molestaría decirme cual es la plataforma de CMS
    que estás usando? Quiero emprender un blog en un futuro no tan lejano y aún no logro decidir cual es la plataforma que
    debo usar. Estoy entre Blogger/WP/Joomla y Drupal. Te
    pregunto porque el diseño de tu blog es único y estoy buscando
    algo parecido.

    PD: perdóname por preguntar se que podría estar fuera de lugar en tu blog.

  2. Definitely beautiful places to check out. Maybe some day but, in the meantime, thanks for sharing your visit! 😄

  3. tappjeanne says:

    Rusha – you’ve made me want to read Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth again!

  4. Amy says:

    Beautiful photos, Rusha! We were in Bath last fall. Your photos are much better than mine. 🙂

  5. Wow, that vaulted ceiling in Bath Abbey is quite spectacular! And I just love the photo at night of the bridge over the river! Stunning. But what on earth is a Scotch egg?

    Peta

    • You’re so right about that vaulted ceiling — well worth a visit, for sure. And scotch eggs? They are boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, then breaded and fried. I had no idea that I would like them, but they are so good — like a one-fisted breakfast, I guess! There are many recipes on the web, but here’s one from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/scotch-eggs
      Thanks for taking a look at our blog and commenting! Happy Easter!

  6. Kaylene Yee says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. cindy knoke says:

    Haven’t been there since I was seventeen. Lovely photos take me back Happy Easter to you both from Alsace~

  8. Sue says:

    Oh, lovely! Some time since I was last there…

  9. This is so great! I’m planning a trip to England next year and bath is on the list as a pit stop. How much do you think you can get done in a day or two?

    • We were only in Bath for an evening and then a full day. During the evening, we shopped the Christmas markets, attended a concert in Bath Abbey, took pictures of Pulteney Bridge, and visited several of the permanent shops that stayed open late. (Loved the art shops!) The next day, we visited Roman Baths for about 2 hours, and toured Royal Crescent and The Circus. We spent at least an hour just driving around and looking at homes and pretty neighborhoods. I know we missed a lot in Bath, but we had very limited time. Please check out their website. So much to do there!

  10. Bath is high on my “to visit” list!

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