For the first time Since the holiday began I think we both really just breathed a great big sigh and relaxed, the suitcases got unpacked ( not totally, but more than previously) and we actually just sat and enjoyed our surroundings, well not the first full day , but I m writing this three days after we arrived so . . .
Anyway back to our first full day
for the sake of getting a tourist free photo I went out early.
The beautiful Bath Abbey , 3 hours later it was swarming with tourists and a busker entertaining the crowds.
Bath was first settled in about 60AD by the romans as a spa and was named aquae sulis because of the hot springs present, however the springs were well known prior to the roman spa. In the 16th and 17th centuries the spa became popular due to it's healing properties and an abbey / religious centre was founded.
In the Georgian period it became even more popular with the introduction of gambling houses and it became the place to be. The majority of houses were built rapidly to house the rich , when the came to "take the water" and gamble.
These are the parade gardens, in the early morning later In the day they become filled with children running around and candy striped beach chairs with people enjoying the sun. For locals this garden is free, for tourists £1.50 for entry. On the weekends there is often music as well.
These are the stairs leading to our apartment, I love walking up them , and feel very posh, although I m sure I wouldn't feel like that with arms full of grocery bags . . . . . Lol
For our first day we decided we would do a tour of Bath, to get a feel for our home for the next four days.
This is the Pulteney bridge, it was built in 1774 and according to our tour guide it was based on the Rialto and ponte Vecchio bridges in Italy, however the residents of Bath were not happy , they felt a bridge with shops on it was terribly old fashioned and the architect was promptly not given any more work in Bath. Today it is a grade 1 listed building and the there are several really lovely cafes that you can sit and sip your tea and watch the river below.
Of course Jane Austen is forever connected with a Bath.
The above doorway is the entrance to just one of the homes that Jane Austen lived in during her several visits to the city of Bath. You can stay here in this home for £200 a night. As we did our tour our guide pointed out some of the other places in Bath Jane lived and whilst Bath gets terribly excited about Jane and have festivals in her honour, Jane herself was not really keen on Bath, she didn't like the crowds terribly much as she was a country girl at heart, later in her life she had even more reason to dislike Bath, her believed bed father died here.
The Assembly Rooms
When we entered this building I was truely impressed by the beauty of the rooms and I suppose as a Austen fan it was very easy for me to see Regency clad women parading around in this room. Our tour guide explained to us that in the regency Bath there was a gentleman called Richard Beau Nash and he set the rules in Bath, for example there was no private parties allowed, everyone had to meet at the assembly rooms or any of the public areas. In those days these rooms were like the eharmony of today if you were a eligible woman you needed to be "seen" in Bath and these were "the " place to be seen. Apparently the assembly rooms were bombed during WWII and have been carefully restored however the chandelier s are original as they were removed and stored for their safety.
The circus and the Royal crescent
So of course a tour of Bath wouldn't be complete without a visit to these two areas. The Circus was the first to be built by John Wood ( senior) it is divided into three segments. wood was convinced that Bath was principal centre of Druid activity created the circus in the same dimensions as Stonehenge. Our tour guide was telling us that just two years ago a "home" was sold for 4 million pounds.
The Royal crescent was designed by John Wood Jnr and was actually built during various phases not consecutively, it was basically sold off the plan. Each original purchaser bought a length of the façade, and then employed their own architect to build a house behind the façade to their own specifications, when you look closely at this image, you can see an area of lawn were the grass looks a bit longer. The area behind this belongs to the residents of the "crescent" and no one other than a resident is supposed to enter this area.
We really enjoyed walking around the city with our guide and she really went above and beyond with her tour.
It is believed that the first religious dwelling was built on this site that in 673AD, over the years there has been three religious dwellings in this site. The first was an Anglo Saxon monastery which was pulled down by the Normans, then a Norman cathedral which fell into fell into disrepair by the late 15th century and the present Abbey that exists today.
The first King of England , King Edgar, was crowned here in this Abbey. This was a beautiful church , with truely beautiful stonework inside and out. There was hundreds of memorials throughout the church, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the , Evensong service.
We had a pretty busy first day in Bath and managed to tick a lot off our bucket list including an amazing meal in a Moroccan restaurant.